I have been lifting at a gym for around two-and-a-half years now. It’s a hobby of mine that started very impulsively and surprisingly stuck.
Before the gym, I was silently doing random workouts I found on TikTok in my room and praying no one would open the door and see me. Now, I walk around Ping Recreation Center like I own the place, even though half the people there are benching twice my body weight.
Lifting has become a huge passion of mine, and it all started as a hobby I fell in love with. As corny as that sounds, it’s one of the best things I have ever done for my physical and mental well-being.
Every day, I get to wake up and have about an hour in the morning where all I worry about is moving big heavy things with my arms and legs. Believe it or not, it’s a lot of fun for me. Some people, however, can be intimidated by this idea even when they are interested in beginning their lifting journey.
Gym anxiety is a very real thing that many, namely women and female-presenting individuals, experience. GoodRx Health defines gym anxiety as “nervousness or uneasiness about going to the gym and exercising in public.”
As a fellow woman who enjoys working out and has more or less overcome gym anxiety over the years, I wanted to share how I got to where I am today and provide some advice for others who may be in the same boat. We should all be able to feel confident when we are improving and strengthening our physical well-being and our bodies.
I first started going to a gym in my hometown with a good friend of mine who showed me how to use certain scary-looking machines and was there to spot me when I was learning how to lift heavy iron circles on sticks.
Having someone who knows the ropes is definitely a plus, but many gyms nowadays have apps and guides that explain how to use the machines and how to have correct forms without needing the assistance of a professional trainer.
Perfecting my form in the gym is something I am still working on, but I have certainly come very far from when I first started. The truth is, the beginning is going to look funky and sometimes awkward, but making mistakes is all part of the learning process.
It’s important to remember everyone there had to learn and improve their form at some point in their fitness journey. You’ll know something is wrong if your back hurts at all. Please don’t hurt your back.
A lot of people are afraid of starting at beginner weights and are intimidated by those who are slamming dumbbells and grunting at deadlifts. I can understand that, but everyone started somewhere in the gym. Even the people squatting four plates had started with just the bar at one point.
Everyone progresses in the gym differently. As for the scary slamming and grunting, they do not care about anyone else in that room. That goes for the majority of people in the gym; no one is thinking about what you look like or how much weight you’re using.
Finally, Whitney Simmons says it best: when you look good, you lift more. Having a fun and cute lifting set will seriously make your gym experience 10 times better. It’s an expensive hobby, I will warn you, but it is so worth it in my eyes.
Feeling good and looking good will boost your confidence and essentially melt away gym anxiety. One day, I will have every AYBL Empower set in every color it comes in.
It’s important to remember that overcoming gym anxiety takes time. However, remembering some of these things will expedite the process. I want to share my love for the gym with anyone interested because it is truly something that helps me look forward to every single day.
I’m always willing to give someone a spot and encourage them to fall in love with the gym the same way I have. Three cheers for heavy circles and sticks.
Abby Jenkins is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Let Abby know by tweeting her @abbyjenks18 or emailing her at email@example.com.