Learning to Exercise Independently Is the Secret to Lifelong Effective Exercise

Often, I find that most people simply don't exercise enough because they don't know how to exercise, or because they aren't confident that the way that they exercise will get them the results they want.


One way to resolve this issue is to hire a personal trainer or attend a group exercise class, but both have large disadvantages.


The Disadvantages of Hiring a Personal Trainer

  1. personal training is pricey; it isn't accessible for a lot of people. Therefore, for practical economical concerns, this is a barrier to exercise.

  2. working with a personal trainer requires that you open yourself up to something that is very personal to you - your body and your emotions. For this reason, it often takes a great leap of faith to make the decision to hire a personal trainer. This is an emotional barrier to exercise.

  3. often people have to drive to a gym to work with a personal trainer. This takes time, which is a physical distance barrier to exercise. Time efficiency is critical because we all have lives to live beyond exercising in a gym.

  4. personal trainers count on you to continue to need them so that they can continue to earn money. Therefore, it is against their economic interest to make you believe that you can exercise without them. This does not mean that all personal trainers are like this, just that this is the uncomfortable and underlying economic situation between personal trainers and clients.

The Disadvantages of Attending Exercise Classes

  1. everyone is at a different level of fitness, so if everyone follows the exercise class to the letter, they may find it to be too easy, or too hard for a variety of reasons. This is a skepticism barrier to exercise because we may find the program ineffective after having invested so much time and money into it. We may grow to feel that the experience wasn't worth it!

  2. often people have to commute to a studio or gym to take classes. This takes time, which is a physical distance barrier to exercise.

  3. we follow instructions instead of learning how to do the appropriate amounts, intensities, and types of exercise for our own bodies. For example, after years of exercise classes, a lot of people have difficulty planning their own routine. This is a mental load barrier to exercise.

  4. we are often pressured to follow what the instructor is telling us to do and to be in-sync with the music and what the rest of the group is doing. Due to this, we often lose our capacity to focus on our form and posture. We may lose opportunities to listen to and understand our bodies.

My Case for Exercise "Lessons" Which Remove Exercise Barriers

Somewhere in-between personal training and group sessions, I think there should be something called exercise lessons. I recently wrote a blog post about exercise availability and the various barriers that cause us to consistently not exercise. Exercise lessons are designed to remove exercise barriers.


Unlike personal training and group exercise classes, the primary goal of exercise lessons would be to teach people how to exercise on their own (to remove mental load barriers) whenever and wherever people are (to reduce physical distance and time barriers). The goal is to invest in a skillset, rather than to continue to pay others to guide us to exercise (to remove the economic barriers to exercise).


Other than teaching people the important principles of exercise, exercise lessons should also teach students how to manage exercise anxiety. Some people do not like the sensation of strain and effort that is required in order to exercise. Some people have exercise anxiety because they are sensitive about their body image. Exercise lessons should help people realize that they are not alone, and provide emotional and social support to bridge this anxiety gap.


Lastly, by teaching people how to exercise on their own, people would be able to be better informed about what each type of exercise has what kinds of benefits - in order for them to make informed decisions about how they are going to exercise.


Not only would exercise lessons remove several exercise barriers for most people, it would also be about the same price as group exercise classes - the difference being that it's a one-time investment that helps us to exercise for ourselves for the rest of our lives.

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