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What’s Keeping You From the Gym? 5 Things that Could Be Holding You Back

If SO many people want to get fit, why aren’t they all members of a gym? I believe there are 5 main things keeping people from the gym. Since some of these reasons could be a sensitive topic for some of you, I decided to mix in some fun cartoons to lift your spirits and help make receiving these tips a little more fun – because, in reality, we can ALL relate to at least one of these issues.

1. PRIDE: “I’m out of shape and embarrassed.”

Fat & EmbarrassedIf I had a quarter for everyone who has said “I just want to lose 10lbs before I join a gym”, I’d be RICH! I am not sure why people feel they need to get in shape BEFORE they join a gym, but that is such backward thinking. That’s like saying I’m going to try to get smart before I enroll in school. Really?

My grandmother once said, “a church is a school for sinners, not a place for saints”, and that concept also applies to the gym. The gym is not a place for the fit, it’s a place to GET fit – and STAY FIT. It’s the place you go to get fixed. Unfortunately, people’s perception of the gym is that it’s a place for bodybuilders and fit people. Do you think they were BORN fit? Of course not. They once started out just like you. If you think you are “too fat” to be seen in the gym, or too out of shape to take a class, that is EXACTLY where you need to be – and I promise you, they will welcome you with open arms!

2. LACK OF KNOWLEDGE: “I don’t know what to do.”

Go to a professionalOf course you don’t know what to do. Did you get a personal training certification? Did you study exercise science? I bet you have a different expertise – we all do. I tell you what, if you are in the auto repair business, I promise to come to you to get my car fixed, if you promise to come to me (or a fitness professional) to get your body fixed. Honestly, if you knew what to do in every specialty, you wouldn’t need your mechanic, accountant, doctor, lawyer, teacher, preacher, tailor, realtor, banker, builder, repair man…

The point is, it’s totally understandable that you may not know exactly what to do. That is what fitness professionals are for. The awesome part is, you won’t need them forever. A good trainer is like a good teacher – they’ll teach you everything you need to know to eventually “graduate”.

3. MONEY: “I can’t afford it.”


We all fuss when we have to spend money to have something fixed. Whether our body breaks down, or our car does, it’s no fun to spend money on maintenance. We sure like buying new things, but we hate fixing old stuff – including our old out of shape bodies. However, as valuable as your car is, don’t you think you are that much more valuable? Besides, leaving your body broken will actually cost more in the long run. The same way ignoring a simple issue, like a tire that’s out of balance, can cause a lot of big ticket damage (like uneven wear on your tires and damage to your suspension), ignoring your body now can cause a lot more damage down the road. If you really want to save money, you can’t afford NOT to invest in your body.

4. TIME: “I don’t have time to go to a gym.”

fitness cartoonThis is one of my favorite Randy Glasbergen cartoons of all time. We act like we actually have options when it comes to getting fit, but do we really? What are the alternatives? Poor health, feeling bad, muscle deterioration, weight gain, health issues, low energy, loss in strength and stamina, depression, and even death.

You will succeed when you esteem your body as high as your most prized posession. You make time to work so you can get paid. You make time for TV, or other simple pleasure, so you can relax. You make time to eat because you don’t like being hungry. So, you need to make time for fitness if you don’t like feeling unhealthy. It’s not about if you HAVE time, it’s about whether you decide to MAKE time. Your health should be a priority – because, without it you have nothing.

5. AVOIDANCE: “I prefer working out at home alone.”

funny treadmill cartoonFirst, I must say, there are some people who do very well working out alone. However, in my experience, most people do not. Even if someone genuinely prefers to workout alone, they may not be successful at doing so.

The real question is, why do you prefer working out alone? Many times it’s the result of one of the above excuses I’ve already addressed. Some people just like running, or an outdoor activity. Sometimes it’s purely out of convenience. Your fitness success isn’t just about you doing what you prefer, or what’s convenient, it’s about what you need to get results you want. This means what you WANT and what you NEED may be 2 different things. I like to lift weights, but my body needs cardio and stretching. If I only did what I wanted, I’d be fatter, bulkier, have poor stamina and have very tight muscles. Ha! 🙂

In addition, most people do better with a support system. Whether that support system is a gym, a workout buddy, a running group or a weight loss support group, most people need a certain level of accountability. If you are working out in private, there is a chance you are doing so because it’s a little easier to fail in private.

If you really want to get to the heart of this question, you have to honestly ask yourself more questions like, “Do I like working out alone because it’s less intimidating?” “Do I like working out at home because it’s more affordable?” “Do I prefer working out alone because no one will notice how out of shape I am?” “Am I avoiding the gym because I had a bad experience before?” The list of possible reasons is endless.

While having a home gym is great, and it can work for some people, there is a reason a gym setting is valuable. More equipment, more personal attention, more guidance, more options, more people to see you (for accountability), more support, more motivation, and fewer distractions (like the phone ringing, dryer going off, baby crying, etc). Again, this doesn’t mean working out at home alone is a bad thing, but it may not be right for you. To find out if it’s what you need, you have to be completely honest with yourself. Do you really think you’ll reach your goal at home alone? If you aren’t 100% sure, then you may need to get out of your comfort zone and do what you need to do to reach your goals this year.


Scared Fat? Don’t let fear stand in the way!

How many things have you NOT done because you let fear or doubt take over your thoughts and actions? I can’t tell you how many people I have run into at the gym that let their insecurities lead their path. They never even have a chance at success because they don’t even give many things a try.

We have people that really need to attend an aerobics class that just don’t take it because they are scared of failing, sticking it out, not keeping up, going the wrong way, or doing the wrong thing. There are others who never go on the weight floor because they don’t like lifting their 5lb dumbbell next to beefy guys lifting 50lb dumbbells just one bench over. Then there are others who never even step foot in a gym because just walking in the door is scarier than a Halloween movie (Jason .

We ALL have our own ‘FIRSTS’
IF ONLY people would realize EVERYONE has those same fears. Everyone walks in a gym for the FIRST time, everyone has to take that FIRST class, and everyone tries an exercise for the FIRST time. Sure ‘FIRSTS’ are ALWAYS scary, but if you want to succeed you have to take that FIRST step – and the FIRST step is always the SCARIEST STEP.

Ironically, everyone around you is likely so worried about what they look like, they are too busy to even notice you or notice how much weight you are (or are not) lifting or how hard (or not so hard) you are working out. The gym is the ONE place you should be the MOST comfortable – it’s a place where EVERYONE is working to improve and every single person in that gym has that one thing in common.

Unfortunately, many people think they have to lose 10lbs before they can join a gym or they have to practice a certain class at home before they go “public” – but that is their pride talking. Some of you will buy every As Seen On TV fitness gadget and video so you can secretly workout at home when you can have much better instruction and much more fun at a gym but you let fear keep you hiding out in your living room using fitness junk and crappy fitness DVDs. Believe me, I understand the need to hide. I only want to do stuff I’m great at – which is pretty limiting considering I am not great at many things. There is a reason we call it an aerobics or yoga CLASS – it’s not an aerobics PERFORMANCE. Geeesh!!

It’s time we get over ourselves!!
Get over our pride, fear, insecurities and doubts. We need to start doing what we NEED to do and no longer only do what we feel comfortable doing. Whether it’s time to finally invest in the home gym of your dreams or join a gym – it’s time you take the plunge!!

What is the WORST that could happen? We try a diet and it doesn’t work for us – so what?! So we learned that diet doesn’t work so we can try another. So what if we workout everyday and don’t lose as much weight as we hoped – we are getting healthier. Really, there is nothing to lose when we just TRY, but we have EVERYTHING to gain! We gain experience and we make improvements – not matter how big or small.

What have you been avoiding?
Have you been wanting to take a yoga class but your fear has kept you away? Maybe you know you need a boot camp program to whip your body into shape but you are terrified it will be too hard (believe me – everyone is just as terrified as you that first day but the people who do it, get major results and NEVER regret it). Have you wanted to run a 5K or maybe even do a marathon but are scared of the unknown? You’re not alone. If you do any of these things you will be joining millions of others who are just like you, but they are doing it despite their fears.

Step outside of your comfort zone and take the first real step to success today.


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