Saturday, September 27, 2014

Gym-Trepidation...It's Real, It's Ugly And We're Going to Squash It

Recently, I had a conversation with someone who said they prefer to work out at home alone, stating they are fearful of all the gym equipment. I thought "Ya, no joke!" I decided most people  feel at least a little timid at the gym, no matter what they look like. I think it's mostly the notion that people are watching and/or judging you. But I also think you can turn that around and begin to LOVE that people are watching you. Let's get to business and make some tweaks to help you destroy that fear and trample over some fitness goals.
How can we get over that fear so we can reach our dreams?  I am a HUGE believer that what you do in the gym (or during your work outs if you don't do the gym) is symbolic for what you do in life. How often do you push yourself out of your comfort zone? When you start moving away from your current comfort level at the gym, you get stronger emotionally and physically.  Now imagine what you can do outside the gym with that new strength.

One of my favorite quotes I heard at my first Tough Mudder was, "When was the Last time you did something for the First time?" Doing things for the first time can be scary, no doubt there, but the longer/more you do them, the less scary they become. And it all starts with the first time. Was I scared before my first Tough Mudder? You betcha! All the better rewards though because I faced that fear head on. 

I feel very firmly that when you stretch out of your comfort zone, your excess body weight magically falls off. Fat on our body serves as a protector for us, keeping us nice and warm and safe...But it doesn't allow us to grow and move passed our fear. It's kind of like the over-protective mother who smothers you with love when you fall off your bike. Then, Instead of brushing you off and getting you back on the bike, she takes the bike away. 

Sometimes you need to be a little uncomfortable to get what you REALLY want. And I know you really want to be fit and get rid of the excess weight that haunts you. Don't forget the gym can be the medium that gets you there. Now, what are you willing to do to get it? When you want it bad enough, nothing can stop you. What if facing your gym fear was all that was holding you back from reaching your goals? 

Curtail fear of the gym:
 (for use in your arsenal)

1. Plan your workouts in advance. Know before you go in there what you are going to work on. Make it outside your comfort zone, even just a little. Baby steps are OK!

2. Testosterone building. Ever heard of the wonder woman pose? Turns out it actually builds testosterone (testosterone=confidence - I freakin' LOVE you, testosterone.) Hold this pose for two minutes. Use that two minutes to face a mirror and repeat some positive self talk. Testosterone is for us girls too, don't think the boys get to have all the fun! Testosterone makes you feel happy,energetic and confident. A fun read about what testosterone can do for you here.
(I am strong, I am powerful, I am hot, I am fearless, etc.) 

                                            An excellent video on body language. Ted Talks

3. Walk into the gym with a SMILE! Smile some of that yucky cortisol away. A smile never looks bad on anyone, trust me. A study showing smiling reduces cortisol and lowers your heart rate. Good for the old ticker=good for me!

image4. Run or walk to the gym! Open up your energy channels, take deep refreshing breaths to expand your lungs and allow those endorphins to help you feel warm fuzzies inside

5. Try some cedarwood essential oil on your wrist. It's an essential oil that is known to increase courage while giving you self confidence and strength. Apply a drop or two to your wrist and be prepared to casually take a whiff when you feel intimidated

6. Laugh it off. Everyone feels a little timid trying new things, being in a new place around new faces. We’re human. Just know that the way you feel about the gym is the way someone else has felt before you. But the key here is to FOCUS on your goals. You’re at the gym to lose weight, look better, make friends? Well do that. 

7. We learn so much from our dogs. Downward dog yoga poses helps to ground us and ease anxiety. Try this before or while at the gym.