Thursday, May 24, 2012

Getting Past the Fear

I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve recently joined a gym.  As I’ve lost weight, I promised myself that when I reached 100 pounds lost, I would look to join some kind of fitness center.  I recognize the importance of exercise, and the need to strengthen and tone as I continue moving forward in my progress.  A couple of weeks ago, around the time I hit the 97 pound mark, I received a flyer in my mail from a local gym that was offering incentives for women to join their new women’s fitness program.  I figured I was close enough to my first big goal to go ahead and check it out.

I felt great about signing up and taking out my membership with the gym!  I was confident going in to my first meeting with the trainer that this was the right program for me and that it had come along at the perfect time.  My first workout with the trainer went really well, as he walked me through the weight training machines I was to start with and gave me instructions about the cardio work I was to do.  That first meeting was on a Saturday, early afternoon, and the gym was relatively empty, so I wasn’t the least bit stressed about any of it, and was excited to really get going with it.

Two days later, on Monday, I pulled into the gym parking lot after work, around 4:30pm and gasped when I saw around 40-50 cars in the parking lot!  My only reservation about joining a gym was facing my greatest workout fear…exercising in a packed, co-ed gym…and that was what I was about to walk in to, on my very first workout without my trainer!

I sat in the car for a few minutes debating whether I would even go in or not.  I seriously contemplated just going home and coming back early the next morning before work instead, hoping it would be less crowded then.  I prayed for the courage to get past my fear, took a deep breath and headed in.  I rationalized that I could always leave if I couldn’t handle it.

Although I’m supposed to do my weight training first, there were several people already in the circuit area, so instead, I hopped onto a treadmill to do cardio.  While I was on the treadmill for 30 minutes, I realized that more and more people were coming in as it passed 5pm and folks were getting off of work.  I kept telling myself that I would just leave when I finished the treadmill and I’d skip the weight training for the day.  Out of curiosity, I went back to the circuit area one more time before I left to see if there was any chance it had cleared out any, and instead, not only were there more people back there, but there was also a class going on next to that area as well.

That was the moment where I knew I was at a crossroad and my decision would affect the way I approached the gym from then on.  I forced myself to go ahead and do my weight training, and to not pay any attention to anyone else around me.  By the time I finished, I felt victorious!  Not only was I satisfied with my workout, but even more, I faced my fear, pushed past it, and won!  In the two weeks since then, I have looked forward to every visit to the gym, and actually found myself smiling and greeting other people I see there regularly.  Intimidation is a thing of the past!

We all face fears.  Experiencing fear isn’t wrong; it’s going to happen from time to time.  It’s what you do with that fear that is important.  You can choose to let your fears paralyze you and rob you of an experience, or of your joy, or of your peace of mind…or of your future.  Or, you can choose to find the irrationalities that are embedded in each fear, counter them with the truth, and find success.  Sometimes, the things you push yourself to do, despite your fears, lead you to your greatest accomplishments!

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