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how do you maintain going to the gym with social anxiety

i'm a male in my 40s, i have to go to the gym to maintain my health, because i acquired type 2 diabetes years back.....but ive had a hard past and suffer shyness, low self confidence, low self esteem and have social anxiety...publically i'm usually very nervous, shy and come off as socially awkward...i pay 53 pounds every month to go to a private gym, which is just across the road from me....but it is a big ordeal to go there, i don't like being around younger lads but don't mind being around other men and elderly men....i see younger lads as a threat and they unnerve me.

how can i keep on going to the gym when i have these problems? i only go to the gym to swim in the pool, and i'm very nervous during the whole stay at the gym, i get scared someone might start trouble with me, as i've been bullied and harassed in my past.
Penny · F
just ignore the people and focus on your working out
I experienced this as well. I don't like going into the gym when anyone's there honestly but when attractive people who "belong" at the gym are there it's just extra stressful. I coped with this by going late at night (11pm-4am) when people usually weren't around. Once you get going with your music and focus on your workout you don't think about the other people as much, it's hard to forget that with SA though. Sometimes I'd sit in the parking lot for up to 45minutes waiting for people to leave.
Kae20 · 56-60, FVIP
[@336791,GreenGoddess] yes ..going during the quiet times are what I would do as well.

While working from home I found mid morning you are rid of the ones who pile in before work.

Also 2 - 4pm there are parents who need to do a school run & be home for kids.

7 -9 on weekends is fairly quiet too 😉
Kae20 · 56-60, FVIP
The advice that you dont have to talk to anyone is pretty much spot on.

Pre pandemic I put off joining a gym for a long time.

I'm slightly aspergers & dont always appreciate having to deal with people I dont know ..who want to chat.

But eventually in my 50's I needed to join to stay as fit as possible.

There was one older lady , who was alright we talk much but useful exchanges .

And then mostly to my relief. I found folk just left me to get on with my program. Tbh most members were fixated on what they were doing.

Staff leave you alone has well. But always handy if need constructive advice. Which I can do in small bites , as long as its relevant.

Good luck!
tallpowerhouseblonde · 31-35, F
Just go and soon enough you will find out that all is well.Others are there to work out and swim too.I work out with weights 4 consecutive days followed by 80 lengths in the pool.
longhairedRupali · 41-45, F
[@1613,tallpowerhouseblonde] surely an inspiration for many ❤
tallpowerhouseblonde · 31-35, F
[@566349,longhairedrupali] I love inspiring others,at work too and love seeing people succeed.
longhairedRupali · 41-45, F
[@1613,tallpowerhouseblonde] can hi five on that atleast if not 80 lengths 🤩
Ferric67 · M
You would absolutely love the gym that I work at, albeit, it's nowhere near where you're at (I surmise you are in the UK and I'm in North America, specifically New York). You would like it because it's very low key. The vast majority of my clients are in their 70's with plenty more in their 80's. Unassuming and not intimidating in the slightest.
Sign up online if you struggle to in person.
Go on their website, they usually have pics of the facilities and machines available.
Have a routine of the workout in mind before arriving so you know your aim. With this in mind all you have to do is find a spot that suits you. In the corner, the middle, to the side, anywhere. Pop your earphones or headphones in and soon enough your attention is less outwards and more inwards. Look around the gym too, they may have more areas hidden. More times than not, just like yourself people are so caught up in their own workouts or how they look that they don't care to judge anyone else's performance.
Isthisit · 36-40, F
I went to an all womans gym for a year and I have social anxiety as well.
Remind yourself why you're there , you dont have to talk to anyone if you dont want to. Go easy on yourself
Elora · F
Do your thing, get stronger physically which will make you feel better mentally and emotionally, then maybe talk to others who you find common ground with which shouldn’t be too hard in the gym cos that’s why people are their right ? ... you share common ground in re to fitness: self improvement etc

Learn to not give af about silly nonsense too ~ it’s fun 🤩 lol just focus on your goals, you should only be competing with yourself.
EuphoricTurtle · 36-40, M
My advice would be to try going at different times to see what the demographic is. You would be surprised how much the whole vibe of a gym can change throughout the day. With social anxiety it's a given that there is no time in which you will be completely at easy but it will allow you to find which times are less uncomfortable. Good luck
I never went to one before I did because I felt anxious also. Most people are present to better themselves and unless they're with a friend will pay zero attention to anyone else. I realise if you're anxious it may [i]feel[/i] like everyone's staring at you, but I assure you that's not the case
SkeetSkeet · 100+, F
Thats why I made a gym at home hahah
SW User
I agree with Penny, try and focus on your body.... have you thought about yoga, it's great for centering your body and calming your mind often with similar types of people
Ferric67 · M
[@449448,AlexaiSchlomokov] I'm a big fan of yoga. It's very much an intrinsic exploration without any sort of outside disruptions.
SW User
[@570658,Ferric67] yes it encourages you to stop and'tune in'..I love it very much 🙂
fun4us2b · M
Those people are the same as you, they are not specially anointed or appointed to be above you, or below you.

If they are acting a certain way, it is probably so they don't feel uncomfortable. It would help to talk to someone and make a friend at the gym.


Side story - there was the world's hottest babe that worked out at the gym I went - they were playing Start me up (by Stones) on the PA and I started strutting and acting like an idiot - and my dopey gym buddy did the same - all of a sudden, this super duper hot fit babe joined in!!!

People are people, since then, I think more so at the gym...
QueenandCrown · 41-45, F
I lacked confidence and had anxiety as a child too. I used to avoid eye contact a lot because I thought it would make people notice me more. I don't know if it will help you or not but maybe you can look directly past people or avoid looking at them at all.
Also I start taking better care of myself. Dressing well and eating better I felt more confident and start walking upright. People take notice of how we portray ourselves. If you lack confidence chances are it shows. And it causes the bullies to prey on the vulnerable.
EmilyEdith · 51-55, F
Can you find a bigger gym? I work out in a really big gym, there are too many people there for anyone to bother me. I can dip in and dip out without being noticed at all.
I don't know why everyone in smaller gyms assumes you are there to be friends but that seems to be the case. I like to be left alone at the gym!
SW User
I just take lonely runs
Be brave. Block them out and keep your goals in view. Fear is holding you back. Face your fear and it won’t seem like a mountain in your way anymore.
MissFugger · F
I remember when I used to have that. It was hell, not life. Constantly in nerves, never relaxed, the only time I coukd relax was when I stayed home. Ya home gym then
LunarOrbit · 56-60, M
I’m in the same boat as you bud...Its the most uncomfortable for me as well.
AngelKrish · 26-30, M
Get resistance bands do workout at home..no need of gym..eat healthy..get online coach
workout in the basement or garage or back yard
I have my own little gym in a spare room at home.

 
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