Three nights a week I run a group strength training workout class.
It’s a great workout that challenges everyone physically and mentally while pushing them to dig as deep as possible.
It’s filled with men and woman who are strong and work hard every week to keep progressing their fitness.
Awhile back I had a newbie drop into one of these classes. We will call her Karen. Karen regularly worked out somewhere else but wanted to give my group class a whirl.
I love having new folks join in as do the other members of the class.
Part way through the workout Karen looked distraught. The level of intensity these sessions bring is far beyond what she is used to and it’s not going well.
I go over to see how she’s feeling and I’m met with unhappiness.
“Jon, you have no idea how scary it is to come into a setting where you feel uncomfortable, out of your element, and feel like you can barely do it.”
Well, that’s not exactly true.
Let me tell you a little story.
For years I have done cross country mountain bike racing and a little road racing as well. I still get anxious before races, but nothing crazy.
Not the case a few weeks ago.
For the first time in years I tried a form of racing I have never done before: Cyclocross.
Cyclocross is basically a cross between mountain biking and road racing where you race on grass, sand, gravel, mud, and pavement while negotiating multiple obstacles requiring you to dismount and remount your bike.
Things like running/carrying your bike over barriers, running up stairs while shouldering your bike, running/riding through long sand pits, riding ridiculously muddy off-camber turns, jumping logs, and so on.
I was super excited to try it out, but I was nervous.
Not because I cared how good I was going to be, but because I cared what everyone was going to think of me.
I didn’t want to look like I had no idea what I was doing.
What if I tripped running over a barrier and fell in front of a group of people?
What if I didn’t know the proper technique of carrying my bike and people laughed?
What if I crashed going around a muddy corner and looked like I was a bad rider?
Just because I have raced bikes for awhile didn’t help with my confidence in this type of racing.
And just because Karen attended another workout facility on a regular basis, it didn’t help with her confidence at my gym either.
My group workout class was a new thing and it came with a lot of “what ifs”. That can be scary.
I get it.
I felt the same thing a few weeks ago.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the secret to never being nervous again, but I do have some steps you can take that will help you when pursuing something new and out of your comfort zone.
1. You WILL achieve what you are after if you commit the time, patience, and consistency
The proof is in the pudding as they say. When Karen was here I asked her if she wanted what she saw in the other attendees. Some of whom were 20 years older than her. She said “YES!”
But that’s when the work starts. Not a one of them has gotten to where they are easily. Not one. Ever.
I wish I could say it wouldn’t be a tough road and it wouldn’t take diligent hard work, but I can’t and would never gloss over that fact.
But, with time, patience, and consistency you WILL get there with the right plan.
2. There are people around you who want you to succeed.
My group workouts are full of people of varying skill levels. Some have been lifting for years and are very knowledgeable and some are only months into their journey.
But, they are good people and I can proudly say that. They are there to help and are rooting for you to succeed and push yourself to the next level.
Find a group that makes you feel this way. I know my groups feel at ease around each other and many have built great friendships from our workouts.
3. You have to suck it up and do it.
This is a tough one with no easy solution.
For Karen, if she wants to be as strong and fit as the regular class attenders
for me, if I want to be as skilled and proficient as the veteran cyclocross racers.
It won’t be comfortable, it won’t be easy, and it won’t always be fun. But, if it’s what you want, it doesn’t matter, because you WILL get there.
The one and only thing I ask of people that come to my gym is to bring me your personal best. I will push you to your limit, but again, it will be YOUR limit.
You aren’t judged against anyone else around you so the fear of what you are capable of is only relevant to doing your best.
I don’t care if that’s doing 10 pullups or ½ of a rep. If it was all you could do, you succeeded.
Comparison is an awful thing.
Stop worrying about what others are doing. They aren’t you.
The better you get, the more confident you get.
Karen is never going to feel confident at my workout class until she gets the correct training and practice under her belt.
I will never truly feel confident at a cyclocross race until I have spent a multitude of hours practicing and racing.
Remember, you WILL get there if you surround yourself with the right people and when required, you suck it up and muscle through.
If I can help you with anything at all, feel free to email me at: JwaltersPT@gmail.com
or to learn more visit: www.JonWalters.CO