Have you ever gone to the gym and felt like you didn't belong? Have you ever started to exercise on your own and given up because you felt self-conscious? Have you ever avoided exercise because it just doesn't feel like you? If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, you may have "exercise faker-itis". The name is meant to be funny, but the issue it describes isn't. The issue is about having a fitness habit be so unfamiliar to your sense of self that when you think about fitness or even start to try it feels unnatural and you quit.
First, it is important to remember that you don't have to be so hard on yourself. No matter what your level of fitness there will be others out there who will make what you want look effortless. Aside from frame of mind (which is a key element), there are other things to keep in mind that can seem easier to control and get you started toward building fitness into your daily life:
1) Pay attention to the work-out setting. If you feel out of touch with your body and it feels wholly unnatural to exercise, find help. Consider looking for private-in-home instruction, so you can be on familiar turf. Also, look for an instructor that you feel comfortable interacting with and don't be afraid to go with your gut when seeking someone out.
2) Start thinking about fitness as more than just a chunk of your day. We've all heard about fitness being a lifestyle, but what does that really mean? For me it is about creating an intimate body awareness. I pay attention to the effect food, sleep, stress, etc. have on my body from each meal to each day and season. It's important to figure out how your body feels and works in different circumstances. Try and start small by tracking how much sleep your getting or writing down what is going on in your life whenever you feel pressured. Try and build on the awareness each week and you'll really start to notice a difference.
3) Find cues at home and work to make fitness part of yourself. Take a look around your home or office. Is there anything getting in the way of your seeing yourself as a person who is fit and active each day? There might be a candy dish on your desk that could be replaced with almonds or fruit. There might be paper clutter that could be scanned away to make room for a permanent exercise area. Be critical and let yourself start building an environment that inspires the fit person you want to be.
The good news is that exercise faker-it is is curable. It is about unlearning old behaviors and learning new ones. If you think outside the box, you can build fitness into your daily life so it feels like it was always there and entirely you.