How do my beliefs become a barrier to improving my health and fitness?

Like a compass, your beliefs determine which direction you are headed. Beliefs help you assimilate new information and act as a guide when determining the choices you make. In terms of fitness, the beliefs you have developed, whether they are positive or negative, will create a either a clear path towards improving your fitness or will be a major obstacle. Improving one's health and fitness is a lifestyle choice. Lifestyle choices require a large commitment to bucking the status quo and incrementally establishing a new routine. Without the belief in the importance of these changes, the lifestyle changes you would seek will be nearly impossible to accomplish.

I have a theory that I preach on called beliefs vs habits, which one is more important?

Most people will continually want to change their routine, their diet or gym when the reality is most routines, nutritional strategies with sound logic all work.

Most breakdowns in the gym come from beliefs.  The real goal in fitness is a greater self worth of who you already are.  You should never feel that once you get in better shape that you will then start feeling better about yourself.  You should always start to realize how great you are now and feel better right now and if you can do that and understand your self-worth right now then the fitness really becomes much easier.

People will sabotage themselves and cause changes in their plan over emotions and how they think they are doing.  However if you start to change how you look at yourself and start to change how you look at fitness and the lifestyle of it you will not need to make as many adjustments or try as many new things because your beliefs about yourself and fitness have changed.

Most belief systems are founded on the principle of positivity and the worth of self.  Always remember that no matter what you believe you were created to succeed.  Failure is a man-made thing and when people live in a reality of failure it can tear their world apart.  You have it within you to succeed and you are worthy of what you are trying to accomplish and finally expect that you will reach what you want to reach.  

When you think in terms like that, then it just about any routine you do with sound principles works. 
Beliefs can be a barrier to anything if you allow them to. Beliefs usually come from our families as we are growing up. Some beliefs are forced upon us by our families and other beliefs as kids we are allowed to explore and figure out for ourselves. In either of these situations the information is usually fine when we are kids but it's important to remember that our thoughts and ideas should and can evolve over the years particularly as we age. The beliefs we had when we were kids may not be applicable as we are adults. They may not be applicable because we are adults and as adults we hopefully figure out what works better and what makes more sense for us. When we are kids those decisions are made for us and we sometimes forgot that those decisions may or may not be true for us as adults. It's always good to re-evaluate our beliefs from time to time to see what holds true. For example, centuries ago women were never allowed to exercise because there was a belief that it would harm their chances of having children and in those days that was the woman's job. As we know women who exercise generally have an easieir, healier pregnancy. 

Questions the past and figure out what your beliefs are now.  

Our beliefs play a major role in how we view the world including our health and fitness.  Limiting or sabotaging beliefs can stop us from accomplishing our goals of improving our health and fitness.  Since our beliefs our expressed in thoughts, it is important to learn to manage your thoughts so barriers can be eliminated.

Great question! In a word, yes!  One of the things I love about being a personal trainer is helping clients change their beliefs about their own abilities. It is very common for me to demonstrate a new exercise to a client, and see a look of doubt on her face. Some will even say, "I don't think I can do that."  Once she successfully performs the exercise, that doubt changes to pride and a new belief about herself. Awesome!

Of course, that is only one type of belief. Many types of beliefs can hold us back. For example, I used to believe that as a mom, I should be overweight, because it was selfish of me to spend time or money on my own fitness. My excess weight was a sign of my selfless love for my family. Do you think that belief held me back?  Well, it doesn't anymore. Now I am thoroughly convinced that taking care of myself is very valuable to my family. My husband says I am much more positive since I started exercising. I cook much healthier meals. My mood is more stable. I have strength and energy. And to top it off, I know I am setting a good example for my children, so in their minds they'll always consider exercise a way of life. 

Sometimes the new beliefs come after you take action. Go ahead and take steps to improve your health and fitness, and your mind may very well follow. Give it a try!


Because our beliefs are so deeply ingrained, we frequently don't recognize them as beliefs. We accept them as fact. It's only when we begin to identify our beliefs as what they are, malleable thought patterns, that we can make the necessary changes that move our lives forward and authentically make our dreams come true.

If, for example, we believe that others are natural born athletes, and that we were born with two left feet, we diminish our own ability by eliminating the power of choice and by refusing to recognize that talent is nurtured through practice and passion, not mere luck.

Fitness is not an emotion; we cannot wish it into being. It's the end result of movement and we must act our way to a fit body.

As you move into your fitness routine, pay close attention to your thoughts.
They will reveal your core beliefs. When you catch yourself caught in a negative thought pattern, counteract these thoughts with positives. Believing in your ability will make it so.


  • Negative thought - I'm too fat to go to the gym. People will stare and laugh at me. Who am I to think that I can be fit?
  • Positive - I'm deserving of good health. I go to the gym to gain support through those who are committed to health and have made it a priority in their lives. I'm achieving good health and fitness through self-determination and perseverance, and every step I take is a step toward reaching my fitness goals.

By keeping our thoughts positive and in the moment, we change our beliefs, allowing ourselves to live to our full potential and achieve all of the goals that we set for ourselves.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.