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Comfortable With Uncomfortable

I want to talk about what intimidates me, makes me question myself, and pushes me outside my comfort zone. When I started to take a variety of boutique fitness classes (i.e. indoor cycling, barre, dance cardio, TRX), I had a few people tell me they were nervous to try some of them. Most of the classes I take either involve some sort of dance influence or primarily use your own body weight. They remind me of my dance background. While they definitely keep me in shape, there are more hardcore athletic workouts that intimidate me. Think Barry’s Bootcamp and Fhitting Room. I grew up saying “I’m a dancer, not an athlete,” which was wrong on so many levels. I knew I was in great shape but assumed that not being on a sports team held me back from exercising like a true athlete. Honestly, a tiny part of me still thinks like that. After months of taking group classes, I think it’s time that I realize I am an athlete. In the next month, you’ll be seeing reviews from both of these studios.

About a month ago, a sorority sister from college posted a Facebook status about this very topic–pushing past her comfort zone to embrace group fitness. Keep reading for Blair’s perspective:

Max_DePree_Quote

“Years ago, I worked at a small gym in the childcare department. I spent over 20 hours a week at the gym working, and another 10 or so working out. I was in great shape, and very comfortable at the gym. (Those two statements were more related than I knew at the time.) I was friendly with all the employees and many of the members. I was familiar with the fitness classes, and became a weekly attendee at a few. Truth be told, the gym became my home away from home.

Fast forward to my freshman year of college, when I was the youngest (literally the youngest at the entire school) person around, and quite intimidated by the upperclassmen. While I had once assumed that working out would easily become a frequent college activity for me, I soon realized that the college gym didn’t have the same sense of familiarity as what I was used to. Still, I signed up for a Group Fitness membership for the year, looked over the classes, and chose a few to try. All nine months of the school year ticked by and I never attended one class. I was nervous, intimidated, and uncomfortable. My college years flew by and I graduated without ever having tried a single class. Not a single one!

Once I graduated from college, I moved across the country to Austin, Texas. Living on my own, not knowing anyone, and working 9-5, it was an easy decision to join the local gym. I needed to move my body after being chained to my desk all day and I needed something to do once I got off work. Much like college, I had every intention of taking advantage of the Group Fitness classes the gym had to offer (which are extensive, spanning from Aqua to Fitness Pilates to Cardio Kickboxing), but allowed that same fear and discomfort to discourage me from trying. Finally, one Tuesday evening, I had enough of my self-doubt and insecurity about something as trivial as a Group X class. Everyone here went to their first class at some point. I have nothing to lose. I marched into the room, butterflies in my stomach, and reminded myself it’s only an hour, Blair. One hour. Get over yourself and just do it!

In an attempt to ease my nerves, I introduced myself to a kind looking woman sitting behind me, also waiting for the class to start. She helped me gather the necessary equipment for the hour of FIT (Functional Integrated Training), and made easy conversation until the instructor started the class. The next 60 minutes went by, my anxiety dissolved, and I got a fantastic workout. I left feeling like a conquerer. My Group Fitness experience has taught me many things, but namely this: that fear is not worthy of having a place in my life, that people are warm and kind when you give them the chance, and that it’s up to me to find pockets of comfort in the world, places where I can thrive. I’d write more, but I’m off to Strictly Strength!”

What type of workout intimidates you most? How do you face your discomfort?

Background Image via Jillian Thoman

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13 Comments

  • Reply Molly Dillon

    Great post Ev, and love the words from Blair too! Nice reminder for us all.

    September 18, 2013 at 3:43 pm
    • Reply evannclingan

      Thank you, Molly! Blair and I had fun writing it together.

      September 18, 2013 at 6:02 pm
  • Reply Kayla in the City

    I know how you feel, I’m a personal trainer and group fitness junkie yet I’m still too nervous to try a Barry’s Bootcamp class! I cannot say enough nice things about The Fhitting Room. The classes may be tough but they will take good care of you!

    September 18, 2013 at 9:13 pm
    • Reply evannclingan

      Good to know I’m not the only person intimidated by Barry’s! I’m going to give it a shot once this month. Oddly, it’s the treadmills that intimidate me the most haha. I’ve been in contact with The Fhitting Room and am taking a class on Monday. Can’t wait!

      September 19, 2013 at 12:44 pm
      • Reply Kayla in the City

        can’t wait to hear what you think about the fhitting room
        it’s the treadmills that scare me as well! One of these days I’m going to swallow my fear and sign up for a class…..

        September 20, 2013 at 10:42 pm
        • Reply evannclingan

          I’m planning to do Barry’s next week sometime. I’ll let you know how Fhitting Room goes tomorrow. I’m posting a review of it later in the week.

          September 22, 2013 at 7:58 pm
      • Reply Kayla in the City

        also… unrelated but did you take a class at Flywheel Flatiron recently? I work front desk and think I showed you around, hope you enjoyed the class!

        September 20, 2013 at 10:44 pm
        • Reply evannclingan

          Oh my gosh, I did! I was there last weekend for FlyBarre. I wish I would have made that connection. I’m going to a 6am FlyBarre this week. I’ll keep a lookout for you, so I can properly say hello. :) Absolutely love the Flywheel team, by the way.

          September 22, 2013 at 7:57 pm
  • Reply Allison

    I’ve always been a little intimidated by a traditional gym setting. I assumed it was because I was always a scrawny little thing and thought I didn’t “belong” there. Which is, of course, ridiculous. Several months ago I finally tried out a Zumba class and I absolutely love it! I’ll be sad to miss it after we move in the next couple of weeks!

    September 20, 2013 at 12:28 pm
    • Reply evannclingan

      I think the gym environment in general can be very intimidating for newbies. Good for you for jumping in to Zumba! You’ll have to try out a gym in your new area. I think group fitness could be a great way to meet people.

      September 22, 2013 at 8:00 pm
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