Do you feel a swarm of butterflies enter your stomach each time you head towards the gym? Do you feel your heart pounding the minute you pass through those doors? You may be experiencing pre-workout anxiety, a rather common condition even for regular gym-goers. Left unaddressed, it can range in severity and can greatly affect one's workout performance. If you are facing the challenges of pre-workout anxiety today, here are some tips for you!
1. Manage your expectations
Professional athletes have extremely high expectations and this, in itself, is not wrong. In fact, it's great to have high expectations! They push us to be the best we can be and help us to improve. Nevertheless, it is important not to overdo this and to set incredulous standards for yourself. Remember: you're not a professional athlete and have nothing to gain from putting this much pressure on yourself. These expectations might cause unnecessary stress and ultimately contribute to pre-workout jitters. Thus, it is extremely important for us to manage our expectations and to stay realistic.
2. Create a routine
Having a routine or schedule can help to alleviate anxiety as it allows you to be physically and mentally prepared for what is to come. After going through the same weekly training routine or attending the same class a couple of times, the element of surprise is watered down, thus reducing stress and anxiety. Making new friends and being part of the community at your gym can also make things feel more familiar to you. Once your mind is convinced that it's in a safe (meaning that it knows what to expect) environment, it'll have no reason to panic!
3. Listen to yourself
Some days, you might feel as though you have to drag yourself to the gym. This phenomenon is rather common, even among professional athletes. On days like this, it is important to take the time to listen to yourself and to figure out what your body truly wants or needs. If you're constantly having to force yourself to train without being in the mood for it, you'll only do more harm than good. Not only will you feel disgruntled, your workout is also less likely to be purposeful and effective. Listen to yourself—if your body needs a break, take it. Or if your body needs a change in routine, go for it.
All that churning in your stomach will be a thing of the past if you remember to put these few tips into practice! Stay confident and don't let anxiety get the better of you; conquer it and make the most of each and every one of your training sessions.