One of the most common reasons why women won’t start or maintain a regular exercise routine is their own self-confidence. I often have women tell me, “I’m not very flexible so I won’t be able to do a yoga class with other people” or “I don’t want to try a class because I’m not very fit and I’ll hold everyone else up”. I’ve also had women tell me that they don’t go to the gym because they’d be embarrassed about strangers seeing them in their workout gear, red faced, only lasting 5 minutes on the treadmill.
And guess what… the truth of the matter is most people are so concerned with themselves they are not even noticing what anyone else is doing at the gym. And when it comes to classes (at least the ones I teach), everyone remembers being a beginner and they all love to help the newcomer out. It is actually really heart warming to watch.
So I thought I would try and help this self-confidence issue and give you 3 handy tips to help you banish the fears and start a regular exercise routine today!
Tip 1 – Wear your exercise gear
I’m not suggesting you should get into your leotards for the office… however many women don’t like exercise because they don’t like how they look or feel in their active wear. But in so many cases, these women just aren’t used to wearing it at all so the main issue is it’s unfamiliar. Once you start to wear it more often you will realise it is among the most comfortable, supportive and flattering clothing that you own! Plus, if you are wearing your sneakers you might just feel compelled to go for a walk! Wearing my active wear made me quit my job so I could wear it all the time – true story.
Action Step: Get into your exercise clothes when you get home from work or wear it at home on the weekends. And if you don’t have any, head over to Target – their stuff is great and inexpensive.
Tip 2 – Bribe a friend to exercise with you
I was not always into fitness. I can’t remember if I ever wore sneakers at any time throughout my 20’s. I was naturally thin and didn’t see the point of exercise. Plus I was a smoker so exercise wasn’t easy. But once I hit my 30’s, quit smoking and started to gain a few kgs I decided I needed to get my ass into gear. Whenever I had great success with a regular exercise regime, I always had a friend do it with me. My sister-in-law did the Michelle Bridges 12WBT with me, my bestie came to my first yoga class with me, my neighbour was my boxing partner and my workmates would come with me to the gym at lunch time. Every time I stopped going with a friend, my regular exercise would fade away.
Action Step: Ask a trusted friend to come to a class with you. What is the worst that can happen? You’ll completely mess things up? Well at least you can have a giggle about it together.
Tip 3 – Fake it till you make it
Yep. This is actually the best advice I’ve got. Even us professionals need to do this from time to time. The first time I ever taught a yoga class I thought I might be sick! But I’d done the training – I just had to put what I knew into practice. The same goes for you. You’ve probably done some exercise classes at some stage. You’ve seen stuff on YouTube and maybe even read Women’s Health Magazine. You know what you should do… now you just need to practice it until it becomes familiar.
Action Step: Go to a class that you’ve been to before. Or just make your exercise routine a walk in your neighbourhood. It doesn’t need to be hard or elaborate. Just do what feels familiar until your confidence builds and you are ready to take yourself to the next level. No one else will know how nervous you are (unless you tell them!)
If you would like to start building your confidence in the privacy of your own home, then put on your favourite workout gear and subscribe to my 3 part video series especially for women over 40. Your first video is a quick full body toning workout you can do in just under 8 minutes.