The Introvert’s Guide to Going to the Gym

Tips for when you want to pump iron but also want to stay away from other people

Nichole R

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Photo by M. Plt on Unsplash

Recently, I decided to return to the gym after quite a long hiatus from going. I’ll spare the comprehensive list of what took me so long to get back into it, but one of the main hiccups was that I didn’t want to be around other people. A significant part of my not wanting to be around other people is because of straight-up social anxiety, but it was also because I prefer my gym time to be a solitary activity, which can be hard to accomplish when faced with hordes of sweating, breathing, grunting people.

In the two months or so since I’ve been back to the gym, I’ve gained quite a lot of experience in navigating the twists and turns of willingly placing oneself in an environment that likely meets the criteria for torture for most introverts. I’ve also talked with a few fellow introverted gym-frequenters to gain more wisdom on the topic to impart. Hopefully, this “guide” can help you get to the gym or make your gym visits more painless (or just give you a place to cheer in commiseration) if you’re an introvert, have social anxiety, or just prefer to be alone sometimes (like when you’re sweating and lumbering around on a treadmill, for example). So, without further ado…

Get there! Rip off the Band-Aid

We’ve all probably heard some variation of the cliché “the hardest part of any journey is taking the first step.” Well, while the gym isn’t necessarily the longest of journeys, it can be quite arduous, especially for introverts or those of us who don’t like the prospect of (even potential) interactions with people we don’t know.

So, how do you get there if you’re dreading expending the energy, and not just the physical kind? Well, for starters, don’t overthink it — don’t think too far ahead or imagine scenarios like *gasp* people watching you or *gasp* people running next to you or worse, trainers approaching you. Just don’t think about it. Suppress, suppress, suppress. Otherwise, you’ll need a paper bag and you won’t go. Just focus on getting in the car and driving there. You can overthink once you’re in the building.

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Nichole R

Copywriter, recovering academic, amateur cyclist, literature enthusiast. I write hard truths because my silence won’t protect me (thanks, Audre Lorde).