Exercise-wise, all I ever do is walk, power-walk and try to run (not very well). Once in a while I do some stuff on the Wii Fit, but I don’t recall ever really breaking a sweat there. And I bought a Shake-Weight recently. I DID! You’re laughing, but that sucker works! The arms and shoulders definitely feel it after doing the Shake-Weight routine!
But I’ve been getting bored. And lazy. I’ve been feeling less and less enthusiastic about getting out of bed in the morning to go to the gym and do the treadmill thing. Oh, it’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone – do a little exercise and read my latest book. But it’s getting boring.
Growing up, fitness was not something that was even on my family’s radar. So everything fitness related is rather unfamiliar to me, except for the walking, running and home exercise stuff I’ve done. I’ve never been truly serious about my exercise so I didn’t know which way to turn when I got bored. My gym offers all kinds of group fitness classes, but I’ve never done one. So I’ve been intimidated to go and do one, especially on my own.
My friend and coworker, Lori goes to my gym and does all kinds of fitness classes there and one day she suggested I join her for one. The thought of trying something new seemed a little less intimidating when I thought about doing it with a friend. So today was the day. I’d agreed to go to a morning step aerobics class with her. I wasn’t too worried about it until she started saying things like, “Just promise me you won’t leave before the class is over.”
“Why would I do that,” I asked? “Do people leave in the middle of these classes?”
“Well, sometimes people who are new to it will bail out before it’s over because they’re not getting the steps right and they’re embarrassed or something.”
I wasn’t all that worried about it until Lori shared that bit of information. I’m a very self-conscious kind of person. Suddenly I was worried that I would be a miserable failure at step aerobics. I didn’t realize how worried I was until I dreamed last night about being in fitness class and noticing people pointing at me and whispering about my inability to keep up.
I woke up this morning with the gym dream still lingering and seriously debating whether I wanted to go to the class. The gym is crowded on Saturdays. I don’t like crowds. This is why I like my 5 a.m. visits to the gym. Not many people there at 5 a.m. But there are also no fitness classes at 5 a.m.
Then I berated myself for even letting myself debate whether it was an option to go. I had promised Lori I would meet her there and I was going to go. How bad could it be? But I had to pep-talk myself all the way to the gym. I had to keep reminding myself that I would feel much worse if I gave in to my insecurities than I would if I tried my best and suffered a bit of embarrassment. (And why is it that perceived embarrassment is always so much worse than the real thing?)
Once at the gym, I set myself up in the back of the classroom where I could keep an eye on the more experienced steppers. I followed the instructor and just did the best I could. And the instructor was great about reminding everyone to just do what they could. If we needed to just focus on the steps, we should feel free to skip the coordinating arm stretches. I followed Lori’s advice and when I found myself unable to figure out a pattern of steps, I just marched or did basic steps until I could get back on track. There was one pattern of steps that was very intricate and I could not seem to pick it up no matter how many times I tried. I’ve gotta admit that I contemplated walking out then, but I looked around and saw other newbies looking just as lost as me, and that gave me the boost to stick with it. The longer I stuck with it, the smaller the chance that my insecurities were going to beat me.
And? It was awesome! I did it! I stuck it out right through to the end. I was sweating like crazy by the time we were done and I’d had fun! I knew before it was over that I want to do it again.
Lori, her friend, Lynn and I gathered together when it was all over. Our faces were red and we were all sweating.
“That was fun,” I told Lori!
“That was hard,” she laughed and Lynn agreed. “That wasn’t the usual instructor and this class was way more intense than what we do with the normal instructor.”
“Yeah,” Lynn said. “That probably wasn’t the best class for a beginner to start out with.“
“Well, I want to do it again,” I said. “So that must be a good sign!”
We parted ways then. Lori wanted to do some free-weights and I needed to head home. But I am definitely feeling better about trying more of these fitness classes. I’ll bet Lori doesn’t even know what a huge favor she did for me just by being there and encouraging me.