I see you. The woman who wants to finally focus on her health but is too embarrassed to do anything about it. You think you are too out of shape. You think you won’t fit in. You think the gym isn’t for people like you.
Guess what? You are wrong.
It took me several tries, but I finally found a place where I feel comfortable. Actually, I don’t think it’s the place. I really think it’s ME. I think I finally mentally came to a place of acceptance. I’m starting at zero and that’s ok. I’m not in the class to compete with the girl next to me. I’m here to get a little bit further than where I was standing yesterday. That’s all.
So, I wanted to walk you through a few different moments that I face every time I walk through those gym doors in hopes that it eases your mind. If I can do this – SO CAN YOU.
You get there.
First up – I immediately feel happy that I got that far. KNOW THAT. Getting there is an accomplishment for me because two months ago I would have preferred to be anywhere else. It’s just not like that anymore though. Nowadays, I’m working my schedule around my favorite classes. The gym has become a priority to me. Who would have thunk it?
Once I get to my class, you can’t help but assess who is in there with you. You know what? There will be all kinds. There will be the women with makeup and all the latest gear. There will be women much older than you. There will be your peers. AND there will be beginners as well. It’s a hodgepodge. But guess what? There are mirrors everywhere. And all those women are looking at themselves – especially the “really in shape” ones. They don’t give a flying HOOT what you are doing! TRUST ME! They are too busy looking at themselves in the mirror to ensure that they have the correct form. Gym life is SERIOUS for them. This isn’t high school. You aren’t even there in their eyes. It’s just them and the instructor.
That’s how it should be for you. That’s how it WILL be for you.
I’ve gotten there. Thank GOD. The only time I notice the people in the class is when we are setting up. Then I’m so focused on not passing out that I have no idea what anyone else is doing. Remember, I just started going to the gym- so I’m an absolute beginner. I can’t breathe! I am DYING. But I am there either looking at myself in the mirror, looking at the instructor to see what he is doing or looking at the floor to keep balance!!!
The class begins and it starts to rev up.
There will be times when you can’t handle the movement. The cardio will become overwhelming. If it’s too much for you – DON’T DO IT. The fear of not being able to complete the entire class should not deter you from taking the class. Just yesterday, I took a class called “No Limits”. It is 45 minutes of crazy. Every 30 seconds or so, the instructor changes moves. First you are doing a plank and then you are doing jumping jacks and then you are doing dumbbell lifts. I’m always like… HUH? But midway through, I couldn’t catch my breath. So, when he asked everyone to run in place, I didn’t. I just tapped my toes and caught my breath. THAT’S OK!!!! I needed a minute and I freaking took it. As soon as I was able to compose myself, I hopped back in. Do what you can at the beginning – you will find that you can do more and more before you know it.
NOW… what about those moments that you CAN get through but your mind is telling you otherwise????
This is the WHOLE POINT OF THIS POST. This is why I really wanted to write this. There are so many moments during a workout where it BURNS but I know I can get through it. It’s not because I am going to pass out, it’s because it hurts that I want to stop. But it doesn’t hurt enough that my body CAN’T DO IT, it just hurts enough to make my mind start kicking in with the negative speak.
I can’t do this.
I’m not ready for this.
It’s too much.
I should walk out.
I did enough.
These are my demons. These are the words of the “old me” and for the majority of the class, I spend my time telling myself to SHUT UP.
I can’t do this.
Shut up. Yes, you can.
It’s too much. I can’t handle the weight.
Shut up. Yes, you can.
This is real, folks! I’m not kidding. I do this on the treadmill. I do this at the gym. I talk to myself for the entire HOUR. I have to quiet the negative speak because there is a part of me that still doesn’t believe in me. It’s crazy! I hate that part of me and I know you have a little of her in you as well. She’s the person that has prevented me from starting all these years. I’m 38 years old and am JUST starting to care about my body. That saddens me. This is the only body I have!
The class ends.
The minute that class ends… I swear I feel like I just gave birth. It’s just a surge of joy and relief and “I DID THIS”. I feel proud of myself every single time. I’ve been going about a month – so remember, I’m a total noob. I’m sure that excitement will end eventually, but it’s there. I’m actually SHOCKED that I completed the class when it ends. Maybe that’s the real emotion. I am SHOCKED that I put another class under my belt. But there’s also a sense of being proud of myself too because I am the laziest person on the planet. LITERALLY. And if I can do it — GIRL, SO CAN YOU!
So, friends, I hope you read this and some of it eased your concerns about starting a workout routine. If joining a gym is too overwhelming, download a fitness program and start working out at home. I just downloaded Couch to 5K and Nike + Fitness the other day. I do those at home and away from the public. Start there and see where your sneakers take you…