Fear factor

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Have you ever watched a baby move through its brand new world? If you want to see fearless there it is.

Before a child can walk it will take what an adult would call a "dangerous" risk. As that child grows and its balance improves it can stand climb walk and eventually run, it almost on its own evolves into the perfect athlete. This doesn't happen to just some children it is true of all children. Even children who are born without one or all of their limbs find a way. I've watched children from infant to toddler at play and marveled at their fluidity of movement and how uninhibited they are by fear.

So what becomes of this athlete perfect in balance flexibility strength and courage? The best of intentions of our parents to keep us safe are our first experience with fear and unfortunately over our lifetime fear becomes embedded in us and stays with us and grows like plaque on the walls of a hardening artery. As athletes we learn to conquer some of that fear through training and competition and people in every day life do the same by focusing on goals and seeing them through. The problem for the "everyman" is that they often sacrifice their athleticism that most natural state of being in leu of money or material possession.

As a fitness trainer and coach this is something that I encounter everyday. When a client starts a training program the have a goal weather it loosing ten pounds or running the next New York city marathon. Often the first question i'm asked is "How long will it take" and my standard answer is" that is entirely up to you". What I mean by this is that the success or failure of the program is dependent on what that person is willing to go through. 

Personal Training can be for some an intensely revealing experience, it can make one feel vulnerable and bring up many insecurities. For some the drill sergeant method of training seems to work . They may see results and believe that for them this is the best way. But what happens in that situation is that you are not held accountable for your performance, you are going through a series of movements that you may or may not be executing correctly and being admonished by someone who more times than not couldn't do what they are asking you to do. You can get away with telling yourself that you are a hardcore athlete. If you think about it its like an child or adolescent being scolded if they misbehave or rewarded when they do well in the eyes of a parent. Given the history of parents and kids i'd say this could open up a big can of worms.

A good Personal Fitness Trainer should also be a good Coach. As such my goal is always to teach my student how to realize their true Athletic potential. It can be an Intense process but one that yields dividends in their lives outside of the gym or off of the playing field. If you embrace the process and are honest with yourself you soon notice that you can apply the same focused intensity with which you train to your entire life.

This may to some sound daunting and you're right it is, but think about that baby exploring its brand new world for the first time he's free of fear and everything holds a magical wonder. Shouldn't we all try and shed our fear so that we too can feel that sense of freedom and wonder? Its time to wake up the Athlete in you.

Paul Virtue

Follow me@virtuefitness


About the author


Paul Virtue is a life-long athlete who understands the challenge, the pain and the dream. As a personal trainer, he is able to give his clients the benefit of his experience. He turns a deaf ear to excuses and facilitates remarkable transformations. Paul believes in the power of the individual…

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