For some guys, going to the gym can be terrifying. You might feel too overweight, too skinny, or too unsure of yourself to hit the training circuit.

As men, we don’t often talk openly about our mental health, whether it’s about going to the gym for the first time, or overcoming other mental health struggles. Although most guys laugh off jokes about their weight or health, they still experience guilt, shame, and concern about how others see them, especially when it comes to body image and self-esteem.

If this sounds like you, fear not! Check out our simple tips to overcome your gym jitters without breaking a sweat.

  1. Bring a buddy — Every guy needs back-up, and who better to have your back than a buddy that knows how to navigate the gym. If you’d rather a professional show you the ropes, book a personal trainer at a time outside peak hours, usually Saturday or Sunday afternoons. They’ll give you a game plan to get in and out, and avoid the gym rats.
  2. Bring good tunes — One great way to deal with anxiety is to plug in headphones and listen to your favourite tunes. Zoning out to motivational music helps you relax, and gives you the push you need to keep going.
  3. “Doctor’s orders!” — If you’re afraid about being mocked by your buddies for choosing healthier food options, blame it on your doctor! No one can argue with medical advice, and you might be surprised with how little anyone cares.

Stereotypes about masculinity make it hard to break bad habits. But remember that your mental health matters, and that all men struggle at some point in their lives.