Trying something new or different can be scary. Add in sweating, spandex, and strangers, and that new thing can be downright terrifying. For many, that’s exactly how exercising in public can feel. The fear may be based on the unknowns or from past bad experiences. Either way, that which scares you could be keeping you from making healthy changes in your life. The following are some common fitness “phobias” along with tips on how you can face your fears.
Newbaphobia: You want to work out, but you haven’t been in a gym since high school phys ed class–and even then there weren’t the machines or equipment that your health club has. You’re not sure where to go, what to do, or how long to do it. Your deer-in-headlights look makes you stand out from the buff crowd–and not in a good way.
Face Your Fear: Forget what other people think. You’re there to work out your body–not theirs. Walk around and get a lay of the land. Better yet, ask someone who works at the facility if they can give you a tour. Bring a pen and paper along and take notes of equipment, classes, and other offerings that are provided. Start your first day with a walk or run on the treadmill. When you get home, use your notes to map out a more strategic plan of fat-burning attack for your next workout. If you’re not sure how to work the equipment, ask for help or consider working with a personal trainer if you looking to try something completely new, such as weights, TRX, or kettlebells.
Ouchaphobia: The old saying, “No pain. No gain,” has you scared that exercise will hurt more than it will help. Whether it’s muscle soreness during recovery or the potential for an injury, you want nothing that is going to leave you in pain.
Face Your Fear: Yes, pain may be part of it, but you don’t have to cripple yourself. Working out makes micro-tears in the muscle fibers and connective tissues. As your body recovers, your muscles get stronger but at the price of some soreness. The idea is not to overdo it when you first get started, which can not only cause increased muscle soreness but also injury if your body isn’t ready for such intensity. Ease into a routine and work up to longer or heavier workouts as your body feels ready.
Bulkaphobia: If your weight room is full of muscle heads, you might think that lifting barbells and dumbbells will cause you to look just like them–big, bulky, and not-so feminine.
Face Your Fear: The good news is that this simply isn’t true. A bulky bodybuilding shape is as much about your nutrition as it is about strength training. For many people, it’s hard to put on good quality muscle mass. It requires taking in a lot of lean protein all throughout the day. If you’re looking to tone your muscles and burn fat, lifting weights is the most efficient way to do so. You may have more defined muscles, but unless you’re eating to gain, they will look proportional for your body.
I-Suckaphobia: If you haven’t worked out in some time, finding your groove might prove challenging. Other people will appear more advanced than you, and your gasps for breath and torrential downpour of flop sweat will be constant reminders that you have a long way to go.
Face Your Fear: Stop comparing yourself to others. Many–if not all–of the people working out around you started out just like you–fatigued, slow to learn, and with low stamina. It’s part of the process, and it’s why you’re working toward getting healthy. Even if you have a large amount of weight to lose, others will likely praise you for doing something positive about it than judge you for how you look.
Exercise can seem scary, but don’t let your fears stop you from choosing a healthier lifestyle. Face the fears head on, and you’ll quickly realize there was really nothing to be scared of in the first place. You can do it!
What scares you? Share with us in the comments.