Don’t be intimidated – work out in peace, and choose your fitness carefully.

Gym intimidation can be stressful, but there are loads of other choices. 

Sydneysider Charlotte Piho from Workout On Water, one of the best locations in the world to paddle.

Bondi Beauty spoke to Jason Smith,  founder of Back In Motion Health Group, for some tips on enjoying your fitness and working out in peace.

 The gym isn’t for everyone, and intimidation or fear of what other people think of you may be your challenge.

Have you ever thought that you need to ‘get in shape’ before you hit the gym? The gym is often a parade of tight and toned lycra bodies. Coupled with the complicated machinery, the gym can take you out of your comfort zone and make working out intimidating and even stressful at times.

The good news is, the gym doesn’t have to be the only place where fitness miracles occur. Take yourself outside the box and give these exercises a go without the added stress from gym intimidation.

Stand up and take notice of Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)

The hottest form of outdoor exercise this Summer has to be SUP. Not only has SUP been endorsed by fit celebrities such as Rihanna, Jennifer Anniston and Matthew McConaughey, it is a fantastic workout for your core as it targets muscle groups in the mid trunk section. After a thirty minute SUP session, the muscles that wrap around your upper shoulder joint and rotator cuff will ache (in a good way!) and your upper arms, chest and leg muscles will be challenged! When standing on the board, you’re using your entire body to stay upright and move and the motion of paddling with a SUP encourages you to balance by engaging with your core and if you get it right, it will help to keep you relatively dry as well.

Your core is not simply your abs but your whole front and back midsection as well as your pelvic floor. The rhythm of paddling calls on your arm muscles to push and propel you forward. Your legs and feet need to be planted to assist in balance relying on your quads and hamstrings being switched on.  SUP is  also a great sport to soak up some vitamin D (remember to Slip Slop Slap) as well as free your mind from any stress and stay focused on staying upright. (You can wear a wetsuit as the weather cools).

 Reach new heights with hiking

If you are looking to take the pace up a notch from walking on the treadmill, take the challenge of a nature walk or a hike for greater benefits. Walking on a flat surface definitely takes effort and burns calories but when walking on an incline you are working against gravity, with more effort required. When we challenge our body against the pull of gravity, just like weight bearing exercises, we help to strengthen those muscles we often don’t get to use and gives us a cardio workout at the same time. Hiking targets lower leg muscles, glutes and hamstrings and also helps to exercise the upper body by strengthening the core and improving balance. Hiking can provide the intensity of a good run, without the impact on knees and back. What’s more it offers us the benefit of being in the outdoors, in the fresh air, free from the stresses of the city, helping to detox the mind whilst enjoying time with friends or family. A good dose of Mother Nature and an injection of the fresh clean air is worth its weight in gold. What’s more , hiking is FREE, social and great for weight management.

Get to the core with Clinical Pilates  

Celebrating 130 years, Joseph Pilates fashioned the regime of strength, mobility and conditioning training which continues to evolve today. Pilates focuses on body conditioning which helps to build flexibility and muscle strength whilst building core stability in legs, arms, abdominals, hips and back. Emphasis is placed on the alignment of the spine and pelvic area and deep breathing.

Clinical Pilates is possibly the most advanced form of one-on-one exercise suitable for all bodies at all stages of life and is effective not only for the prevention of injuries but for rehabilitation. Guided by a Back In Motion Physiotherapist or practitioner, a specialist Clinical Pilates program may be prescribed for a specific health or injury concern, but it is increasingly used as a first choice of exercise. If you like the peace and quiet of a gentle studio environment, often one-on-one or in small intimate groups, Clinical Pilates can help improve postural fitness, increase balance, coordination and flexibility. Many professional athletes take Pilates to complement their other training, improve their performance and prevent injuries.  Clinical Pilates delivered by a Back In Motion physio ensures a specialised, one-on-one attention comfortable, stress free and well-guided environment.

Running for your life

Running challenges our endurance and cardio-respiratory function which is essential for maintaining good health. Many people also report on the psychological benefits of running such as stress busting or simply grounding themselves. If you have been thinking about running for a while but just can’t get going, you should start slowly with a brisk walk four times a week for half an hour followed by a light strength-oriented training session in the park. After a few weeks, step up the pace to a gentle jog/walk or run/walk which eventually turns into a sustained run.  If you are keen on a run, but lack the motivation to head out on your own, find a running group to join or gather your friends or work mates to run together. Running in a group helps motivate one another and helps you stick to your fitness commitments. On weekends, try a beach run with friends, starting with hard sand and build you way up to a soft sand run to get your heart rate pumping.

It’s important to ensure your running style is safe so that you don’t cause injury to your body. Ask your Back In Motion physiotherapist for tips on stable posture for running in safe style.

 Your physiotherapist is your new PT

If you know you have to get up and moving but feel you need some guidance, without a bootcamp-style Personal Trainer who frightens you into a sweat, seek out a Back In Motion Physiotherapist. Your physio will be your well-trained exercise partner who can provide accurate clinical assessment and work with you to develop a tailored personal training program for your health and fitness goals.

It’s important to understand your body, its capabilities and limitations, before experimenting with new equipment or techniques and our  physio can guide you through the do’s and don’ts and how to gradually build up strength and flexibility.  They will look at agility, balance, coordination, power, reaction time and speed. It is very important to gradually work on all these areas in order to achieve true benefits of exercise as well as all round physical conditioning. They may recommend dynamic stretching before a workout, practicing effective posture whilst pushing weights or perfecting your running technique on the treadmill for maximum advantage. They will help you build your confidence, minimise the risk of injury and ultimately guide you to good health and achieving your fitness goals.

So, to stay challenged and motivated throughout this year, try a new fitness challenge and partner with a physiotherapist to revitalise your fitness goals to achieve optimal health.

Jason’s book Get Yourself Back In Motion is available at Back In Motion for RRP $34.95. Find your nearest stockist via and keep in touch with Jason via Facebook and Twitter

 Have you ever been intimidated by your fitness? 




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Renae Leith-Manos

Editor and Founder of Bondi Beauty

Renae Leith-Manos loves fitness, new beauty products, long chats and long flights. She is at her best when traveling the world writing about luxury hotels and Michelin Star restaurants ( She has had a colourful media career as a journalist inmagazines and newspapers, in Australia and Asia. She spends her time writing, cooking, consulting to new businesses, running and working out.

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