Face Your Fitness Fears

March 1st, 2018

Get ready to banish all your workout worries, with our easy solutions.

Fear: If I lift weights, I’ll bulk up.

Fear not: Testosterone plus weight lifting equals bulky muscles in men. The relatively low testosterone levels in women mean we aren’t destined to look like body builders. In fact, weight lifting can actually help women slim down because muscle cells are smaller than fat cells. And even if you’re happy with your figure and strength level, you can improve your endurance by focusing on lower weights and higher reps. Chances are you’ll be singing the praises of bench presses in no time.

Fear: My schedule is crazy, and I’m afraid I won’t find (or make) the time to keep exercising.

Fear not: Exercise doesn’t have to be all or nothing; even a few minutes a day can make a difference. During a 12-week study at Cornell University, participants either did five minutes of sit-ups and leg exercises a day or remained sedentary. At the end of the study, the exercisers made major gains in ab strength and flexibility and felt better about how they looked. So even if you can’t fit in a 30-minute session, taking the stairs or walking during lunch hours can help you reach your goals.

Fear: I don’t want to feel sore from a new exercise routine.

Fear not: Believe it or not, you don’t have to feel an after-work out burn for exercise to give you big benefits. Muscles quickly adapt to intensity and are less likely to ache after the first time. Even better, your workout doesn’t have to be heavy-duty to do you good. Just 30 minutes of light exercise a day can boost your muscles, brain and immune system.

Fear: I won’t be able to keep up with my in-shape classmates.

Fear not: Take it slow. Look for newbie classes or ones for people who like slower exercise (water workouts are a good option). It’s also a good idea to pull the instructor aside before class to share your concerns and ask her to prep you on what to expect.

Fear: I don’t want to join a gym for a whole year. I’m afraid I won’t like it and will end up wasting my money.

Fear not: Choosing a gym shouldn’t be a blind-date experience, so shop around before signing on the dotted line. Take a tour, ask for a preview day pass, get a member’s opinion. Some gyms will even let you pay as you go, without a long-term contract. Want help to keep yourself motivated? Join with a friend or a relative and use her as an accountability partner.

Fear: Too many mirrors!

Fear not: Take your workout outside. Not only will exercising outdoors ease your mind and help your body, but walking, biking, and running outside will have you using more muscles (thanks to uneven surfaces) and burning more calories (due to wind resistance). And if you absolutely can’t make it out of the gym or abandon your favourite body-sculpting class, pick a spot at the back of the room – away from the looking glass.

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