What it’s like to attend a group workout class when you have anxiety

Group workout classes can be the most motivating 60 minutes of your life, but they can also be the most terrifying. They basically consist of a bunch of people in one room, working out super hard, staring at each other and trying not to pass out — all while you’re trying to look like you know what you’re doing. It’s tough! And if you happen to be an anxious person by default? That makes the situation even more high stakes. If you are anxious, here are just a few of the thoughts you may have while sweatin’ it out with strangers:

What if I get there and it’s too crowded?

It doesn’t matter how much planning in advance I do, it seems like I always arrive to class after my favorite spot is already taken and a million people are already set up. How do these people get there so early? And am I going to accidentally take someone else’s spot, too?

Am I wearing the right type of workout gear?

It’s like no matter how cute I thought I looked in the mirror before arriving, I get there and end up thinking I should have worn the other tank top. I also want to make sure I’m wearing the right outfit for the workout — loose and breathable enough that I’ll stay comfortable, but tight enough that it won’t get in the way. And how do other girls manage to look so put together in leggings and sports bras? I’m lucky if my gear somewhat matches and I’m there on time.

OMG, how am I ever going to get through the next 45 minutes?

Busted. I totally catch myself glancing over to the clock one too many times during class, praying that it’s been 15 minutes between each glance. Somehow, it’s only been a mere five (or less!) each time. It seems like the world is absolutely going to end between this set of lunges and the final stretches. I always have to keep telling myself to stop looking at the clock.

Am I over-exerting myself too soon?

Speaking of how long these classes are, I always start to wonder early on: Is it a bad thing that I’m breathing harder than I’ve ever breathed in my whole life? I can’t help but look across the room at everyone else, in the hopes that I’m not the only one on the struggle bus. I usually catch eyes with someone else who is panting and praying, and I think we’re both thinking, “Will I survive this?”

Is this mirror weird or do I always look this awkward doing pushups?

Why, why, why do I always look so strange in the mirrors of workout classes? But come on, I know I’m not the only one checking myself out every other minute during class. I may think I look like a total badass, but those dreams are shattered the second I look in the mirror. Oops, I probably shouldn’t say “shattered” and “mirror” in the same sentence…

Why am I so hungry?

I swear, no matter how recently I’ve eaten or what time of day it is, exerting this much physical and mental energy makes me the most hungry human on the planet. We may be listening to the instructor scream about repetitions and sets, but all I can think about is F-O-O-D. I can’t imagine being able to get through the next 30 minutes without a snack!

I wonder how many classes it will take to have arms like the instructor.

Seriously though. Sometimes the only motivation to get me through those intense workout moves is the lofty hope that by sticking to this nonsense, one day I’ll be as fit as the instructor. Or maybe that I’ll look like Beyoncé. Y’know, whatever.

Finally! Yassss I survived!

Hallelujah! That hour class may have felt like forever but somehow I made it through! It’s like I knew the whole time I probably wouldn’t actually die (duh), but I’m still eternally grateful I survived. Now, I deserve all the pizza and wine in the world.

Only 23 hours until the next one.

There may be a million complaints in my head during each class, but somehow, I continue to go back. Anxious thoughts aside, it was actually pretty fun! I just have to remind myself that tomorrow….

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