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It was prime time in the gym: 7:15 a.m. on a Wednesday morning. The floor was packed with weights and plyo boxes everywhere. I was there too, standing over a loaded hex bar, feeling overwhelmed and so out of my element. I'd done CrossFit for years, trained for seven full marathons, but it has been a long time since I felt completely overwhelmed by a workout. Well, a string of workouts.
I had committed to a 30-day strength training program. The plan-designed by a local kettlebell expert, Lacee Lazoff-what geared towards helping me build essential strength that I've been painting while committing myself to so many miles for road races. For four days every week, I'd show up at my local Equinox and follow an hour-long program.
On this particular day, hit the fan. I felt like crying. I was having trouble even attempting numbers. My anxiety piqued, and I hit a breaking point. I hurriedly put away the barbell, and instinctively retreated to the treadmill to run a "safe" 5K and just … breathe.
I'm not the only person who's crazy. For Rajah Nagarajah, a business development manager living in Portland, Maine, walking in to a Crossfit gym for the first time felt mega-intimidating.
"Being a former college athlete and having played football where we were lifting heavy weights, I knew this whole thing was going to be different, "he told Men's Health . I could barely move 115. Everyone around me was crushing, and there I was dragging my feet. I was anxious. "
While Duke University research shows that working out of alleviate anxiety, there's less of a discussion about the pressure on us when we step outside of our comfort zone in the gym.
"It's normal to feel anxiety when starting something new," says dr. Don Greene, sports psychologist and owner of Winning In Sports .
Does that sound all too familiar? "
Does this sound all too familiar? Do not fret; you're probably not the only person in the gym or studio struggling to get into their feelings when they face a new challenge. 5 Anxiety Tips for Better Workouts
1. Have an Open Mind
Just like when you're meeting the parents for the first time, it helps to make you happy with the punches and put on a smile.
"The best way to combat is to approach the new exercise or sport with an open mindset," says Greene. Give yourself time to learn and accomplish positive repetitions, which leads to confidence and lessens anxiety.