A friend, and member, asked me a question last week about how to overcome his fear associated with resuming his barbell training. There are risks associated with all sports, and fear doesn't just come from injury. My hope is that this discussion can serve as a launch point for any person who is struggling to restart their fitness .
the fear of injury
Again, there is always a risk of injury for any activity. It doesn't matter if you are driving, walking, competing in powerlifting, or running an ultra marathon. The key is your approach to training. If you train smart, then you can minimize the inherent risks. Just because you lift, or run, doesn't mean you are destined to get hurt. Find a coach who is qualified to help you.
the fear of failure
Another risk associated with training is that you will not improve. What if you spend the next year, or more, training for something specific, and you still aren't winning in local competitions? What if you never qualify as a national level athlete? Let me ask you something. Did you start training for your sport because you thought you'd become a professional athlete? Probably not. So what's the worst that could happen? You live a healthy lifestyle while training for a sport, but you have to maintain a normal job to afford your life? That kind of sounds like everyone's reality.
It isn't fair for you to set unrealistic goals for yourself, only to set yourself up for failure that shouldn't have existed in the first place. I think that the larger issue is when we lose sight of why we started training. You probably did so because you liked it. You didn't like other forms of training, but you could get on board with this particular activity. You liked the way it made you feel. Maybe the way it made you look. You made friends, created experiences, and did things you never thought you would do. Manage your expectations, and don't lose sight of why you started in the first place.
the fear of commitment
Why does everything need to be all or nothing? I can't being to tell you how many people I meet who think that they need to dedicate their lives to each and every activity that they partake in. It is totally possible to find balance in your hobbies. If you're looking to be a professional athlete, then that may be less true. However, that most likely doesn't describe you. See above, "managing expectations." In many cases it is more healthy to maintain a variety of types of physical activity. Search for balance. Don't just do what you want. It's probably not enough of what you need.
This post serves as only a surface level overview of the fears associated with training. I'm not pretending to have all of the answers. If anything, I think that I'm trying to say that its ok not to. That its ok to just do something because it makes you happy, and helps you to feel good. That your experiences are all part of the journey. Every activity has some risk. Risk of injury, failure, or unrequited commitment. But the risks are actually quite low when we manage our expectations, diversify our training, and seek help from qualified outside sources.
John Giacalone is owner and head coach of LVB. He is also co-owner of Mobility-Doc where he routinely rehabilitates injured athletes.