Castle Personal Training

Castle Personal Training is a Corstorphine, Edinburgh based company who specialise in weightloss/toning and Pre and Post Natal exercise.

Blog 08-03 Fear as an obstacle to exercise

Hi guys,

I have been very busy with my Comic Relief challenge, more about that in another post, but did want to share this one with you. Again, it was one that appeared on Yofit earlier this week.

Image Don’t worry, it’s not a presidential address.

I have been remarkably busy the last few weeks and this means I’m meeting more and more interesting people. From bodybuilders to power lifters and from younger ladies wanting to “tone up” to 78 year olds just wanting to “stay flexible”. 

One of the more interesting conversations I had this week was with a 56 year old woman, let’s call her Rosie, who wanted to get back into exercising after an issue with a “frozen shoulder”. I won’t go into a lot of detail about what a frozen shoulder is but it is a debilitating condition and no one really knows exactly what causes it. People who suffer from it are usually in tremendous pain and it can take a long time to recover from it.

In Rosie’s case it took 2 years of medical treatment. She is fine now but now needs to get back into an exercise routine to build up more strength and also wants to lose a few pounds as she has not done any exercise for 2 years and has been gaining a bit of weight.

The trouble is that Rosie is now afraid to exercise “in case the shoulder freezes up again”. Now there is no reason to expect the shoulder to freeze up again, the physio-therapist has cleared her for normal exercise providing she stretches properly, but the mental block is still there. In short; Rosie is scared.

This made me think of several other people I have spoken to over the past few weeks and I found it’s a very common problem. There are many reasons why people are not getting off the couch and back into exercise again. We’ve already gone over the excuses; I’m tired, I’m busy, I’m lazy etc.

Fear, however, is a very real obstacle for many people. Whether you’re scared of getting injured again, worried of being judged by others more fit than you or just feel self-conscious about your appearance, getting back into a gym or even just going out for a run can be a scary thing.

If you’re apprehensive about setting foot in a gym because you think that “It will be full of people in great shape who will all snigger at me behind my back” I can reassure you on both those fronts.

 90% of people in the gym are not in the best shape of their life. If you choose to go to a mid/higher range gym you will also find that they are not full of 20 year old body builders. Most people in the higher end gyms in Edinburgh are 35+, and quite a few are 50+. People in the gyms also don’t laugh at others who are not in great shape. It is quite a remarkable atmosphere in most decent gyms; everybody knows that you have to start out somewhere. I work with one 78 year old man who is obviously not in the best shape of his life and just comes in to keep his flexibility up, but the amount of respect he gets from all the power-lifters, who spend their entire day in the gym, just for showing up and doing his own thing 3 times a week is phenomenal. People admire dedication, especially people in the gym. If you show up and you train regularly you will get respect almost immediately.

If you are put off going for a run because you feel you’ll just look ridiculous in a track-suit and people on the street might look at you funny, I can reassure you on that front as well. People don’t laugh at others running past them, or others in the street exercising whilst they themselves are walking or driving somewhere. All they do is think “I should really do that as I’ve been putting it off for too long”.  If you feel self-conscious about your own physique or fitness level and just don’t want to start by going outside, and many do, start working out at home. There are many videos on which will help you with this. Get into a nice routine, get into a bit better shape and then pop out when you feel a bit more comfortable.

If, like Rosie, you’ve been injured in the past and are scared of getting injured again I can only say that you should make sure you work with a professional. Once a doctor or physio has said you can get back to exercising look into joining a good gym or invest in a good Personal Trainer for a while. As long as you work out with proper form and strengthen the previously injured area you will be better for the exercise. I have said this many times before but a good Personal Trainer is an educator as well as a coach and should be able to tell you exactly what to do in your circumstances so that you can build up strength in the right areas and prevent future injuries. Once you know what you’re doing and feel comfortable being back to exercising you can do your own thing.

JFK said; “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.  I am pretty sure he wasn’t talking about being scared of exercising though as I’m sure he would then have said “Don’t worry about it, it will be fine. Listen to Peter and just go for it”.



Take care,


Your friend



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