Go from gym phobic to phile
It was hard enough to get here. But as soon as I walked through the door, I wanted to turn and run away.
I feel like an idiot.
My pants don’t fit me right. They’re too tight. They show every bump, and I swear they have created new lumps that didn’t even exist before. Apparently I didn’t get the memo that the gym is a runway show. Is that girl wearing earrings? And lipstick? I knew I shouldn’t have come here. Hopefully I can just sneak in and no one will notice me.
Nope. They’re definitely looking. Everyone’s staring at me, or at least that’s what it feels like. They know I don’t belong. I know I don’t. This is worse than just carrying around those extra pounds for the rest of my life, I swear.
Deep breath. Rally. I’m here. Just do something.
I recognize some of the machines, but not all. I don’t know how much weight to use. I could just run on the treadmill. HGTV is playing on the TV. That’s a good place to start, right? Watch TV and warm-up on the treadmill — wait. I’m going to jiggle. Everyone’s going to hear me breathing. Forget it. I can watch HGTV at home and save the humiliation. The only running I’m doing today is out of this stupid place.
The fears may feel deeply personal. But the story is not just unique, it’s common.
Whether you are new to working out, trying to get back into the rhythm after time off or trying to finally up your game, the negative tape that plays in many people’s heads sounds pretty much the same.
“In the 20 years I’ve been actively participating in fitness, I’ve heard a lot of the same fears and vulnerabilities over and over again,” says Colorado-based personal trainer Joe Roseberry. “Whether it’s coming from a woman or a man, they’re usually very similar.”
Many fear how they look. Some, that they’re too big. For others, it’s that they’re too small. For men, it’s often small muscles. For women, it’s being overweight.
Many people don’t know what to do. They feel incompetent.
They worry they’ll look novice because they don’t know how to use the equipment. Others feel alone, unsupported and outcasted.
“There are recurring themes when people express the fear of working out,” Roseberry says. “And the standard gym is not set up to cater to any of that.”
The problem with gyms
The very design of a typical gym not only doesn’t address the fears and psychological barriers of its clients, but it may actually feed the fire.
Gyms are compartmentalized to intimidate people from the very equipment that will provide them the greatest gains, Roseberry says.
That’s the free weights.
“That’s the intimidating area,” Roseberry says. “It’s also the area where you’ll make the most improvements — which is why you find the most physically fit people in that area.”
This equipment is most effective because it turns you into the machine, one that perfectly fits your individual stature, while challenging balance, stabilization and promoting better muscular symmetry, he says.
But it’s a catch-22 that ends up segregating the gym, he says. It comes with no instructions, no guidance, no pictures of how to use the equipment. It’s extremely difficult to garner the knowledge — and courage — to master these kinds of exercises on your own.
“To walk in there is super intimidating, because that’s where the super fit people are, and you feel that pressure,” Roseberry says.
People feel like they don’t belong and are incompetent.
So what ends up happening is the very people who need the free weights the most avoid that part of the gym, and they end up meandering through ill-fitting machines that don’t create big enough improvements to create the kind of motivating transformation that builds confidence — a crucial component to long-term fitness.
And then the lack of progress creates a death spiral that ends up with them leaving the gym, sometimes permanently. It substantiates those initial fears: that they don’t belong here.
But they do.
They’re just missing one small key that can change this entire cycle.
How to conquer your fears
So, many people are scared of internal judgment. The gym is intimidating and exercise is uncomfortable.
Rob Ryan isn’t denying those facts. But he knows how to deal with them. He has focused more than one year of research and development into this powerful self-saboteur.
Ryan, the founder of the Fitter Faster app, says the trick is to provide an experience that’s just enough better than that discomfort — so you leave thinking, “That wasn’t that bad.”
And the way to accomplish that? Ryan says this is a big part of the app’s “secret formula,” delivered through audio-based training.
Think of the negative messages in your head as a record playing over and over. Fitter Faster takes a screwdriver to that app and scratches it, he says.
“We hand you a new record, new self-talk,” he says. “And we walk you through the gym exactly how you need to be, both physically and in your mind.”
The app does what a top-notch personal trainer does for people, Ryan says.
A personal trainer knows how to use the equipment and exercises strategically to build you up, not just physically but also mentally, so you can meet your goals. A trainer stacks exercises on top of each other and then stacks workouts on top of each other, so you’re building both physically and mentally, Ryan says.
A personal trainer understands the sequential order of exercises to yield the quickest results without injury. And a trainer stands by your side as you walk through the gym, a positive voice to focus on, instead of being left alone with those nagging fears looping on the negative tape in your head.
Everyone deserves this kind of support in the gym, Ryan believes. Everyone.
But it’s not realistic to provide everyone with a great personal trainer. Some people can’t afford it. Others are intimidated by the idea. And quite honestly, a top-notch trainer isn’t that easy to come by.
That’s why Ryan has tapped into the wisdom of some of the world’s best personal trainers — and psychologists — and combined the best of their best into the unique Fitter Faster app.
It’s a personal trainer, right in your ear, he says.
“What’s important is that we envelop you, so that all of the fears go away,” Ryan says. “From a practical point of view, if you come to the gym with a tight agenda, that solves a lot of your problems, because you’re so busy, you don’t care about anything else.”
Fitter Faster provides highly personalized and curated audio programs, complete with how-to instructions, as well as scientifically proven mental strengthening tools. They’re subtle, though, so you won’t consciously realize what’s happening — until one day, those fears that had once held you back are suddenly powerless. Poof!
Fake it ’til you make it
Psychology and physiology are connected, Ryan says.
“And we help you fake it until you make it,” he says.
That’s not to be diminishing. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s recognizing the power that the brain plays in creating meaningful physical change.
Exactly how the app presents this information is its “secret sauce,” what makes it so revolutionary. And part of what makes it so enjoyably effective is not bogging your mind down with those very details, Ryan says. Fitter Faster has been in stealth mode for a year, developing the formula with a team of exercise psychology experts, expert PhDs, functional fitness gurus and trainers.
What he will share is that Fitter Faster pulls from a pool of the absolute best wisdom out there, and its algorithm knows exactly what to say (and what not to say) at just the right time. Fitter Faster dives deeper than any fitness app that has ever been developed, and in that, he says, it has been dubbed a “lifestyle app.” A life-changer.
The fears that hold people back are external: the fear of judgment.
But the answer is internal, Ryan says.
Outside fears, just like outside motivators (“I want to look hot”), are common starting points that provide a great spark, he says. But the key you being healthy and fit is longevity and consistency — and the way to conquer those fears all comes from within.
That little voice in your headphones becomes the new record playing in your head.
It’s more than just sharing information in an app, Ryan says. People already have access to too much info, and much of that is conflicting (that’s another part of what makes fitness so intimidating). You do not need more information. You need less.
Fitter Faster is the so-called “smart pill.” It’s the expertly portioned mixture in an easy-to-swallow shape.
“All that someone needs to say is, ‘I want to be fit. I’m going to turn this app on,’” Ryan says.
Then show up and press start.
“Just turn us on,” he says. “And go.”
And we will take good care of you.
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Originally published at fitterfaster.com