Are you afraid of gaining weight? What about eating fats, or carbs? Or do you have a fear that if you stop doing cardio, or decrease the amount of cardio you do, you’ll immediately gain ten pounds of fat. You’re afraid that if you gain weight it means you’re getting fat and it will be permanent.

But what if the very thing you are afraid of is what is keeping you locked in a fitness plateau that you can’t seem to get out of?


“What we fear of doing most is usually what we most need to do” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whatever you are afraid of incorporating or decreasing or eliminating, or changing in any way with regard to your fitness program might just be what knocks you out of the nightmare of a fitness plateau you’ve been battling.

For example, let’s say you’ve been eating roughly 1,500 calories a day (high protein, moderate carbs, low fats), doing cardio for 45 minutes, six days per week for the past several years, and doing the same four-day weight-lifting regime but just making sure you increase your weights every few months. You haven’t seen significant physical changes to your body in probably six months or more … and you’ve actually gained a few pounds and went up one pants size.

Bottom line – you have hit a plateau.

So you decrease your calories to 1,400 and increase your cardio to 50 minutes, six days per week thinking this will knock your body into some sort of progress. But it doesn’t happen and you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere. You are afraid to increase your calories back to 1,500 or decrease your cardio because you think that if you’re already not seeing results, decreasing your cardio and increasing your calories would only cause you to go backwards instead of see the progress you want to see.

Your fear of increasing your calories and decreasing your cardio is most likely preventing your metabolism from speeding up, so your fear of changing this aspect of your fitness program is the very thing that is keeping you stuck in your plateau.


Here are other common fitness fears that may prevent progress and how to work through them:

Lifting Heavy Weights
Although this way of thinking is starting to go away, it is still a fear many women have of getting thik, bulky and “manly” from lifting heavy weights. Sticking to only lighter weights and high reps could be what is preventing you from progressing beyond where you are right now into the lean, toned, femininely muscular physique you’re after.

Reducing or Eliminating Cardio
I have been guilty of this myself in the past, but quickly learned that reducing or eliminating cardio is not going to cause me to blow up like a balloon overnight. It could actually be the very thing that your body needs to allow for more muscle strength and development in order to create more positive body composition changes, speed up your metabolism and catapult your body into the next phase of strength and physique.

Taking Full, “True” Rest/Recovery Days
This is a big issue for many people who are afraid of taking true rest days (no exercise whatsoever) or taking enough rest days (2-3, maybe even a full week off!) from exercise. Your body can’t go and go and go without adequate recovery, especially if you are demanding so much of it! It is extremely difficult for me to do, but twice a year I will take 5-7 days off from all workouts to give my mind and body full, deep, thorough recovery. I always come back so much stronger and my body feels revived, refreshed and ready to start exercising again. If you are afraid of taking adequate rest days, you could be taxing your body (and your mind), which can cause fatigue and overstress, resulting in higher cortisol levels, a slower metabolism, risk of injury and potential burn-out.

Try Something New
Don’t become so attached to your own fitness routine that it becomes more of a rut than a routine. Try something new! Don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone and expand your fitness horizons!

Stop Weighing Yourself
This is another big issue for many people because of the false notion that only a loss in weight means you are making progress. When you are going through body composition changes (gaining muscle and losing body fat), an increase in weight could be a positive thing, and a decrease in weight could be a negative thing. If you are in the habit of weighing yourself every day and feel disappointed often in the numbers you see, don’t be afraid to stop weighing yourself for a while. Focusing on the numbers, and being frustrated and disappointed at what you see, might be preventing you from moving forward on your fitness journey.

Letting Go Of or Incorporating Foods/Beverages
I have seen it many times: people attach certain foods and/or beverages to their identities, such as carbs, sugars/desserts, even alcohol. The thought of taking these foods or beverages out of your diet for a certain time period or even permanently, is petrifying. You couldn’t imagine not ever having this again and the thought of living the rest of your life without it scares you because you feel it is a part of your identity. Or, on the flip side, you have a fear of incorporating certain foods into your diet because you are afraid they will make you gain weight. For example, if you grew up thinking all fats are bad or all carbs are bad and will make you fat, then you may have an aversion to these foods because you are afraid they will send you backwards instead of help you progress forward. But incorporating these foods the right way may help you even more on your quest to achieve your goals.

In my experience, one of the biggest mental, physical and emotional set-backs of the “Fear Plateau” is that fear and anxiety create an elevation in hormones that cause your body to hold onto fat. So even just letting go of any fears, anxiety and stress can help you enjoy your fitness journey and allow you to move beyond your plateaus.

Tip Me Tuesday: The 4 Cs
Tip Me Tuesday: Are You Really Hungry?
Tip Me Tuesday: My 45 Day Summer Abs Challenge Experience
Tip Me Tuesday: Gaining vs Losing Part II
Tip Me Tuesday: The Heart Of The Fitness Process
Tip Me Tuesday: Learn To Count On You


Naomi-lighterBIOOne of the trainers on Nicole’s elite NW Fitness Training Team, Naomi is a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a NPC Figure competitor who has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years.

Go here to find out more about training with the NW Fitness Training Team!