Self-conscious at the gym? Here’s what you can do about it. 

Do you ever feel stuck in a rut, powerless to break free from the grips of your past? Does the impact of your mental health bear down on your physical well-being, leaving you feeling lost and without purpose? If so, you’re not alone. 

At the RESET Health Group, we understand the complexities of mental health and the impact it can have on every aspect of your life. That’s why we offer a unique approach to therapy that incorporates somatic interventions, including strength training in the gym. However, we recognize that stepping into a gym environment can be daunting, especially for those already struggling with feelings of insecurity and self-consciousness.

Why do we feel self-conscious at the gym?

If you feel self-conscious, you’re not alone. These are some of the things we hear regularly:

“Everyone is staring at me”

“I’m so unfit”

“I don’t know what I’m doing”

“Other people here are way better”

“I am not strong enough”

“I’m embarrassing myself”

Sound familiar? If so, remember that it’s natural for us to feel anxious when doing exercise around others. Although negative experiences do sometimes occur, a lot of our fears are actually based on feeling like we are inadequate compared to the internal standards we set out in our minds. The consequences of this are that we may experience lower mood, avoidance, and going to extreme lengths to manage appearance.

So, why do so many people feel this way about the gym? These feelings often stem from deeply ingrained beliefs and past experiences. The way we perceive ourselves and the world is based on our upbringing, other people we’ve learned from, the media and social/cultural norms. Some of our experiences can cause us to have a distorted/negative view of ourselves, disconnect us from our bodies, and feel altogether uncomfortable in our skin.  .

Entering a gym can trigger feelings of vulnerability and exposure, as if all eyes are on us, judging our every move. This sense of being under scrutiny can exacerbate existing feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness, further perpetuating the feeling of not being good enough. 

Why should you even try the gym?

Here’s the thing: the gym doesn’t have to be a place of fear or intimidation. In fact, it can be a powerful space for healing and transformation. 

The gym can help you:

  • Reconnect with your body
  • Release years of tension
  • Feel comfortable in your skin
  • Be in a great mood
  • Have a more positive outlook on life
  • Feel confident in every other area of your life

That’s why one of the best strategies to feel less self-conscious at the gym is to simply go there consistently, and reap all the incredible benefits it can offer your physical and mental health. 

You can use the gym to gain confidence across all areas of your life

Chances are, if you feel self-conscious in a gym, you might feel self-conscious in other settings too. You are being held back by self-limiting beliefs, saying things to yourself like “I’ll never be like her”. Remember that a lot of anxious thoughts aren’t true even if they feel true at the time. We all make assumptions about other people assuming they’re superior in some way.  However, the more we avoid the situation, the more we cement the fears, which keeps us stuck.

The gym can highlight a pathway to being more confident in your life in general. Here’s how you can do it…

1. Recognise that feeling self-conscious in the gym is entirely normal. Acknowledging and validating your emotions is the first step towards reclaiming your power. Remember, other people are feeling the same way you do. Wear comfortable, practical clothing to help ease feelings of self-consciousness.

2. Consider reframing your perception of the gym as a safe and supportive environment rather than a threatening one. Surround yourself with compassionate professionals and friends who understand your journey and are committed to helping.

3. See it as a celebration of what your body is capable of rather than how you can change your appearance. Engaging in strength training can have an incredible impact on both your physical and mental well-being. Not only does it strengthen your body, but it also empowers you to take control of your health and build resilience. 

4. Think of the act of pushing your limits in the gym as a metaphor for overcoming challenges in other areas of your life. As you strengthen your body, you’re also strengthening your resolve and cultivating a sense of purpose and direction.

5. Understand why you feel the way you do and take proactive steps to address those feelings. Try to explore what’s really behind the discomfort you feel at the gym. Often, it’s not about the gym at all but something deeper. It can help to journal, speak to a friend or even a therapist about what might be going on. 

Ultimately, the gym is not just a place to work out; it’s a sanctuary where you can reconnect with your body, release pent-up tension, and reclaim your sense of self. By embracing somatic interventions like strength training, you’re taking an active step towards breaking free from the chains of self-doubt and stepping into a brighter, more empowered future.


In this article, you learned that feelings of insecurity and self-consciousness in the gym are common and often stem from deeper emotional experiences. You came wondering how to overcome these barriers and find confidence in your journey. Now you know that the gym can be a place of healing and transformation, empowering you physically and mentally.

At the RESET Health Group, we’re here to support you every step of the way on your journey. Together, we can transform the gym from a place of fear into a space of healing and growth. Don’t let your past hold you back any longer. Embrace the gym, and embrace the power within you to create the life you deserve.

The next step is to embrace this opportunity for growth, join a supportive community, and reclaim your true power. Take this step with us towards a brighter, more empowered future.

Related articles

“Do I need therapy?” is a question many people ask themselves at different stages of life. It could be that

In a world where many of us feel trapped in a cycle of stress, anxiety, and disconnection, the idea of

The most reliable research we have has shown that stimulating the vagus nerve can reduce anxiety through breathwork and electrodes. Despite

Shifting from blame to empathy, PIE introduces a supportive atmosphere where the emotional well-being of clients is prioritised alongside practical