They say you should do one thing every day that scares you, and if I know one thing for sure about myself it’s that I hate to be in a position where I am brand new and need to figure things out. The one particular scenario that scared me most were workout classes. I used to psych myself out with dreaded thoughts like, “What if I can’t keep up” or “What if I look dumb,” and completely refused to try out any class, until one day I had another thought: what if all of this is just in my head?
One day last March, I decided that it was time to face my fears. I signed up for a cycling class. It seemed low stakes enough because it was on a Saturday morning and was walking distance from my apartment. I nervously walked in to the studio and announced, “Hi, I’m new, I’ve never been here before.” The people at the front gave me the grand tour of the studio and helped me get situated on the bike. But, as it turned out, there were a lot of other new people taking the same class that I was in. That’s when I realized people try out new things all the time and it’s okay if you are not great at something the first time you do it—what matters is you’re giving yourself a try. As it turns out, I really enjoy cycling, and I was excited to see what other classes I could try out.
The next class I really wanted to try out was barre. The thing that terrified me about that class was that I felt my workout clothes were not up to par, which sounds ridiculous. I used to do at-home pilates and would wear whatever I wanted, but I knew at barre classes, these girls owned expensive workout gear from lululemon. I invested in a couple of workout tops from Sweaty Betty to start and signed myself up. Now that I’ve taken class, I get why it’s better to work out in a group setting versus alone at home: you push yourself to want to keep up with everyone else and keep pushing yourself to do a little better.
Of course, not everything will go your way, but it’s an important lesson to learn. I tried out a specific “boot camp” type of class where you run on the treadmill half the time and do rowing and floor exercises for the other. I didn’t feel that the trainers did a good job of explaining the structure of the class. At one point, I felt so flustered because I knew everything I was doing was wrong and I felt like I wanted to cry because I was frustrated with myself for not grasping it right away. At the end of the class, you were given a score based on your heart rate, and the trainer explained to me that although I burned a lot of calories, I did not do as well because I should’ve started the class with a faster heart rate than end the class that way. I left feeling discouraged. But, I did something I did not expect to do: I signed myself up for another class. This time around was a bit better and I felt more confident in what I was doing. Will I go back again? Maybe. Would I try out another boot camp class or another location from this same studio to see if that format is any better? Possibly. The point is you’ll never know unless you give yourself a try.