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How Gym Anxiety Stole My Confidence

You guys, it happened!

I’ll explain.

I’m nearly halfway through my second pregnancy and I had an appointment with a midwife I’d never met before. As she was checking my pulse she asked me a question I never knew I had longed to hear, “Are you an athlete?” because my resting heart rate was lower, which is normal in athletes.  What I once thought impossible happened –  I had something in common with Simone Biles and Michael Phelps. I was an athlete – I could do anything.


Many of you lovelies may be reading this and are thinking, “Great, here’s a girl that’s perfectly fit and bragging about it on this blog. That usually makes me feel great…” well read on and I’ll provide some context.

I grew up taking ballet so I don’t know I would have ever used the word “athletic” but I considered myself fit. I was definitely NOT coordinated in other things having to do with a team – soccer, basketball, tennis, etc. Not for me. In elementary and middle school, all was well, but once puberty hit… bye “fit” Janelle (or at least the look of it). Before, I was thin and kept up with my very trim dancer friends, but then one day I suddenly had curves I hadn’t dealt with before.

I remember a specific day in ballet, my teacher compared my body to a girl’s that was probably 4 inches taller than me and weighed probably 15 pounds less – she had the ideal “dancer body”. While my teacher was not saying I was disgusting or overweight, all I did in my mind was compare myself to all of the girls in my class and pretty much wanted to die of embarrassment in that moment as everyone looked back and forth between the two of us.

Bye confidence, hello insecurity!

College then hit and any fitness left went out the window. I didn’t go full on freshman 15, but definitely hit freshman 10 and it stayed with me until beyond graduation.  I would try to do things here and there, but getting fit was tough for me because I was TERRIFIED of the gym. I couldn’t bear to walk into a place filled with so much pride and self absorption – not to mention all the people that looked way better than me. And can you imagine the horror if I ran into someone I knew there while I was sweaty? Not knowing what I’m doing? No makeup? How humiliating!


It may sound ridiculous, but I don’t think I’m the only person that has struggled with gym anxiety, but doesn’t have the determination, equipment, or knowledge to do it at home so it results in being unhealthy and not confident.


**I’m not saying you have to have a perfect body to be confident, but my fear – the dreaded gym –  was robbing me of confidence that I couldn’t even walk into a facility without feeling bad,  inadequate and like I had NO CLUE what I was doing.


Thankfully, with the help of a fellow Lovely, I joined a gym. I would still ONLY go with her and would only ever attend a group fitness class (I couldn’t be caught dead on the “floor” with the free weights and treadmills). Eventually I started feeling more comfortable, didn’t want to die inside when I would run into friends unexpectedly, and even began to go when my workout buddy couldn’t.


This was years ago, but it has been daily stepping outside of my comfort zone to get where I am now – having the heart rate of an athlete and more importantly, the confidence to stomp my fears. I now work at a gym and teach group fitness classes to people that are way fitter than me, or are terrified and clueless about working out like I use to be (and everywhere in between).


So here’s your encouragement and challenge for the day my friends: if you’re scared about something, and it’s stealing your confidence and preventing you from achieving your goals (fitness or not) – push through! If you need a hand to hold, find someone to help pull you along and build up your confidence like my friend did. Whatever it is, don’t let it win another day!

Let’s not allow our fears and insecurities to control us any longer!


Keep being Lovely,