What’s keeping you from living a healthy life? Sometimes I find that folks are stuck in the rut of “fitness shame” and just can’t move past it. They feel that they need to get in shape BEFORE they can come into the gym. What??? I can’t tell you how many times I hear from people that feel that way.

Owning a health club in a community like Pasadena has its benefits… unlike those big-box corporate clubs, we know almost all of our Members. We know their names, their favorite classes and when they like to come into the club. We have our early morning corporate types who show up at the crack of dawn, the “mid-morning Moms” who finally have a free moment with no kids, our corporate lunch crowd, the late afternoon seniors (we have a few in their late 80s and early 90s!) and then there is our after-work folks. When Michelle and I go out in town, we see our Members out in the community as well. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.

Sometimes, however, we run into Members who have not been in the club for a while, or former Members who left the club for any number of reasons — maybe their life circumstances changed, perhaps they got bored or sometimes they just fell of the fitness wagon; whatever the reason, we respect it, that’s life. But many times we see them looking as if they WANT to come back, like they WANT help, like they WANT to get healthy again. But they’ve gained some weight, or feel so out of shape, they just feel like they can’t face their friends at the gym again and don’t know how to move forward.

This is where the shame comes in… we all feel judged about how we look. And sometimes this pressure (shame) prevents us from working out and attempting to take the steps we need to gain control of our health and fitness. So how do we overcome that feeling? Here are 3 simple steps to overcome fitness shame and get back to living a better life.



The first step is usually the toughest, and when it comes to regaining your health, it’s no different. Okay, so you’ve made some questionable decisions that added up to where you find yourself now: they seemed small at the time, but now, they’ve grown into a bigger problem. Just accept it. Accept that YOU got yourself into this predicament. But now the good news: YOU can get yourself out of it. But no progress can be made until you accept it so that you can feel empowered to take the next step.



How do you talk to yourself when it comes to your body? What’s your mental and emotional body image? Ask yourself right now “Am I happy with the way I look?” What popped into your head? What does that little voice say about how you look, about how you eat, about certain parts of your body? I am continually amazed as I train clients how hard they can be on themselves. I hear them saying to themselves “Wow that was pathetic…”, “I am sooooo out of shape!”, “I feel so fat…” You’ll never be ready to adopt and then stick with new healthy habits if you are constantly beating yourself up.

Think of yourself as a child, perhaps one of your own kids, who is looking to you for help getting into shape. How would you talk to them? Would you say to them “You’re fat and weak and pathetic!” and then encourage them to head off to the gym with that message bouncing around in their head? No, you’d be supportive, encouraging and positive: “You can do this!”, “Showing up is half the battle!” or “Hang in there – it gets easier!”


Evans Style has no size campaign 2015


So many people hold themselves back by THINKING about what they are going to do. They think themselves right out of doing anything. Getting in shape doesn’t have to be complicated: Move more than you do now (all day, not just at the gym) and eat less… start by cutting a few things out of your diet that you know aren’t helping you get to your goal, eat what’s good for you s-l-o-w-l-y and smaller portions of everything. Eat mindfully – be aware when you are eating, take time to enjoy your food and take notice of when you are satiated (hint — this happens well before you are stuffed to the gills and feel yourself heading into the death-spiral of the “food coma”).   Take action in little, consistent steps (habits) that will get you the big results. If you need some other ideas, read my last blog (Part 1 | Part 2).


Real programs, for real people, who want real results. We limited the number of mirrors we put up in our club for a reason. We don’t have 150 lbs dumbbells and giant muscle bound humanoids. It NOT about WHAT’S IN THE GYM, is about what YOU GET OUT OF THE GYM that’s most important. We offer programs and classes for both the beginner (we are all beginners at some point) and the advanced exerciser. We offer nutrition coaching (remember – 80% of how we look is attributable to how we eat and only 20% is reflective of how we exercise) and most of all, we offer an environment of community and support where you don’t have to be fit before you join us for the first time or come back for seconds.

We are here to help and we’ll take you any way you show up!

Phil Dozois, Owner, Breakthru Fitness



Our Mission, Our Purpose, Our Why We Exist

At Breakthru Fitness, we believe that being fit and healthy helps you get more out of your life. Whatever you do, we want you to enjoy it more, live it more and experience it in a healthy, strong way. We believe in a lifestyle approach to living healthy and fit and with that commitment, we want to provide you as much connection (by caring about you as an individual), education (we teach you how to cut through the overwhelming, and sometimes confusing, amount of information out there about fitness and nutrition) and inspiration (helping you feel good through the fitness process) as possible.


Recommended Reading

I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power.   Brené Brown, Ph.D.