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Social anxiety in crossfit


Rhiannon

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Hey ladies, I'm new to this website but I need some advice...obviously.

 

For years I've struggled with anxiety since middle school if I remember correctly. Now as a 28 year old it seems to be worse.

 

I've always had weight issues, mostly ingrained by my morbidly obese mother. It wasn't her fault, I know, she just didn't want me to end up like her  and my father. It worked for quite sometime, I ate literally everything I could without fear for the longest time, thanks to gymnastics and dance. At about 16 years old my social anxiety increased, my little sister had very sever psychological disorders that caused her to be in and out of our home, when she was home  it was in no way pleasant, I started a brand new school with triple the students and I didn't know a soul. 

 

My grandmother passed away in December of that year and I completely lost it. I dropped out of school, did find myself a job but mostly just tried my hardest to overcome my anxieties. Since then it feels like I'm puzzle constantly being put together and then torn apart trying to deal with my issues.

 

For the past year or so I've noticed myself gaining weight right and left. December of 2015 my father passed away unexpectedly. He, like my mom was very overweight, diabetic, and many other health concerns, he was a day shy from turning 49 years old, exactly 20 years older than me. While I don't have the same health concerns that my mom and dad (have/had) I am dealing with my own weight issues and the loss of my father has only made it worse. 

 

I am currently at my highest weight and it's not from muscle weight. It's all congregated from underneath my breasts to my hip line. Now I know my weight isn't terrible, it could most definitely be worse considering my gene pool. 

 

My partner and I joined crossfit back in March and loved it. The last week of our intro class we missed due to a vacation to visit her family in Virginia. I tried to get myself to workout while I was there but I couldn't talk myself into it. My partner wasn't as into it, but she doesn't necessarily need to be. (At 40 she weighs what I weighed 10 years ago.)

 

When we got back from our trip we only went back one time, for an early morning class (I think I enjoy those more due to less people in the class). But again my partner absolutely loathes the early morning hours, she would sleep until noon if I let her. Moral of the story is we never went back after that although we do remain in contact with our intro coach. 

 

I've wanted nothing more than to go back to crossfit but every time I try I wind up taking myself out of it. I do have social anxiety, so all the people and everything truly does stress me out. I know it's irrational.

 

I purchased a Groupon for a crossfit gym closer to my house about two months ago but have been signing up and not attending each time. I wanted to do the intro class to hopefully help with the anxiety. The days leading up to it I'm excited and pumped but each time I talk myself out of it the day of. I've talked to the owner and decided to just have him evaluate me coming into the gym at my own time but now I'm even more nervous. All of the what-ifs are killing me. 

 

I want to commit to this and actually make a change in my life. I have a trip coming up in December with my partner's family to Disney World and I want to be in better shape for that. I'm just lacking motivation and the anxiety is killing me. 

 

Anyways, tl;dr if anyone has any thoughts or tips to help me please let me know. Thanks in advance!

 

 

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Stop a minute and think long term.  December is 11 weeks from now.  There is a limit to how much you can realistically change your body by then, and you're one of those people at high risk of "rebound" weight gain if you try to do too much, too soon.  Think instead about making changes that are going to stick.  The most crucial changes I'd suggest are examining your diet, and starting a daily walk routine.

 

If you really and truly like Crossfit, then keep going to it.  The little voice in the back of your head that days "don't go, they'll laugh" can say whatever it wants.  Unfortunately we all have this voice and there's no getting rid of it (medication and therapy may turn down the volume, but will not silence it).   Just pat the anxious thought on the head, say "Noted, thanks for your contribution" and then ignore it.  This will take practice, but you are tough.  You can do it.  The last 10 trips to the gym went fine, this one probably will too.    

 

The whiny little voice actually wants to protect you, it's just really bad at its job and keeps slamming the big red button for no good reason.  Mine does that too and it's a pain, but one trick I've found is asking myself "Which will I regret less tomorrow: going out or staying home?"  When I think about tomorrow, I know what the answer is.  Staying home is comfy in the moment, but will get me nothing new.  Going out might be harder in the moment, but tomorrow I will have the reward of new experiences, and possibly new friends.

 

That said, Crossfit is not for everyone.  The culture tends to be intense and competitive and not everybody finds that motivating.  If you don't like it, then don't pay a damn fortune for it.  Find something else you'll actually do.  I prefer working out at home, because I despise commuting and the nearest gym is a good 10 minutes away.  With a living room floor and a nice big street outside, there's no commute and no excuse not to work out.  I do bodyweight exercises and take lots of walks.  Figure out what works for you personally, and then do it over and over again.

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10 hours ago, Rhiannon said:

...When we got back from our trip we only went back one time, for an early morning class (I think I enjoy those more due to less people in the class). But again my partner absolutely loathes the early morning hours, she would sleep until noon if I let her. Moral of the story is we never went back after that although we do remain in contact with our intro coach. 

 

I've wanted nothing more than to go back to crossfit but every time I try I wind up taking myself out of it. I do have social anxiety, so all the people and everything truly does stress me out. I know it's irrational.

 

Early morning groups are great. You're with the motivated folks, the types who don't want to be there at 5:30 pm with the after work rush. 

 

The community aspect adds to it for some people, but don't let that stress you out. What are you there for? Most of us are there to work, to get the functional  bodies that let us do what we love doing... whether that's competition, back country hiking, or looking awesome on vacation. That's what gets me  there every time. 

 

If you decide that you want to go back and just need some sort of leverage to keep you accountable, say something and I'm sure we fitness nerds can work something out ;) 

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We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. -Aristotle

Arian, arian, zehetzen da burnia. -Basque proverb

Frisian Shieldmaiden level 12 (STR:16) (DEX:16) (STA:23) (CON:22) (WIS:17) (CHA:15)

 Challenges: 11/12.14 - 1/2.15 - 2/3.15 - 15.4/5 - 15.6/7 - 15.7/9 - 16.1 - 16.3 - 16.4 - 16.5 - 16.10 - 16.11 - 16.12 - 17.1 - 17.2

 2017 Goals: Maintain BW BS, 100kg DL - Muscle Up - 1/2 Marathon Condition - Abs

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I also have anxiety but I deal with mine in a really matter of fact manner so I don't know if this will really help.

 

I often get to a point where I have to look into a mirror and say to myself, "Just stop." Stop worrying about it and just do it. It will be hard the first time. It might be hard the second time. It won't stay hard though. And if you don't do it, you'll just keep beating yourself up and feel worse and won't make anything better.

 

So just do it.

 

And for some reason that speech to myself works. I don't know if it'll work for you.

 

All that to say give it a shot. It'll be rough but you'll regret not doing it so you might as well give it a shot. That said CrossFit isn't for everyone, like others have said. If you find yourself truly not enjoying it after a while, then stop. But don't let yourself make yourself miserable by making excuses.

 

If that doesn't help you, I'm sorry. All I know is what works for me. I hope you find something that works for you!

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I have anxiety. I won't go into the ins and outs of how and when and what as there is a whole lot more to it, but I'm currently medicated for it. I'm not sure if you are, and I'm by no means saying that medication is a "must" but after battling it for a few years, it helped me so much. Like Raincloak said:

On 23/09/2016 at 5:51 PM, Raincloak said:

(medication and therapy may turn down the volume, but will not silence it).

I still have those niggles in the back of my noggin and medication didn't stop that. But what it did do was quieten them just enough that I had the strength to fight back a little. Maybe that could be an option for you? :)  

 

A favourite quote (from a favourite show) of mine once said:

"Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come of it"

 

And I frequently apply that to my own life. If I were you I would, in that midst of signing up and feeling okay about it, work out what time it begins, your way of getting there, what time you need to get up, pack a bag of your fitness stuff (yes, days or even weeks in advance) and know that its all planned and ready. When, a few days before the class, those negative thoughts begin to chip away at your resolve, simply take a deep breathe, think "future me can deal with those later" and quickly thrust your mind into a different thought pattern; think of your partner, or the ocean; try and imagine something as crystal-clear as you can. Let yourself be in a teency bit of denial coming up to it; dont think about the class, how it will be, what you'll get out of it; be clinical. Just get in your car at 8:30, imagining you're on your way to somewhere else; a coffee shop, perhaps, or to the park. Show up and tell yourself that you will allow yourself twenty seconds of insane courage and see where it gets you. Just remember; the absolute worst case scenario is you get into that class, feel too worked up, and quietly leave. That isn't so bad. Although you'll probably find that twenty seconds into that class you realize you're having a good time. 

 

Not sure if this helped, but I hope it does!

Best of luck,

I know how difficult it can all be. Sending you some lovely big hugs!

Lots of love,

Stella x

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Stella   ::   Sprightly Elf   ::   Level 1

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On 9/23/2016 at 7:23 AM, Rhiannon said:

 

I've wanted nothing more than to go back to crossfit but every time I try I wind up taking myself out of it. I do have social anxiety, so all the people and everything truly does stress me out. I know it's irrational.

1

 

Hi Rhiannon!

 

You are not irrational. I'm 28 and deal with social anxiety all the time. Months ago I refused to go to the gym literally 5 minutes from my home because I didn't know anyone there. One day I simply decided that I was going to become a member of the gym. Actually, it was a challenge from my Psychotherapist and I love challenges so I committed to going to the gym at least twice a week. Now I'm not going to say I suddenly got courage because I didn't. I surely didn't overcome my fear, because I completely avoided eye count my first two weeks there.   What I did do was stay committed to yourself. So, I guess the only thing I can add to what everyone has shared is to make a commitment to yourself to do something outside your comfort zone. Going to that gym was outside my comfort zone, but I did it. You can too. :-)

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2 hours ago, Afitnessmindset said:

One day I simply decided that I was going to become a member of the gym. Actually, it was a challenge from my Psychotherapist and I love challenges so I committed

 

Motivation ;) Challenges don't work as well for me, but I'm glad that you found a driver to get yourself over the "activation energy" to start the reaction!

 

I almost prefer to be anonymous at the gym. My bf and I worked out at our town's "generic" gym this morning and it was more nerve racking running into my high school best friend's mom, my brother in law's brother... I'd rather be unknown!

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. -Aristotle

Arian, arian, zehetzen da burnia. -Basque proverb

Frisian Shieldmaiden level 12 (STR:16) (DEX:16) (STA:23) (CON:22) (WIS:17) (CHA:15)

 Challenges: 11/12.14 - 1/2.15 - 2/3.15 - 15.4/5 - 15.6/7 - 15.7/9 - 16.1 - 16.3 - 16.4 - 16.5 - 16.10 - 16.11 - 16.12 - 17.1 - 17.2

 2017 Goals: Maintain BW BS, 100kg DL - Muscle Up - 1/2 Marathon Condition - Abs

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I do crossfit and I love it.  I'm one of the older people there when I go (48).  Most of the people are young, competitive, former athletes and they are crazy for xfit, they go every day.  I go twice a week and am not a crazy person.  I modify everything.  And you know what - no one cares.  I fit right in.  No one makes me feel uncomfortable.  I'm glad I didn't let what I "thought" other people would think about me get in my way of going.  

 

Sometimes I do have to push myself to get there but once I'm there I'm always glad I went.  When my life gets super busy I actually have to talk myself into it.   "Just go."  I tell myself.  Being dressed to go is key though, it is easy to talk yourself out of something if you make it so complicated.  I get up, get dressed for xfit and then I throw on OVER my shorts/tshirt a jersey skirt and a sweater (my "mom" uniform) so I feel comfortable running my boys to school or to the grocery after)  My xfit shoes are always in my car.  with socks.  so even if I throw on some shoe that goes better with my skirt but isn't great for working out there is no excuse.  I drop my boys at school and drive straight to the gym and I go right in, even if I'm super early.  I've been seen!  No backing out now :)  Like I said, I only go twice a week so it's not a big deal but I've got my routine that helps me get there.  Some other things I say to myself to me there:  it's only an hour.  You are always glad you went.  Maybe Diesel will be there (the very cute tiny dog that belongs to the owner of the gym).  You are paying for it whether you go or not so just go.

 

I do have some social anxiety.  I do not like crowds.  I can only handle one social thing at a time (like we'll spend the morning with the in-laws and then later the husband unit wants to go over to the neighbors for deck beers?  can't do it.  I'm exhausted from the first thing).  I am, however, completely okay going places where I know no one.  I don't have to have someone I know with me to try new things.  Actually I prefer it.  I do like to meet new people.  I don't have a problem talking to people.  I just like it in small amounts.  And then, of course, I have to be able to recharge by myself for a few hours before I can do it again (usually reading or sometimes journaling or just being alone and doing chores or whatever).  

 

Hope some of my rambling ideas are helpful.  Take it slow but definitely just go.

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On 10/11/2016 at 0:43 PM, IslandGirl_Becks said:

 

Motivation ;) Challenges don't work as well for me, but I'm glad that you found a driver to get yourself over the "activation energy" to start the reaction!

 

I almost prefer to be anonymous at the gym. My bf and I worked out at our town's "generic" gym this morning and it was more nerve racking running into my high school best friend's mom, my brother in law's brother... I'd rather be unknown!

 

 

Oh No! That would bother me too if I bumped into someone I knew in the past. Then again I have tunnel vision when I'm at the gym so I generally don't see anyone when I'm there. I wish I could give you a technique other than to say keep "the you know what face" on to keep everyone from coming near. I hope that it's been a little less unnerving as you continue to go and grow stronger. :-)

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Firstly, I wanted to give my condolences, losing your father must have been a terrible thing to come to terms with. I am genuinely sorry to hear about your loss. xx

 

As for your difficulty keeping the motivation up to actually get back to Crossfit, have you ever heard this quote... 

 

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein 

 

If what you're doing right now isn't working then try a different tactic. Don't waste energy beating yourself up over it either, you've been through a terrible time lately, so it's no wonder your anxiety has gotten worse. Just don't let this get to you or make you feel any worse. You have already overcome a lot, and for someone who suffers from social anxiety to even go to Crossfit in the first place is already a MASSIVE achievement! **high five**

 

From how I read it, it's not really so much that you're anxious about going back, but that your brain keeps finding excuses why you can't/shouldn't go - I'm too tired, there's too much housework needing done, I don't have time, I'll go tomorrow...

 

It sounds like the classic motivation Vs discipline battle. This article gives a good explanation why you need more than just motivation to really achieve what you want. As @mom2sjm said, you need to put things in place to stop you from backing out of going to a class at the last minute - put your gym clothes on first thing so that you don't have the "I can't be bothered getting changed" excuse (I've even heard some people SLEEP in their gym kit if they want to go first thing in the morning :o ), arrange to go with a friend or even just ask a friend for a lift to the gym so you can't back out without letting someone down,  pick a class at a time you're more likely to go to so that you don't have the mental fight of "but I'm comfy and my favourite show is coming on", etc, etc. I know your gf doesn't want to do the early morning class, but so what? Go without her! Don't let that be another thing to hold you back.  I know you want to go together but she will soon start going herself once she sees you doing it. You can be HER motivation and inspiration. :) 

 

You only need your motivation to last until you get out of the house, you're hardly going to back out once you do that. If you work on taking away the excuses then you're half way to getting there. I always find it hard to go back to ANYTHING if I stop going for a while (for whatever reason) and it's only really that first time back that causes the problem. Once I've gone back just once I'm over that hurdle and it's no bother. You might find that with your gym too. 

 

The other her thing to consider is that healthy habits have a tendency to lead on from one another so if getting back to Crossfit is just proving too big a step, then take smaller steps first. Like @Raincloak said, try going for a walk (the Health benefits of walking are seriously huge!) or doing a workout at home, work on improving your diet, anything that works towards the bigger goal of being healthy. You might find that after a while going back to crossfit isn't so difficult. 

 

Even if it takes you a year to get back to Crossfit but you are improving your health and fitness in other ways then I would call that a win. I know you want to get back there and you want it now, but sometimes life throws us these curveballs and all we can do is to make the most of the situation. Just don't end up doing "nothing" just because you can't do the "something" that you really want to do. 

 

Take care, and keep us updated on how you get on. 

 

Guzzi

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Hi everyone! 
 

Im sure this is an extremely late post. I came across this discussion when searching “social anxiety with CrossFit” 

The first time I went to a CrossFit gym I truly fell in love, I didn’t feel any social anxiety, felt really welcomed, etc. unfortunately it closed down and I had to move. My partner gifted me a membership for my birthday knowing I missed it. I noticed I’ve been feeling much more anxiety lately. Everyone is super nice, very motivating. Especially one person, always saying hi and “just gotta keep coming!” Or when I miss a day or two “haven’t seen you in a while!” “When was the last day you came again?” I understand where he’s coming from, he genuinely just cares and is being nice. Although this has heightened my stress or anxiety about going 😂 

My business at home requires a lot of 10-12 hour work days where I may sleep at 4am. For two weeks I couldn’t go to my normal 6am class because I was so so drained. I kept telling myself “well if I can’t go at that hour, then I can’t fit in any other class, my day is just too busy” I get this anxiety about the fact I haven’t gone in two full weeks so my crazy brain thinks people will judge me 😔 especially that one guy or couple that says “haven’t seen you in awhile!” I just get stuck in the thought of feeling ashamed of not going every single day or being consistent. 

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