5 Fears That Are Stopping You From Exercising

On Fear

This is for those people afraid to seek higher levels of fitness, performance, and health.

Let me tell you what Spartan Fitness isn’t

This isn’t a dungeon, a fight club, or a gladiatorial death circle. It’s not a trip to a combat zone, it isn’t filled with blood, violence, hate, or pain.

gladiator

Spartan Fitness is a gym that builds bodies rather than breaks them down. We are a welcoming community of members who are interested in not only improving our fitness levels, but our overall health. It isn’t easy and I’m upfront about that. It is a challenge to training regularly, being accountable, sweating, reaching full exhaustion, breaking personal records, making dietary sacrifices in the face of social settings and peer pressure. This is a full time commitment.

This isn’t torture. It’s not surgery. It’s not death or eternal damnation. Nor is it the risk of some unfathomable event.

We are talking about exercise. It is illogical to fear it. This is long term health; preventative medicine, it makes absolutely no sense to be scared of it.

If you aren’t going into your workouts with some anxiety, it is probably not challenging enough. But do not perpetuate that angst into debilitating fear. For that will be sabotaging the self.

I would be afraid if I were stepping foot into a grinding gym. A gym who’s goal is to break you down. Who’s workouts are not designed in-house by the coach that knows you, but by some twisted distant person you’ve never met with a taste for pain (or at least putting others in pain). Yea, I would be afraid of a gym who’s methodology has been shown to be rather injurious. Filled with frequent and true tales of broken necks, kidney failure, torn rotator cuffs, and herniated discs. If it were me and I was training in a gym like that, yea, I’d be afraid. I’d be scared that the dehumanizing process cares more for the “elite” level WOD’s at the expense of my health.

The good news is that we are not that gym. With over 10 years experience building bodies, it would be unethical for me to revert to negligible practices. The difficulty in our programming doesn’t come from ignorantly programming the hardest exercises with large loads, high reps, timed, and posted. We challenge our Spartans through less risky methods. Commitment, accountability, training routines designed for both improving fitness levels and long term health and durability. Sure, the workouts are hard. In fact, sometimes they can be very hard. But, they aren’t stupid. They are designed to be challenging, low risk, and supportive of fitness and health. What’s there to be afraid of?

fear

Your fear is misplaced. You are afraid of the wrong things. Being afraid of the commitment to health, to improved fitness, to accountability, to exercise that challenges you, makes no sense. Fear is both good and bad. Fear like many things is best in moderation. Lets get over ourselves. No Fear? Bullshit. You need fear. You need well placed, logical fear. What is logical fear? Fear is an adaptive quality handed down from centuries of evolution. The ones who showed fear in the right places survived to carry on the species. No fear in a sense is both ignorant and nihilistic. Fear can either be debilitating or a motivation to act. When you apply your fear to prevent you from acquiring better fitness and health, your fear wins. Your choice is to not improve yourself as you are scared not of the result but the process, the work. You are afraid to challenge yourself.

We live in a culture of fear. But we are afraid of the wrong things. Where we place our fears is irrational, but if we placed our fears in the right places, we could use it to drive us forward. We have people afraid of ISIS, of Gluten, and of Muslims among many other things. But where on the list of leading causes of death in the United States do these fall?

The top 10 Leading Causes of Death in the US are [1]

  1. Heart Disease (preventable with diet and exercise) [2]
  2. Cancer (influenced by diet and exercise) [3]
  3. Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease (exercise plays a role in management of the disease)[4]
  4. Accidents
  5. Stroke (preventable with diet and exercise) [5]
  6. Alzheimer’s Disease (influenced by diet and exercise) [6]
  7. Diabetes (preventable with diet and exercise) [7]
  8. Influenza and Pneumonia (improvements in health lower risk) [8] [9]
  9. Kidney Disease (influenced by diet and exercise)[10]
  10. Suicide (influenced by exercise) [11]

So of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States, 8 out of 10 can be prevented or reduced with proper diet and/or exercise. If getting sick and dying is a fear of yours then your fear should not be placed in the methods at which prevent disease. If you were truly afraid of the top 10 leading causes of death than exercise and proper nutritional intake would be a priority. The excuse of money or time is irrational when we spend our money and time on the goods and services that won’t prevent the top 10 causes of death. So some well placed fear is a good thing in motivating us to be responsible about our long-term health. But as we see, misplaced fear is irrational. Here are the top 10 fears in America-

Top10Fears-740x572

Now we see the issue. It is interesting to note that Americans are more afraid of corruption of government, cyber-terrorism, tracking of personal information, terrorism, bio-warfare, identity theft, economic collapse, running out of money, and credit fraud over bodily health. In relation to the top ten leading causes of death, the top 10 actual fears of Americans are foolish. None of which are preventable with proper diet or exercise. All of which are outside of our immediate control. Americans are afraid of the wrong things, afraid of things they can’t control. Yet, the actual leading causes of disease and death, which can be controlled, we are not afraid of. Why is this?

I’ll leave you to think about that on your own and perhaps a future article.

If you find yourself saying that you are ‘afraid to workout’, ask yourself why. Understand the absurdity in that statement. Let the fear of your probable cause of death drive you to better yourself, rather than ignoring it for irrational fears of events that will likely never take place. And if it is death itself you fear…well, you just need some Alan Watts-

 

References

1. Nichols, H. The Top 10 Leading Causes of Death in the US. Sept 2015. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282929.php

2. WebMD. How to Exercise to Help Prevent Heart Disease. http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-disease-prevention-exercise

3. NIH. Physical Activity and Cancer. July 2009. http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/physical-activity-fact-sheet

4. NIH. How Can COPD Be Prevented? July 2013. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/copd/prevention

5. Harvard Medical School. 8 Things You Can Do to Prevent a Stroke. June 2013. http://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/8-things-you-can-do-to-prevent-a-stroke

6. JAMA. Physical Activity, Diet, and Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Aug 2009. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=184383

7. Cochrane. Exercise or Exercise and Diet for Preventing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. July 2008. http://www.cochrane.org/CD003054/ENDOC_exercise-or-exercise-and-diet-for-preventing-type-2-diabetes-mellitus

8. ALA. Preventing Pneumonia. http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/pneumonia/preventing-pneumonia.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

9. Davis, J. Prevent Flu: Healthy Habits Beat the Virus. http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/prevent-flu-healthy-habits-beat-the-virus

10.WebMD. Understanding Kidney Disease. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-kidney-disease-prevention

11. HPRC. Can Exercise Help Prevent Suicide? http://hprc-online.org/mind-body/mental-health-suicide-prevention/suicide-prevention/can-exercise-help-prevent-suicide