Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Battling Gym Anxiety

Gym anxiety is a real thing, and something that stops a lot of people from working out. I'll be honest, the gym doesn't make me anxious, but group exercise classes do. At the gym, no one is paying much attention to you (unless you're hogging the leg press because your facebooking instead of pressing), but group fitness classes are a whole different ballgame. There are mirrors everywhere and, yeah, everyone is focusing on their own workout but you're lying if you say you've never compared your form to the girl next to you. Maybe this is a holdover from when I was a heavier, but I still feel very self conscious in group classes. 

So last week I got ClassPass, which means my entire workout regimen now revolves around group classes. I was so psyched to get started, but the more I pored over the class listings, the more anxiety and a little bit of dread started to set in: what if I'm the worst? What if I struggle? What if the instructor calls me out? What if I'm wearing the wrong clothes? What if I'm sweating more than everyone else? What if I can't keep up? 

I started small (hah!) with a 90-minute Beginners Bikram Yoga class. It was at a studio where I'd never been and knew no one, so at least if I was terrible I'd never have to see these people again. And you know what? I wasn't the worst. And no one cared that I had broken into a sweat before we even finished the warmup breathing. And no one cared when I had to do child's pose stead of standing one leg foot grab (that's the technical name) because I started to feel like I was dying a little bit from it being eleventy billion degrees in there ohmygoditwassohot. 


So then the next day I took a class at Flirty Girl Fitness, bracing myself for the worst. And guess what? Nothing bad happened (except to my booty - so much soreness). Sure there were some moments of awkward flailing, but everyone else was just as focused on trying to keep the beat as I was, and no one cared if I messed up. 

And then yesterday I went to a Piloxing class, which I thought would be pilates + kickboxing and which ended up being a lot more hip hop than the YouTube video I watched. Any combination of movements that is faster paced than yoga is a challenge for me, so you can imagine my horror when we started doing body rolls like hiphop dancers DURING THE WARMUP. I may never recover from watching myself dance in a full length mirror in the sober light of day. God bless the instructor for keeping a straight face throughout the class. But guess what? It still didn't suck! 

Me.

I'm not saying I've kicked group exercise class anxiety completely, but I'm saying that every time I sign up for a new class, I'm one step closer to shutting down those anxious voices entirely. There are times where I think I don't give myself enough credit with how far I've come fitness-wise. I'm not 230lbs anymore, but mentally I sometimes still struggle with that. I just keep reminding myself that if I want to reach my goals, I need to push myself, both mentally and physically. This is that push.



How do you push yourself out of your comfort zone?

Do you want to read (short) reviews of all the classes I try or is that boring?

13 comments:

  1. I'd love to hear about the classes you take!

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  2. Desiree Penton MarshallJanuary 20, 2015 at 7:32 AM

    Love this post! Yep, I have that same anxiety but playing tennis and doing clinics with a zillion other people (sometimes) really helped break me out of that phobia too. (and I'd love to hear about those classes!)

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  3. I totally have fitness class anxiety, to the max!! I won't even take my personal trainer's lifting class and something tells me I probably know ALL the moves! You're my hero!

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  4. You should, you should! I was actually the worst in barre class this morning, but it's kindof empowering to just be like "I suck at this. So what?! I'm still getting a good workout!"

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  5. I bet-- I'm awful at tennis, but power to you for sticking with it!! I'm sure you feel so much more comfortable now that you've been doing it for awhile!

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  6. Perfect GIF usage! Also this is something I struggle with as well. Great post!

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  7. LOVE this. I struggle with a lot of the same fears, but I need to remember I'm not that 200 pound girl anymore. :)

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  8. I totally have anxiety when it comes to trying a group fitness class. I am terrified to take a class for the first time by myself. Thankfully my mom has invited me to try classes with her. I tried Zumba and knew it wasn't my thing but Body Pump totally is. If it wasn't for my mom I wouldn't have tried either and would always continue to wonder "what if...". And I too am fine with hitting the gym because like you said, no one is paying attention to me and they don't know what I should be doing because they don't know my plan.


    I would be interested in reading reviews of the classes you've been trying.

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  9. It's very intimidating, but I'm glad you found Body Pump! How's it going? Does your gym offer other classes besides that? After my accidental dance class mishap, you definitely won't find me in a Zumba class anytime soon :)

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  10. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one! Have you done many group classes in Chicago? I'm so curious to hear everyone's experiences now!

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  11. Stay tuned for some epic stories about how I've tortured myself all week ;)

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  12. My gym does offer other classes. I actually have a bunch of free one-time passes that I can use with someone to try out all of the classes offered. I am definitely going to be looking into when they're offered to see if I can give them a try.

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