Do you Have Exerciser Imposter Syndrome?

Oct 26, 2023

“start with simplicity, allocate 10 minutes each day, move in a way that feels good to you, track your progress”

Do you Have Exerciser Imposter Syndrome?

I’m not fit enough for the gym. I’ve never been good at exercise. I am too uncoordinated and unathletic. Have you ever said it? If so, you may be experiencing what I call exerciser imposter syndrome. It’s that feeling of doubting your abilities to even begin, never mind making exercise a regular part of your life, improving your fitness, gaining coordination, and learning to enjoy exercise.

And it’s so common! People think exercise has some sort of prerequisites, and that thinking becomes a barrier that stops them from even trying.

To overcome this inertia, we need to embrace the words of Albert Einstein: “Nothing happens until something moves.” So, how can we move past the doubt and hesitation?

Move 1: Change the semantics. Be a “mover.”

Instead of labeling yourself as an “exerciser” with all the preconceived notions and expectations that come with it, consider identifying as a “mover.” We are all born to move, and throughout our early years, we skipped, ran, and jumped with joy. Being a mover means recognizing the importance and benefits of simply moving our bodies. It’s not just about exercising for the sake of fitness; it’s about moving for overall wellness and the health of our bodies. Whether it’s breaking a sweat, lifting things, going for a walk, stretching, or even correcting our sedentary postures, being a mover means understanding that a body in motion stays in motion.

Okay, so now you’re a mover. What’s next?

Move 2: Change your expectations. Accept being a novice mover.

You might think you lack coordination, skill, flexibility, or strength. But here’s the thing: it’s okay to be a novice who is learning a new skill – that of becoming a regular mover. Imagine teaching someone who is learning to bake, a skill you’ve mastered. You would emphasize the importance of practice, starting slow, making mistakes as part of the learning process, and gradually improving through repetition. The same applies to learning or re-learning how to move. Every step you take, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction toward better physical and mental health and improved self-esteem.

Okay, so now you’re a novice mover. What’s next?

Move 3: Change your self-talk. Practice self-compassion. 

Self-compassion is simply about being kind and understanding toward yourself. When you make mistakes, feel inadequate, or struggle with a new skill, it’s important to offer yourself support and encouragement instead of being overly self-critical. Can you apply this same approach to learning how to be a mover? Can you be empathetic toward yourself as you embark on this journey of acquiring a new skill? Rather than saying I’m hopeless at this, you say, I am learning how to do this. Remember, self-compassion plays a crucial role in fostering growth and progress.

So, let’s start embracing the mindset of a mover, accepting our novice status, and practicing self-compassion as we embark on this journey of becoming a healthier and more active versions of ourselves.

Move 4: Change your life. Start simply and simply start! 

Here’s my final piece of advice: start simply, and simply start! Let’s go back to the baking analogy. If I were teaching someone to bake, I wouldn’t start with a complex Croquembouche; instead, we would begin with a simple vanilla cake. Similarly, when it comes to incorporating movement into your life, start by scheduling just 10 minutes each day for movement.

How can you move? Any way you want! Take a walk, dance, climb stairs, or try the MOSSA 10-Minute Workouts specifically designed for movers like yourself. Then, keep track of your progress. Each day you move, mark it with a big checkmark somewhere visible. As you collect more and more checkmarks, you’ll gradually transform into a mover, steadily progressing from a novice to an advanced beginner, a competent individual, and eventually an expert! Remember, these stages may look different for each of us, and that’s perfectly okay.

So, start with simplicity, allocate 10 minutes each day, move in a way that feels good to you, track your progress, and watch yourself grow into the mover you aspire to be, who will very likely inspire others to move past the common “impostor” feeling, move past their perceived limitations, and move for life.

MOSSA’s mission is to inspire people to move. We create and deliver innovative and inclusive workouts for health clubs and YMCAs worldwide and for the home user through MOSSA On Demand.

“start with simplicity, allocate 10 minutes each day, move in a way that feels good to you, track your progress”


Cathy Spencer Browning
VP of Programming

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