A quarter of millennials feel too self-conscious about their looks to exercise more often, new survey data has revealed.
The survey of 2,000 participants revealed that millennials are by far the most insecure generation when it comes to exercise, with a quarter of 18-24 year-olds confessing that they would be more motivated to exercise if “I had more confidence in my appearance”.
Almost a quarter of 18-24s don’t feel confident exercising with or near other people (23%), and the majority would rather do strength exercises at home than at the gym.
Following the release of the new NHS fitness guides, Manchester-based Patient Claim Line issued the survey to uncover Brits attitudes towards exercise. The data uncovered that a third of millennials aren’t sticking to the NHS guidelines and getting enough exercise, and that a lack of body-confidence is preventing many young people from working out more.
To promote an active lifestyle, tackle self-doubt and boost millennials’ confidence issues in the gym, three leading Manchester fitness influencers have shared their experiences of body confidence and how they’ve overcome these barriers. The group hope their tips will help people find a way to stop body confidence problems getting in the way of a more active, fun and healthy lifestyle.
Sam McGowan, a personal and online trainer, explains that fear of the gym is something everyone can experience, no matter what your fitness levels.
“I used to walk into a gym and be very aware of the people around me and what they thought of me. I would do my best to act as if I knew what I was doing but the reality was that I had absolutely no idea. Not knowing what I was doing, whether I was doing it right and if people were looking at me because they knew that was the case made me very self-conscious – I hated the gym because of it.”
McGowan now has over 12,000 followers on Instagram who tune in to her tips and advice, and explains that learning about exercise is the best way to boost confidence.
“Educate yourselves, the same way you would with anything else. […] Either reach out and get help or start investing some time into knowing more about what you’re doing and why you need to do it. The more confident you are with what you’re doing in the gym the less you’re going to care about what you look like or what anyone else is thinking.
Wellness maven Claudia Mirallegro has stacked thousands of Instagram followers thanks to her perfect yoga poses and positive mantras, but explains that behind the pictures she isn’t always confident about working out.
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〰 FREE YOGA 〰 tag MCR yogis! ______ #sponsored Mondays, 6.30pm @newmakeryards. I L O V E being able to give these sessions to all you yogi angels, thank you @simplygetliving for providing open space next to the canal, showing us how much Manchester has to offer! If you haven't been, watch my stories to see just how gorgeous the sessions are. I'm even tempted to move in to one of their apartments since they have all this goodness included in the neighbourhood. Can't wait to see you there xo ______ To book your space head over to @newmakeryards IG, link is in the bio (or search ‘canalside yoga at New Maker Yards'). Find us at Lockside Lane, Salford – 10 minute walk from Spinningfields #newmakeryards #MyNMY #freeyoga
“I often feel self-conscious trying out new fitness classes. My mind loops on how I won’t be strong enough or fast enough or fit enough, how everyone is going to be better than me and that people will judge my abilities.”
For Mirallegro, perseverance is key to overcoming exercise barriers, as well as reminding yourself of why you’re exercising in the first place.
“Keep going. No one is focusing on you because everyone is so caught up in themselves. Over time you will build resilience & discipline. You’ll release endorphins. You’ll realise there’s something special in exercising to feel good rather than looking good.”
For biomechanics student and fitness blogger Sarah Harradine, comparing yourself to others in the gym can have an impact on your confidence.
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🚫TOP 10 WORST DEADLIFT MISTAKES🚫⠀ ⠀ 10. Mistakes ⠀ 9. Are ⠀ 8. Less⠀ 7. Specific⠀ 6. Than⠀ 5. You⠀ 4. Think As⠀ 3. Technique Is⠀ 2. Nuanced⠀ 1. Letting the bar move away from your centre of gravity 😏⠀ ⠀ Of course this post is a little tongue in cheek, that headline is NOT the sort you’d normally see from me 🙅🏻♀️ Those “worst deadlift mistakes” videos are well-intentioned but realistically technique is much more nuanced and holistic than they suggest and it’s usually a number of factors that need adjustment.⠀ ⠀ However, there is ONE very important factor for me – the bar must stay as close to your centre of gravity as possible. The further a weight is held from your centre of gravity the higher the compressive forces on the spine. Your spine is a hardy structure but repetitive poor movement can cause injury plus the bar will feel so much heavier due to the moment arm! ⠀ ⠀ So clamp those armpits down, brace your tummy, and keep the bar running up and down your shins for maximum efficiency and minimum injury risk. #SquatbotMovement
“As a Personal Trainer I feel like everyone expects me to be super strong, super fit and good at everything, when in truth I’m just a normal girl trying to do her best. The gym I work at is incredible but I can sometimes feel like everyone else is a lot fitter than me, which can have a knock-on effect to my confidence.”
A lover of weight-workouts and strength training, Harradine explains that you don’t necessarily need a gym to get a good workout.
“If the gym is too daunting for you right now then gain some confidence in movement by getting a sweat on however you like, whether that’s going for a brisk 30-minute walk, dancing in your kitchen or joining a netball team.”