SHAPING UP: Helping you overcome the fears of starting a new fitness programme

For some, the idea of doing something new with a bunch of strangers can be nerve wracking.

If you then combine that with the self-consciousness that many people feel about their bodies at this time of year, it’s understandable that starting a new fitness regime can be very daunting!

The fear that builds up when people think about starting a new fitness programme holds most people back from actually getting started. So, let’s look at the three main reasons people fear exercise and how you can overcome them:


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The intense worry and negative thinking you experience before you start something new is often down to a fear of failure. Nobody likes the feeling of failure, letting themselves or others down. If you’ve failed with a diet or fitness goal in the past you’ll probably remind yourself of all of the negative, horrible feelings you felt last time and it puts you off starting it again.

The way to get around this is to flip your mindset. If you don’t succeed at something the first time don’t think of it as a failure. Instead, think of it as a learning experience that you can use to your advantage and improve the next time.

Last time you didn’t succeed with your fitness goals why didn’t you succeed? Did you not stick to the diet? Did you not train enough? Did you not put enough effort in? Were you not consistent enough?

Whatever the reason, don’t see it as a failure. Learn from the mistakes, make improvements and make sure you nail it next time


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Will people in the group like me? Will I fit in? What will they think if I can’t keep up? What will they think of my technique? What will everyone think when I’m all sweaty? What will the instructor think if I don’t know how to use the equipment?

All of those negative thoughts make you feel insecure and then your mind will play out the worst-case scenario.

But, in reality, the worst-case scenario almost never happens.

Most people in the gym, in a class, or at a boot camp are very friendly because they have been in your shoes and know how new starters feel. And, once the workout gets started they’ll be too busy focusing on their own workout to pass judgement on your technique, or how slow/fast you’re going.

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When you start a new programme go along 5-10 minutes early, speak to the trainer or have a conversation with other members. Tell them that you’re nervous, tell them that you’re a bit scared. Most people will resonate with you, make you feel welcome and put your mind at ease. Especially here at East Coast Fitness where we have the most amazing, supportive members!


Everyone wants to be healthier and fitter, but nobody really wants the aches and soreness that comes along with it.

The unbearable aches normally occur because you throw yourself 100%, all guns blazing, into a new programme. Your muscles aren’t used to the massive change in intensity and as a result they ache like mad the next day.

But, if you start off slowly and ease yourself into the new programme you’ll be able to limit the aches. You can’t really avoid muscle soreness completely but when you do get DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) you can do a few things to speed up your recovery…

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Refuel with good sources of protein as soon as possible after your workouts and stay hydrated. More gentle exercise and stretching will also help in the days following your workout.

Those are the three main reasons people fear exercise.

Most of our new members at East Coast Fitness experience those exact feelings before they start. But, as soon as they arrive they’re made to feel welcome by our instructors and other members and their mind is put at ease.

Remember… that worst-case scenario you create in your head very rarely plays out! Start by blocking out the negative thoughts and think off all the positive things that can come out of it instead.

Once you’ve made the first step you’ll realise that you were worrying for nothing, you’ll have fun and you’ll leave the gym/class feeling really positive and very proud of yourself.

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