I found a gym soon after moving to my new home in March of 2018. I felt intimidated as soon as I walked through the doors for my first group class. Everyone was in better shape than me, seemed to know each other, and understood each circuit exercise as the trainer went through them. There was no way this could be a successful experience with the mindset I created. With each exercise I tried, it was as if I pre-programmed myself to fail. After the workout, when I closed the door to my car, all I could do was cry. I didn’t think I could ever go back after that pitiful performance. (Yes, that is the word I intentionally used.) I felt as if I was being judged on how I did and this imagined spotlight made things even worst.
Gratefully, the trainer noticed my frustration, tried to help as best she could, and let the owner know what happened. He called soon after encouraging me to come back and take another class, explaining things would get easier with time. There was no way I was going to do that, but I was willing to do personal training instead so I never had to be humiliated like that again. Group classes are sometimes going on while I am doing my sessions. As the months went on, my strength grew, as did my continued intimidation and jealousy of those that could take classes.
Whenever I would ask my trainer if I would ever be strong enough to take classes, I got the same answer, “You already are. We just need to modify some of the exercises, and we do that for people all the time.” I kept telling myself that I wasn’t going to take a class until I could do exactly what everyone else does. Time went on, and I would make joking remarks to others that I wanted to be like them when I grew up and be able to take classes. Every person said the same thing, ”Take one. You will do great.” It is amazing how strong my mind is and the effect it can have on my confidence. I could only hear my stinking thinking and never the positive encouragement I was receiving.
Right before New Year’s Eve, my trainer wasn’t available due to the short workday. I decided to go to the gym and create my own circuit training. It went incredibly well, and I was actually proud of myself. What a great way to end the year. Once again I made a remark about being able to take classes to two ladies. They told me that if I could do the workout I just went through myself, I could definitely take a class. For whatever reason, their words got through to me. I decided to try again.
A couple days later, I took a group class. I walked in with cautious optimism and excitement that I was at least willing to show up. After doing a quick warm-up, it was time to start. As the trainer explained each exercise, I realized that I knew what most of them were. OMG, I couldn’t believe it! That in itself was a huge victory.
Rachel, our trainer, suggested I do two rounds, not three, since it was my first time and there were so many different exercises. I trustrf her judgement and, although a bit disappointed, by the end I realized she was right. Did I go slower than the others? Yes! Did some of the exercises need to be modified for me? Yes! Did I care? A little but not enough to upset me. I chose – the operative being chose – to focus on being there and trying rather than the negativity that didn’t deserve an ounce of my energy.
I left and was excited beyond words. I TOOK A CLASS!!! So what that it was slightly modified. So what that I did two, rather than three, rounds of each circuit. I am so grateful to the ladies that encouraged me to try and for my willingness to finally hear someone other than my stinking thinking.
As I pondered what had just happened on the drive home, I wondered how many other areas of my life was my thinking holding me back. The thoughts that I feed grow, whether negative or positive. 2019 already has more opportunities because of this realization.