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Face your personal fitness fears and reach your goals

Oct. 25, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

While fear is a mainstay during the Halloween holiday, it's often disguised as an excuse when it comes to avoiding fitness. Here, the experts at Life Fitness break down common fitness fears and ways facing these fears can help you reach your fitness goals.

FEAR 1: Public gyms. Whether your fear is germs or not being the fittest person at the gym, you can put both of these to rest. People are focused on themselves at the gym, and likely not paying attention to your workout. Don't view the gym as a competition -- everyone is there for their own individual goals, probably similar to yours.

If a fear of germs is keeping you out of the gym, realize that most gyms now make it easy for exercisers to sanitize machines after use. Washing your hands or using antibacterial wipes after a workout is a good idea to remove any germs left behind.

FEAR 2: Injury. When trying out new workouts or exercises, start small and get instruction on proper form from a qualified trainer. The more you understand about the exercise or the machine, the better your comfort level will be and the less likely you are to suffer an injury.

FEAR 3: Failure. It's unfortunate, but many exercisers are embarrassed by any type of fitness failure. As with all other areas of life, failure is an opportunity to learn. Rather than setting goals that you aren't likely to meet, set small, attainable goals and take baby steps. Remember, constant perfection doesn't leave much opportunity for growth.

FEAR 4: Sweat. Sweat is your body's natural way of cooling its core temperature. If sweating too much is one of your concerns, buy workout clothing that fights moisture and keeps you comfortable. Look for wicking fabrics that absorb sweat, and avoid cotton as it can cause chaffing when moist.

FEAR 5: Pain. There is a difference between muscle pain and muscle fatigue. For first-time exercisers or individuals returning to exercise, pushing too fast or too hard can potentially hurt; if you are experiencing side-stitches or shin splints, it may be time to slow down. Feeling pain means that you should take a break from intense exercises, while feeling fatigue means you are working really hard and almost at your limit. Work to learn the difference and don't be afraid to test your boundaries.