How Introverts Can Crush Their Gym Goals

A man and woman work out at the gym.

If you’re an introvert who feels overwhelmed when you think about going to a crowded gym, you’re not alone. Here’s how to do it.

Are you an introvert who struggles to make it to the gym? 

You’re not alone. In fact, some research even shows that extroversion is correlated to more physical activity.

As a personal trainer, I understand that many people feel overwhelmed and anxious when they think about going to a crowded fitness center. And going to the gym as an introvert may be a challenge, as well. 

Fortunately, there are some effective strategies that can help introverts take control of their fitness goals without feeling intimidated or out of place. And even if the gym isn’t your thing, I still recommend building a great exercise routine to improve your fitness and health. 

However, if you feel like you can benefit from going to the gym, read on.

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5 Ways Introverts Can Crush Their Gym Goals

1. Plan ahead and go at off-peak hours.

Planning ahead and going to the gym at off-peak hours is a great way for introverts to overcome any anxiety. Going when it’s less crowded can help you feel more comfortable and confident in your workout environment. It’ll provide you with a more relaxed atmosphere, without fear of being observed or judged. 

When creating your gym regimen, think about which time of day fits best with your lifestyle. If mornings are too chaotic, try evenings instead. And if weekends are usually busy, opt for midweek visits instead. Knowing when the gym will be least crowded will help you stay focused on your fitness goals without feeling overwhelmed by other people’s presence. Most gyms are super busy from 7-9 a.m. and from 5-7 p.m., so picking an afternoon time (if you can) or later at night would work well for introverts. You can also ask the staff when the least crowded times tend to be.

Another advantage of going at off-peak hours is that there may be fewer distractions from other members using equipment or talking loudly on their phones while working out, factors that could easily put an introvert off from continuing with their routine. Additionally, many gyms offer discounts during these times, so it’s worth checking with them before committing to any membership plan.

Finally, remember that everyone has different needs when it comes to being comfortable in a gym setting — some might prefer peak hours because of social interaction while others may find solace only in quieter periods when there aren’t many people around. Whatever works best for you should be prioritized over anything else. 

2. Set small, achievable goals that are easier to accomplish.

Setting small, achievable goals is a great way for introverts to start crushing their gym goals. It’s important to break larger goals into smaller chunks that are easier to accomplish. You can generate enthusiasm and self-belief by breaking down your objectives into more attainable targets, which will eventually lead to the achievement of larger goals.

I have worked with many clients over the years who are more introverted, and building up these small wins is important. If you are less likely to be the social butterfly, you are also less likely to receive social support from others around you, as you may not have as many people in your corner at the gym. And that’s completely okay!  

If we track our goals and stay focused, we can still reach our goals with or without the help of others cheering us on. In fact, those who are more outgoing often spend much of their time at the gym having conversations and not working out as much, which can reduce their progress.

So set a small goal. Perhaps you want to go from 10 minutes on a stationary bike to 20. But it’s hard to take that leap right away. So you can slowly increase the time you spend on the bike. And the same goes for other workout goals, of course. Celebrate each success along the way and be sure to reward yourself for reaching those milestones. They all add up!

Breaking your ambitions into daily (or weekly) pieces, rather than taking in the whole view simultaneously, can also be beneficial when aiming for attainable objectives. For instance, if your long-term goal is to run a 5K race in three months’ time, focus on running shorter distances every day (or every other day) with rest days built in between runs. That way, you won’t burn out too quickly. By focusing on these smaller steps — rather than the end result — it can help make your progress more manageable and less overwhelming.

In addition, it is essential not only to have realistic expectations, but to also give ourselves grace during times when we fall off track. It happens. Just remember not to beat yourself up too much about it. Instead, get back up again and continue moving forward toward meeting those small, attainable targets.

Do you ever struggle to know what to say?

As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.

3. Find an introvert-friendly gym (or introvert-friendly workout sessions).

When it comes to achieving fitness goals, it may be hard for introverts if they find the gym intimidating and uncomfortable. The ambience can be overwhelming for those who prefer to exercise alone or in smaller groups. So, to make things easier, look for an introvert-friendly gym that caters specifically to your personality type. 

These gyms usually provide a comfortable atmosphere with plenty of space for exercising without feeling overwhelmed by the crowd. Many of these gyms offer tailored services, like private training or small-group classes. Additionally, many of these gyms are equipped with soundproof rooms where you can take part in workouts without having to worry about being overheard by others.

If you are female, you might want to explore a female-only gym. There are also lots of small, super-private training studios if you look around for them. They are a bit harder to find, but you can start out simply by using Google Maps, googling “personal trainer,” and seeing what comes up. You can also ask around.

4. Bring headphones and create your own workout playlist.

Pack your bag with your favorite gym essentials, including some awesome noise-canceling headphones. Creating a custom music playlist is a great way for introverts to make their gym experience more enjoyable. Tunes can assist you in concentrating on the task at hand, help drown out interruptions, and even rouse you to work harder in your workout. Having control over what music you listen to helps create an environment that’s tailored specifically for your needs.

For the perfect workout soundtrack, consider music that will keep you energized and inspired without distracting you from your exercise routine. Try different genres of music or mix it up with some old-school favorites and modern hits — whatever gets your blood pumping. Make sure the songs are upbeat enough so they don’t distract from the actual exercise routine; you want them to be motivational without taking away from the intensity of the workout itself.

If possible, try using noise-canceling headphones so that any outside noises won’t interfere with your concentration levels. This will also give you peace of mind, knowing that nobody else in the gym can hear what type of tunes you’re jamming out to. Plus, having control over which songs play through your headphones gives introverts an extra layer of privacy, as well as comfortability, when working out in public spaces like gyms. Larger headphones signal to others in the gym that you are “busy” (i.e., Don’t talk to me), so go for a larger option if you want to have more control over your gym session.

Creating a personalized playlist is also beneficial because it allows you to take your mind off of your surroundings while focusing on yourself instead, something we all need every now and then. With this tactic, you can choose specific tracks that get you pumped up before lifting weights or running on the treadmill. Plus, you can choose slower-paced songs if you want some chill time after finishing each set or workout session. 

All these elements combined provide introverts with an escape route from reality while still getting fit at the same time. How cool is that?

5. Take advantage of virtual training and workout apps.

Don’t forget to consider taking advantage of virtual training options or workout apps that allow you to exercise from home on your own schedule. Rather than having to perform in front of others, virtual training can provide the same benefits associated with physical activity, like increased muscle tone and strength-building exercises.

With virtual trainers, you can access personalized workouts tailored specifically to your needs without ever having to step foot in a gym. It’s now easier than ever to find virtual classes or individualized coaching, enabling you to exercise in the solace of your own home. At this point, most trainers have worked with all types of people (introvert, ambivert, or extrovert), so they will know how to connect with you in the right way that makes you feel most comfortable.

One of the key benefits of using virtual training and workout apps is convenience. Finding a workout that fits your schedule (and lifestyle) is easy, and many of these programs provide free trials. This way, it’s also easy to test them out before having to commit financially.

Another major perk is privacy — you don’t have to worry about feeling uncomfortable or self-conscious while working out in front of other people at the gym. Introverts can enjoy the luxury of exercising without feeling uneasy or intimidated by others.

With virtual training and workout apps (like Peleton, Aaptiv, or Hydrow, to name just a few), introverts can customize their experience to what works best for them. Personalization options, like selecting exercises based on skill level or choosing different types of music during each session, create an environment that encourages users to push themselves further than they could in a traditional setting. 

Finally, some virtual fitness programs provide additional support services, such as nutritional advice and meal plans. which can help keep you on track with reaching your fitness goals. This makes these types of programs ideal for those who prefer working independently, but still want structure and accountability throughout their journey toward achieving better health and wellness outcomes.

By following these tips, success is within reach. Don’t let anxiety hold you back any longer; it’s time to start crushing those goals.

I’ve been a fitness trainer for a solid 15 years and have helped introverts achieve their fitness goals. At EverFlex, my blog, I dish out workout tips that’ll leave you breathless (in a good way).

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