Conquer your fear of fitness

Living a healthier lifestyle is as much mental as it is physical.

I have spent a few weeks thinking about writing this article, but thinking wasn’t getting me anywhere.  I wouldn’t say that I was fearful of writing this week’s fitness column- I just didn’t know where to start.  That, combined with a very busy schedule, resulted in procrastination and inaction.  Sounds a bit like getting started with exercise, or moving past your current level of fitness.

My inspiration for this article comes from one particular boot camper, Kim.   Eight years ago, Kim decided to train for the Sun Run- and did it.  She was the fittest she had ever been.  A little over a year later, she was rear-ended in a car accident- and that changed everything.  After many years of physiotherapy, cortisone and Botox injections, many drug treatments, and three surgeries she thought she would never get fit again.  She was told by doctors to give up running.  A few years later she took steps forward to get help to get back into shape.  Fear overrode her desire to get fit, so she stepped back.

Earlier this year she purchased a franchise and started to have more confidence in herself.  With this new confidence, she decided to join the Get Fit Chilliwack Challenge in May.  She lost 12 pounds and 5 inches in six short weeks, and won the Top All-Round Athlete Award.  Listening to the voice inside that said to keep going, Kim started Boot Camps.

After so many years of being told, or telling herself that she ‘can’t’, Kim now focuses on what she can do.  She can run, she can do push-ups, she can lose weight, she is confident, she has energy and strength.

I wanted to share Kim’s story, as she is a great example of conquering fears to get something that you want.  As a fitness columnist, I obviously focus on fitness, but the principals of overcoming fear apply to all areas of life.  Change, or moving forward, whether it is in fitness, relationships or business, can be scary.  We have two voices in our heads- one that tells you to give into fears, worry and doubt.  The other voice tells you “you can do this”.  You get to choose which voice you’re going to listen to.

Here’s a quick exercise to permeate the ‘you can do this’ voice with strength, power and confidence.  I did this exercise last week to help me build confidence and conquer my own fears.

• Write down all your accomplishments and successes in your life.   Remembering all your successes will help build your confidence.

• Identify the obstacles you had to overcome to achieve each success.  You’ve done it before; you can do it again.

• Write down something that you want to achieve right now.  For example, maybe you want to lose weight but don’t know where to start.

• Write out one or two action steps to get you started toward your goals.  Keep the action steps small.  All you’re looking to do is to get started.

• Take action!  Inaction can result in stress, anxiety and more fear.   Once you start moving forward you’ll likely realize that you really didn’t have anything to fear after all.

My article is done!

Tanja Shaw is a kinesiologist and fitness coach.  She owns Ascend Fitness Coaching, home to Ascend Fitness Boot Camp, Stroller Boot Camp, and personal training programs. www.ascendfitnesscoaching.com.