3 Simple Hacks To Overcome Gym Dread Today

We all know the feeling. You are dressed and fed, with a gym tote in hand, everything ready to go, besides you. Whether it’s driven by fear, nerves, or a lack of energy, you are struggling to make those crucial steps out the door. But don’t fret! Your attitude isn’t beyond repair, and you aren’t ‘lazy’ either.

Here are 3 simple hacks to help out in those moments of weakness that will alleviate gym dread, and mend your old mindset!

Okay, so you’re suffering from a common case of gym dread, or gym anxiety and it probably won’t be your last run in with it. From newcomers to fitness junkies, we all experience this feeling at some point.

According to a recent Pure Gym study, 1 in 5 people find the whole gym experience intimidating and 19% of people say they just don’t enjoy going. The good news is – your shortage of motivation can be resolved in a multitude of ways, all of which implement mental and physical modes of preparation.

HACK ONE: Be physically prepared (eat, drink, rest)

Consuming a pre-workout meal boosts your energy stores with glycogen to be used as glucose during exercise. If you’re a serial meal skipper, your lack of fuel is likely to impede your potential progress and recovery.

To prepare for exercise, consume a meal 2-3 hours prior composed of whole carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats. This mode of preparation will positively impact your mood and improve your performance. The same rules apply to hydration. The NHS recommends drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day, however, if you engage in strenuous exercise often, your fluid intake should increase accordingly.

When it comes to rest, you should be getting 7-9 hours per night. Working out well rested will improve your recovery time and increase your chances of building lean muscle. Preparing for your workout with sufficient meals, water and rest is essential to optimise your gym results as well as aid muscle recovery.

HACK TWO: Write out clear goals and routines

Navigating the gym without a clear goal in mind can make for a stressful and unproductive experience that could discourage you from fitness altogether. Creating a fitness plan will save you time, confusion and unnecessary nerves.

When designing a regime tailored to you, don’t be afraid to take advantage of your environment and seek advice from PTs, a member of staff or a fellow gym goer. If you’d like to take things a step further, invest in a reputable personal trainer who can devise for you a professional, personalised plan. A PT is your personal sat nav – that’ll help you navigate workouts, form, and anything you require along your gym journey.

AI has begun its techy takeover of the fitness industry, and now offers digital personal training, fitness plans and nutrition plans. If you’re the self-sufficient type, this option may be for you. Platforms such as Fitbod, FitnessAI and Nike Training Club can generate personalised workouts for you in as little as 5 minutes.

If you prefer to do your own research, free from tech and the outside world, that works too. I recommend starting out by establishing your fitness goals. Then, begin to identify workouts that will steer you towards those goals. The third and final step, is to integrate those workouts into a weekly schedule of daily routines considering your capacity and availability.

HACK THREE: Switch it up!

If you have trained legs for 3 months straight, you’ve entered something I call ‘tedium training’. You dread each set, and the monotony of setting up that same old barbell.

Remember that working out should not only exercise your body, but also your mind. If you’ve reached this jaded mentality, it’s vital that you ruminate on this feeling, and then re-examine your gym goals. Variety in all areas of life stimulates the brain, and promotes cognitive function and development.

Consider what new workouts could appeal to you and serve your mind over bodily aesthetics. You would not eat the same foods every day, or listen to the same song on repeat – so why stick to the same movements?

Try setting yourself a long term goal in a new area of fitness to motivate you further. Switching up your workouts should make for a less robotic routine, and will serve as a positive reminder of why you started in the first place. So get your gym gear on, amp up some music and give something new a try!

A fourth, bonus hack is to never compare yourself to others. Think of the gym as a sanctuary of self-development, where the only person you should compete against is yourself.

Exercise is a blend of self-care and nurturement that goes to form the very best you. However, you can’t better yourself if you don’t prepare and fuel your body.

Preparing for the gym is the secret to success, and is just as vital as showing up. I hope these hacks can take your gym session from a dreaded chore – to the most exciting hour of your day.

Jasmine Panayiotou

Jasmine Panayiotou is a freelance journalist that specialises in nutrition, health and wellness related content. As a journalism student and a nutritional advisor, Jasmine's certified knowledge spans a wide array of topics that free her from journalistic limitations. Among her sought-after topics are healthy baking, the mind-gut connection and mindset management. Outside of her work and studies, Jasmine can be found training at her local gym, or at home trialling new healthy recipes for her audience.

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