‘I Used To Have Horrible Gym Anxiety, And Now I Can Deadlift 185 Pounds—Here’s How I Did It’

I started my fitness journey in 2019, when I was 23 years old. I recently got engaged and had a wedding in the summer that I really wanted to look healthy for. However, I admit that my initial goal was to lose weight… and that was it. I didn’t care about being strong or having big muscles, I just wanted to look smaller.

Fast forward until I actually reached the so-called “target weight” and I quickly realized that I was no more satisfied or happy in life. I wanted to discover true happiness and strength, both mentally and physically.. I decided to shift my focus away from weight and my body and really focus on mental and physical strength instead.

That’s when I decided to face my fear of the gym and lifting weights. I wanted to transform my life and long-term well-being, and I thought embracing something totally new and uncomfortable was a great way to turn the page. A fresh start and mindset.

To help me with my confidence and training, I hired a trainer.

I was so nervous about entering a gym. She barely knew how to run a treadmill other than pressing the start button. But she was determined to make a genuine life change happen.

I was not an athletic person at all growing up. I tried various sports in school, but didn’t stick with anything for long because I didn’t have a passion for any of them. I also hated physical education class.

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All this is to say that the gym was new to me. I started with light strength training when I started. I was extremely anxious! But I started following strong, amazing, inspiring women on social media and learned from their platforms. (These include sydney adams and makayla anisia.)

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I knew I always wanted a female trainer, but I wanted someone who was female, down to earth, and invested in her clients. I searched and searched until I found the person who gave me the best vibes. That was Kelly Lewis from P2 Progressive Yield—she is *the bomb.*

Now I exercise five days a week with two days off. I will usually have one training split targeting certain upper body muscles and then focus on the lower body. I usually have two to three upper body days and the rest are lower body days. I work with my coach on what we are focusing on growing to plan in detail what those days will look like.

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Finding a supportive environment and like-minded people was key.

First, I found a gym that was local to me, easy to travel to, and an environment I felt comfortable in. Touring different gyms is something I suggest to anyone looking to start a fitness journey. Try a few places near you and choose the one that is most comfortable for you!

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The community is another thing I found that helped me. I have a close group of friends who share a similar passion for health and fitness. It makes a big difference when you are surrounded by people who want to see you grow and achieve your goals. I stepped out of my comfort zone and started connecting with other people who went to the same local gym as I did, shopped at the same local supplement store as I did and really built a strong and trustworthy friendship with them. They can learn from each other and build together.

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I am very proud that I overcame my anxiety in the gym.

When I started training, I would take breaks in the locker room. It felt like an entire room was watching me, and some days that would kill my motivation and my workouts.

Having a routine helped me get past my anxious thoughts: put on a cute gym outfit, listen to my favorite music at my drive-in, show up at the same time every day and see familiar faces, put on my headphones, and have my new “personal time.” You will learn that no one is looking at you or judging you. We are all in the gym for the same reason: growth.

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Now I can also deadlift 185lbs which blows my mind.

I’m currently working on increasing my strength through progressive overload (this is where you increase rep range, weight size, or both to ensure you gradually increase your strength). I have found that I can lift heavier compound movements. My deadlift started at 105lbs and my current max weight is 185lbs! That is *incredible* progress that I am very proud of.

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