For Men Too

Articles Pertinent to Men

Did You Hate Gym Class?

June 19, 2017

I had a conversation with Maggie Zaitlin, director and founder of the Canadian Fitness Education Services (CFES), which is a quality certifying body for fitness professionals. She was convinced that most adults have issues because of past bad experiences with a gym class or teacher.


I can second that. It is ironic that my full-time profession now is fitness, but I hated gym class myself. I wasn’t a sporty-type person and I was afraid of the ball. Furthermore, I lacked the self-confidence to do anything with a basketball if a team-mate passed it to me. I suffered chronic self-consciousness from my lack of athletic performance. I failed grade five phys. ed. because I hated volleyball and that’s all we ever did.

You could probably relate to my bad phys. ed. experiences. Do you associate exercise with


endless laps around the schoolyard?

being picked last for a team?

suffering from sweat and burning sensations in your side?


Maybe you, like many adults, have a horror story to tell. Nevertheless, this subconscious guck may prevent you from sticking to a consistent exercise program.

So, let’s dispel some myths and talk about realities:


1. Exercise is painful. Yes, you’ve got to get into your aerobic zone and you need adequate resistance for weight workouts, but it doesn’t always have to feel like death.

Reality: In fact, as a holistic practitioner, I’m not a firm believer in near-to-death experiences when it comes to exercise. It’s very depleting to your body and can throw off your hormonal balance. You’re best finding a moderate starting point and gradually increasing your time, weight, or distance.


2. If you hate phys. ed, you probably hate exercise. This is true for many. It’s easy to have nightmares (“Oh no, it’s the beep test tomorrow” ). I personally would sweat before the actual class because I always dreaded doing something I hated.

Reality: There’s more to life than 100 crunches, push-ups, and even team sports. If you conduct a google search in your area, you’ll find a variety of exercise classes and programs—everything from circuit training to pole walking. Maybe you’re better off with individual activities like brisk walking or weight-lifting in your basement. They key is finding something you enjoy and being consistent with it.


3. If you weren’t athletic before, you’ll never be athletic. If you fumbled the ball, tripped over yourself, or scored poorly on physical activity assessments, you’re doomed to failure—or are you?

Reality: Biking, running, or lifting weights are acquired skills. They improve over time. Get going, use proper load and technique, and you too will see improvement.


4. Exercise is too competitive. In phys. ed., it was all about scores, awards, and winning games. You just weren’t that in it to begin with.

Reality: Attend any exercise class and nobody really cares about what you’re doing because people are too concerned with themselves. Also, you may find the gym atmosphere intimidating, so once again, look for a less self-conscious-inducing environment and join a community center or exercise on your own.


5. Your gym teacher was fat, ugly, and mean. (Laugh) Maybe this was entirely true, so I’m not doubting you.

Reality: Your current exercise routine has nothing to do with your gym teacher. Stop letting him or her influence what you will or won’t do with your body.


My takeaway conclusion -- Don’t let your past dictate your future. You know exercise is good for you. Just exercise!