Gyms and Fitness Clubs

What Are You Worth?


People who are intimidated by exercise, whether it's in a health club setting or anywhere, often are those who have low self-esteem. In many cases this comes from being overweight or in poor physical condition.

Nathaniel Brandon, a psychiatrist who studies self-esteem, says, "The nature of self-evaluation has a profound effect on a person's values, beliefs, thinking processes, feelings, needs, and goals." He goes on to say, "Self-esteem is the most significant key to a person's behavior."

Likewise, Brian Tracy, leading authority on personal and business success and bestselling author of 17 books, says, "Self-esteem precedes and predicts your performance in almost everything you do."

This concept can have a significant effect on whether or not you exercise. Many people who contemplate an exercise program face self-esteem issues. For some this becomes such a factor that it creates a barrier to exercise. Poet T.S. Eliot says, "Poor self-worth creates an invisible ceiling that can stop a person from attempting to rise above self-imposed limitations."

You cannot let your self-esteem stop you from starting an exercise program. Your thoughts control what you do, so if you constantly feed yourself with negative thinking about how you look, you will have real problems getting started.

In his best-selling book, The Ultimate Weight Solution, Dr. Phil McGraw (better known as Dr. Phil) talks about how many people will label themselves. He says, "Labels are self-descriptions in your internal dialogue that reflect certain conclusions you've reached about yourself."

The way you label yourself may come from past failures, the way people treated you, or cruel jokes that were aimed at you. When Dr. Phil writes about labeling he is referring to the labeling that goes on because of being overweight.

People in society who are overweight often get labeled. They hear things like: overweight people are lazy, have no willpower, and are unattractive. Is it right for people to do this? No, but it happens every day. And it will continue to happen.

Dr. Phil goes on to say, "Once you accept such a label as valid, you annihilate your self-confidence, your self-determination, and your longing for a healthier, more ideal weight."

You can't allow yourself to feel like this. It stifles any opportunity to get involved with exercise. So maybe you're overweight or out of shape. You'll always be like that unless you eliminate these feelings and get started. And that's just it, you have to start! The act of getting started will help replace these feelings with positive ones. The positive feelings come from the experiences you have with your own physical and mental changes and with the interaction of other people feeling the same thing.

It's amazing the number of people I speak with on a weekly basis who fear joining a health club for the reasons just cited. Their tone of voice, words, actions, and body gestures give it away. Whether you are working out in a health club or jogging down the street, you should be proud of what you are doing.

Rather than having feelings of intimidation and feeling like you're out of place, think of yourself as an inspiration to those who haven't taken the steps to start exercising. People who can't get themselves to exercise see you as an inspiration, someone to look up to. You may be the person who inspires them to begin an exercise program. Be proud of that. And for those people who are already participating in an exercise program, they look at you and think, "Welcome aboard! Good for you."

When you are finally able to conquer intimidation as a barrier to exercise you will wonder why it was an issue to begin with. You'll begin to see how exercise will improve your life physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The newfound self-confidence that comes from greater self-esteem will equip you to handle the stress and daily challenges you face and become a stronger, more successful person.

The small step you take to overcome this barrier to exercise will have a lasting impact on your life. You will become a better, more positive person who can change other people's lives as well. You owe it to yourself to feel this way. Something as simple as exercise can be the catalyst to making this a reality.