COMMITTING TO EXERCISE FOR LIFE
It’s often the case where people fall into a few general categories when it comes to working out: the consistent exercisers (the Sweat Crew we see regularly in studio or at home, the honeymooners (on and off exercisers who go all in for a short amount of time) and the resisters who generally do not regularly exercise.
Barriers to kicking off (or sticking with) an exercise program often correlate to a type of ‘fitness resistance’, or reluctance to incorporate fitness into our lifestyle in a sustainable and enjoyable way.
No matter how often you come to class, so many of us at some point experience levels of fitness resistance and/or find ourselves at some roadblock in sustaining our routines.
While our society (most aggressively social media) tends to highlight people that do health and fitness “well,” I want to be clear in saying that none of these groups are inherently better than the other. We are all out here just doing our best.
As a group fitness lover and a trainer at Perspirology, I enjoy the many benefits that come from exercising regularly. Which is why I've gone ahead and outlined some useful tools for conquering your fitness fear and building a sustainable fitness routine.
Find Movement that Moves You
Often resistances are fear based. A fear of failure in a new program, fear of judgment in a class, or perhaps fear of injury or over exhaustion. Fear can really weasel its way into any aspect of our lives that seems challenging or that has stifled us in the past.
Finding a type of movement you enjoy is the first and in my opinion, most vital step in shifting from fear to fun. Do you thrive in solo activities like running or swimming or do you prefer group fitness settings like a dance cardio or trampoline fitness classes? I invite you to set a measurable routine around a type of exercise you enjoy, gradually build on the frequency and intensity of said exercise and then acknowledge the physical and mental benefits it brings you! Oh and when that type of movement is no longer enjoyable, try something else!
Do Your Homework
Fear of Judgement: If you’ve had a poor past fitness experience due to a certain environment, seeking out a more inclusive space can be helpful. A welcoming space can make worlds of difference and if building confidence at home first is a better way to familiarize yourself with the process of feeling like all eyes are on you, start out there!
Fear of Injury: If you experienced an injury or took on too much too fast, explore why and how the past pain occurred to avoid repeated mistakes. A proper warm up and cool down should definitely be weighing into the equation while also seeking advice from fitness and health professionals on how to take the right precautions during classes and sessions (and self care in-between classes).
Another point of note, particularly when getting started with exercises that are new is understanding the difference between soreness and pain and building your own personal tool belt of foam rolling and other forms of rest and recovery. These links have some helpful information from previous articles we've written.
You can have experienced a past injury and bounce back stronger than ever before, but it requires diligence and persistence to simultaneously strengthen and protect the body in the process. Doing your research online while also seeking guidance from a physical therapist, fitness trainer or other trained professional is your best bet!
Listen to Your Body
No matter how many resources you pull from, blogs you read, classes you take or trainers you work with, no one knows what your body needs as much as you do. If doing a certain exercise feels off or you just need true rest, make that adjustment and take that time for yourself. Alternatively, if you’re feeling strong and awake, see what happens if you test the waters on a heavier hand or ankle weight without being told to do so by your instructor. You’ll be amazed at what your body can do and just how quickly it can change for the better, if you let it.
Digging deep into the barriers around your entry into or sustainability within fitness can help you understand them better - and help you work towards overcoming them. You’ll have to do a lot of this work by yourself, but remember that you are not alone. You can always seek out the right trainers, instructors, healthcare professionals, and work out buddies to help you along your fitness journey.
Cheers to a life full of endlessly enjoyable movement!