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Fitness Shouldn’t be Frightening: Getting Past What Scares You About Working Out

Nov 8, 2013

If you associate gyms with the likes of a haunted house, believe personal trainers are as scary as zombies and find running on the treadmill as fun as running away from a headless chainsaw operator chasing you through a dark corn maze, then working out may just be one of your biggest nightmares. But have no fear – easy and fun fitness tips are here to help you overcome the horror of working out this Halloween.

Clear Out the Cobwebs

Getting started with anything new, especially working out, can be difficult if you don’t know where to begin. There’s no better time than this Halloween to stir the skeletons in your closet and move yourself into a fitness-oriented routine. Dust off your sneakers, shake the cobwebs off your workout clothes, grab a partner in crime and get started today with achieving your fitness goals.

“We work with a lot of Baby Boomers who are intimidated by the gym because they don’t know what to expect. They don’t want people to watch them work out and they are worried about not being able to work the machines,” says Gwen Beckcom, personal trainer and studio owner at Fitness Together Mission Hills. “Once you go and get a routine going, it gets easier. You get stronger, you get more confident and it trickles down to all of the other areas of your life.”

Banish the Evil Spirits

The evil spirits of self-doubt, negative self-talk and bad attitudes can easily stand in your way of starting a fitness routine if you feed into their haunted nature. Beckcom has had clients who were hesitant about working out because they feared not being able to do one pushup or they were afraid they would have to give up everything they loved to live a healthy lifestyle.

Contrary to these common misbeliefs, living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t necessary mean going without. Instead of giving up what you love, you only need to adapt your favorite foods, hobbies, etc. into healthier choices. And, it’s important to remember that the reason you’re starting a fitness program in the first place is to learn how to do pushups, core work, strength movements and cardio exercises. That’s what makes trying something new so fun – it’s an adventure of learning new movement and eating strategies that will help you make healthier, stronger and happier lifestyle choices.

“People think they’ll have to skip meals to lose weight and they’re afraid they’ll be hungry all of the time,” Beckcom says. “If you’re feeling deprived, then you’re going to overdo it. Instead of eating three large meals, eat five smaller meals and drink enough water. You also need to make sure to have enough protein in your meals to help you feel fuller longer. When you live a healthy and fit lifestyle, it keeps you from overfilling your plate during meals and at holidays.”

Stare Intimidation in the Face

Setting goals can be intimidating, especially if your goal seems out of reach and unattainable. Instead of giving up before you even start, break down your goal into smaller, actionable and achievable mini-goals that will support your ultimate aspirations.

Instead of signing up for a race before you’ve ever run a mile and then go pale as a ghost the first time you step on a treadmill, start off easy by incorporating 10 minutes of walking or running into your daily routine. Eventually work your way up to walking or running the time or distance you want to achieve and enjoy the journey in the process.

“If you start with small steps and develop healthy habits along the way, you will be happier and enjoy a healthier lifestyle,” Beckcom explains. “When it becomes a lifestyle, it’s easier to do."

It also can help to align your fitness goals to something in your life that has meaning – lose 50 pounds before setting sail on a family cruise, elevate your fitness level to participate in a sport or activity you used to do when you were younger, or incorporate daily activity into your life with your family so you can play catch with your kids without getting winded. Just make sure to celebrate all of the small successes along the way to keep you motivated and dedicated to succeeding.

Trick or Treat?

You might think you can trick yourself into not eating your favorite holiday treat. But typically the more you deny yourself the greater chance you are setting yourself up to failure.

Don’t be afraid to enjoy the holiday today, but make sure it only lasts for one day and doesn’t trickle over into the next two or three months. Beckcom tells her clients to have one piece of their favorite candy out of the Halloween sack, then give away or throw away the rest. There is no need to keep the entire candy bag around the house haunting you after Halloween is over.

“When you exercise and practice healthy eating habits, it gives you the freedom to enjoy the foods you love,” Beckcom says. “You just have to focus on moderation, portion control and being active.”

Take the fear out of fitness and the horror from working out by taking the first step this Halloween season toward living an active and fit lifestyle. It’s not as scary as you think if you just take one step at a time, continue to look forward and don't let your fears haunt you.


Schedule a complimentary fit evaluation so we can get to know you and your goals and build you a customized training program to reach them.