We all experience feelings of inadequacy in our lives. Perhaps our job makes us question our abilities, or difficult tasks such as parenting or being a caregiver to a relative can force us into making decisions we don't feel equipped to make. When it comes to fitness, these feelings of discouragement can be very common.

"Nowhere are feelings of inadequacy more prevalent than at the gym," Chelsea Wininger, a personal fitness instructor at Planet Fitness, said. "We all have different abilities and levels of endurance, regardless of size or shape. But for some reason it is human nature to compare what others can do to our own abilities and criticize ourselves for it.”

It is necessary for our health to maintain a fitness routine, and for many, that means going to the gym. However, the barriers that often arise while there can make your visit downright miserable if not kept in check. Here are three common thoughts we all have at some point or another at the gym and how to combat them with positivity.

Loss of Motivation.

We all have good days and bad days. And some days, we just need a little extra encouragement when we feel like going to the gym seems like a daunting task. Planet Fitness recommends finding a workout buddy. Having someone to workout with can help counteract those uncomfortable feelings that we all feel at the gym. They can also be a source of encouragement and give you that extra push when you need it. Plus, it just makes a workout much more fun, which will help you be able to reach your goals - whatever they may be. Consider someone that already works out at your gym and is on a similar schedule. The PF Black Card at Planet Fitness is a great option for those who would like to bring a friend who doesn’t already have a membership. This membership is $19.99 a month and offers free unlimited bring-a-friend privileges.

Accessibility.

Find a gym that fits your schedule. Nothing is worse than building up the energy and courage to go to the gym, just to find out that it’s not open. You need a place that is ready when you are so you can stay motivated and on track. If you’re a busy mom or dad looking to workout at odd hours of the day (depending on the kids’ schedules), all 6 Knoxville-area Planet Fitness locations are open and staffed 24/7.

Intimidation.

“It’s ok to admit that gyms are intimidating. They’re intimidating for most of us, whether we admit it or not”, says Chelsea. "It's so important to remember that physical ability varies from person to person regardless of size, weight, or shape.” As in any other aspect of life, don't compare yourself to others at the gym. We all have strengths and we all have ways we can improve – and that’s something to be celebrated. A way to banish any negative thoughts is to set goals for yourself and work toward them on your own timeline. Find someone to encourage and coach you through your journey – whether that be a role model or a fitness instructor at Planet Fitness. Feeling comfortable right where you are in the process will ensure that you keep going, you achieve your goals, and you enjoy doing it!