How to overcome imposter syndrome to achieve your fitness goals?

When it comes to your fitness goals, you need a daily dose of motivation. We cannot deny that the journey of achieving your dream body shape is quite a ride. 

There are high chances that you would give up easily, compromise your diet through cheating, and relapse into unhealthy lifestyle habits. Imposter syndrome is common among gym enthusiasts and fitness freaks. 

Once started, you need to control imposter syndrome and try to kick it out of your gym regime if you want to achieve your goals faster. Some people lack the appropriate knowledge of powerful strategies for overcoming imposter syndrome to achieve their fitness goals. 

However, this complete guide targets imposter syndrome and provides you with deep insights into the situation. 

Let’s get straight into it and see how you can opt for best practices to achieve your desired body shape! 

Sweaty sportswoman with a towel feeling exhausted and taking a break in gym's dressing room

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Before we begin, it is important to define imposter syndrome. When you are struggling with imposter syndrome, you feel empty. You might feel that you are incompetent at doing anything which includes working out. 

Some people struggle with imposter syndrome at their workplace. It mostly happens when they are unable to manage the work pressure and balance it out the way they should. These people start to believe that they are pretending and people around them don't know about it. 

They don't own their success or happiness. Imposter syndrome is more of a psychological obstruction that leads people to assume wrongly about themselves. 

Perfectionism can also give rise to extreme forms of imposter syndrome. The result is less confidence, compromised self-esteem, and the feeling of self-reward after achieving short or long-term goals. 

How common is imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is a problem and millions of people around the world suffer from it. Studies prove that about 82% of people have suffered imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. Every person has their own way of feeling like an imposter. Therefore, it is important to learn about imposter syndrome as much as possible to prevent it from ruining your workout regime. 

How to Tell If You Have Imposter Syndrome?

When you are working on a certain syndrome, you need to learn about its symptoms. Below you are going to see some common and frequent symptoms of imposter syndrome. So that in case you spot any of the below-mentioned symptoms, you can get the necessary help in time. 

  1. You are unable to own your success and are stuck with a “got lucky” feeling even though you worked quite hard for your goals and success. 
  2. You cannot take any compliments and adulation. 
  3. You apologize frequently even if you are not mistaken. 
  4. You prioritize impossible high standards. 
  5. You cannot afford to fail an interview or an exam. 
  6. You are unable to confidently navigate things in fear of others. 
  7. You are firm on the assumption that whatever you do is not worth it or enough for anybody. 
  8. Your close ones frequently tell you that you are not as confident anymore as before. 
  9. You run away from opportunities at work or university that have the potential to boost your personal growth. 

Young sportswoman not feeling motivated while sitting in gym's dressing room before sports training

Tips to Combat Imposter Syndrome

Set Realistic Goals

Start with short-term goals. Don't jump on achieving higher and near-to-impossible goals. This will not help you and you will end up draining your motivation and confidence quite soon. The same applies to your gym regime. 

Working on your biceps is much better than working on your core, legs, and shoulders at once. It requires more motivation and energy which is unrealistic. When you set unrealistic goals and expectations with your workout regime, you compromise yourself. 

Therefore, develop a habit of setting short-term goals for yourself at the gym that are easy to achieve and create a difference in your fitness journey. When you include this habit in your life, it will protect you from indulging in imposter syndrome. 

Embrace the Learning Process

Don't be an imposter and run away from learning. The more you will self-learn regarding exercises and workouts, the better. You will be killing two birds with one stone. First, you will be able to stay updated on what works best for your body and muscles. Second, you will be away from developing imposter syndrome. 

Be it an upper body workout or a lower body, try to gather information regarding techniques, repetitions, postures, and mistakes regarding a particular workout. It will make you smart and will speed up your journey towards your fitness goals. 

Focus on Your Progress

Imposters always ignore the learning process and progress. They prioritize the destination and would go to any extent to achieve their body goals. Meanwhile, many imposters end up hurting their own body and mental peace. Things get complicated when imposter syndrome completely takes over these people and they blind themselves to have a single-minded goal. 

The goal is to achieve their dream body. It is not recommended to do so. You need to focus on the progress you have made so far. Today, there are many fitness apps available that help you with the track keeping of your body. This is a good habit and gives you a sense to prevent possible relapse of imposter syndrome. 

Cultivate a Supportive Community

As you already know, imposters lack confidence therefore, they mostly avoid talking to people. Don't be an imposter instead, try to talk with others at the gym. You learn from them, help them, and might also follow them if they are performing a particular workout properly. 

There is no harm in asking for help from others. You cannot always run away from the people at the gym just for their fear of being judged. It is important to make yourself a part of the supportive community at the gym so that you can grow physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

Practice Self-Compassion

Don't be hard on yourself. Embrace your success, and take adulation from others. Your body and heart need you and this is important to embrace self-compassion. Reward yourself, be happy, and let it reflect in your workouts. When you isolate yourself from your own body, you cannot focus on working at all. 

This results in nothing and you cannot experience the desired progress that you have wished for all this time. There are different ways to love yourself and you can easily implement them in your life to see great results. Self-compassion makes you a better person and you focus better on your body while at the gym. 


Causes of Impostor Syndrome

There are different familial and societal factors involved in the development of imposter syndrome in a person’s life. These people develop a fear of failure and can go to any extent to achieve their goals and success. It is common in families when parents pressure their children to get good grades in exams.

 Such unrealistic expectations make these children imposters and they give all in to pass their exams. It damages their mental peace and health. Imposter syndrome is also common among the workforce. When your boss pressurizes you to submit a report at a certain deadline, you develop a certain type of fear of getting fired or giving your best.

 Some workaholics also don't take part in office meetings or presentations due to a lack of confidence or a sort of inferiority complex that people around them will judge them. Unrealistic expectations and hope with a person box them to a certain limit which hampers their personal growth and natural pace to navigate things in their life. 

Difference between Impostor Syndrome & self-doubt

The difference lies in the frequency. Self-doubt is not frequent and happens in certain circumstances. While the frequent feeling of imposter syndrome is something else. You are always doubting yourself in different circumstances. 

Be it work, university, or gym, you struggle with the feeling of not being good enough. You always want to do more when it is not needed at all. It is important to spot this difference so that you can take the necessary steps to treat yourself without any further ado! 

Five types of Impostor?

Imposter syndrome has different types. When studying about it, you must have a brief idea about all these types for better insights. Let’s go! 

  1. The Perfectionist: Such a person cannot stand any flaws neither in themselves nor in others. Failure in their dictionary is the second name for shame. 
  2. The Expert: These people want to know everything about everything. They want to be walking encyclopedias for the people. If they are unable to answer a question, they feel ashamed. 
  3. The Soloist: Such people hate asking for help from others. They would even do impossible tasks on their own. 
  4. The Natural Genius: These people focus on learning everything fast. It is common among the students. They measure everything with speed. 
  5. The Superhuman: Such people are multitaskers and would include unnecessary burdens in their lives. They would assume to feel comfortable in handling multiple tasks and try to succeed in them. 


Imposter syndrome can hamper your progress and growth toward your fitness goals. You get stuck with unnecessary assumptions which are not beneficial for yourself at all. Therefore, make sure to evaluate yourself based on the symptoms of imposter syndrome. 

Remember to take a break and reward yourself. Love the way you are and the way you perform certain tasks in your personal and professional lives. The same applies to your workout regime. Being too hard on yourself is not recommended if you are working on your body. 

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