For many of us going to the gym can cause a lot of feelings of dysphoria. These feelings can be so overwheliming that they make you change your mind about going to the gym in the first place.

There are a few specific areas that can trip people up.

Getting To The Gym

While packing your gym bag or getting dressed you might find yourself getting nervous. Try to remember a few things:

-Think about your goals and how going will help you reach them.
Breathe your way through any worries.
-See if you can bring a friend.
-Wear or bring clothes that make you feel good.
-Bring something that you enjoy that will help you (such as an audiobook or music).

Locker Rooms

Locker rooms can be daunting to anyone. If you bring a bag and want to get changed, there may be a fear of getting undressed in front of others. Or if you just need to stow your personal belongings there may be a fear of being approached regardless.

-First and most importantly, get in and do what you gotta do. The more confident you feel, the more confident you’ll look. People are less likely to give you any issues if you look like you know what you’re doing.
-Pick an ideal locker. Further away from people, maybe in a corner or in a different area than others.
-If you are able to, try to have your workout underwear on before getting to the gym. This isn’t always possible but it does help.
-If you’re getting dressed in the locker room, you can try changing in a bathroom stall, facing the lockers, or hunching over. I personally would either hunch over (if not a lot of people where in there) or face the lockers (if there were a lot of folks).
-Lastly another important note to take away, no one is looking. Anyone can have body image issues. I find more people are worried about others looking at them than they are about looking at others.

“Your body can withstand almost anything. It’s your mind you have to convince”

-Unknown

Out On the Floor

Regardless if you are a beginner or an expert lifting weights, running, using machines, or stretching can be a little awkward or revealing. Keep pushing through it.

-Try to plan out the day. Which area(s) do you want to focus on? Then map out the gym so you know where you will need to go. This will help you feel and look more confident.
-Experiment with different times of day. If you like more people around you can figure out when the rush is. Or vise versa.
-Always give it your all. Focus on your tasks at hand.
Don’t quit.

Showering

Not everyone showers at the gym, I don’t blame you. However, if you want to shower there don’t let fear stop you.

-You can bring your clothes with you into the shower. Be sure to keep them either a safe distance away or in a container so they stay dry.
-Along the same lines, you can bring just certain articles of clothes into the shower. Such as just underwear and then sling a towel over your shoulders. Or Underwear and a shirt. This may help if the shower isn’t that spacious where you are.
-If you are able to, check out the showers beforehand. See if you think you’ll be comfortable in there.
-Again as a reminder, no one is looking

Remember that you are going to the gym to better yourself. You are there for yourself. Don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you want to do.