Challenging Discomfort

Seriously?  I thought the worst of getting into workout mode was over!  Nope, I was wrong.

The strength class we went to last week was not at all what tonight’s class was all about and I’m going to be paying for it tomorrow.

I walked into the class confident because I made it through last weeks class with the substitute instructor, so tonight would be no problem, right?  Yeah, no.

First of all, the instructor immediately recognized that it was my first time to the class and introduced herself in front of everyone.  Nice gesture, yes, but I get nervous in groups of people I don’t know (especially when I’m about to make an ass out of myself), so I got even more nervous.  Chris was working on cardio in the equipment room, so I just had to push through and be the new girl.

Class started with some warm up cardio of marching, movements from side to side, jumping around and other stuff that required coordination, therefor making me look like an idiot.   After a few steps I got the hang of it but I felt seriously awkward.

Then, the instructor dropped a bomb:  We had to get in pairs.  No joke, my stomach sank and I felt nauseated.  I didn’t know anyone.  I’m in horrible shape.  I don’t have any coordination.  The moves are so foreign to me.  The other girls are all so much more fit than me.  I wanted to run out of the room and get rid of the uncomfortable feeling.  But, I was in the front corner, so I would have had to run through the entire class to get out, so, I stayed.

My worst fears were realized when I was paired with the only other girl in the class who could have possibly taught the class.  I was mortified.  How was I going to keep up with her and her rock hard thighs and abs in her spandex shorts and sports bra?  What a disaster.  I almost felt more sorry for her than I did myself.

The first pairs activity was facing each other doing push ups and giving a high-five in between each push up.  Turns out, my partner has bad shoulders, so she had to take it easy on the push ups.  I exhaled a little.  I did take a few breaks in between sets (three minutes of that shit is hard), but so did my partner.  She was even encouraging, and when we finished, we did a few extra push ups by themselves just for good measure.

The second pairs activity made me want to jump off a cliff and end it all.  Slide lunges.  Totally new concept to me, but you put one foot out, and the other back on a slippery disk to help your leg go behind you.  After 10, you go lower, then lower, then almost to the ground.  Eff.  Oh, and you have to pass an object while you’re doing all of this.  I can’t even rub my tummy and pat my head at the same time – WTF?!  I had a really hard time concentrating on this exercise, and it freaking hurt.  I struggled with the lunges in general, I struggled with the coordination of the movement, and I struggled keeping balance.  My partner was pretty much doing the splits effortlessly as I fought with myself to not fall over, but, I made it.

The last partner exercise, we had to get in a plank position with our asses in the air and slide the disc to one another without looking.  The point was to balance in a plank and grab the sliding disc when it was in eyesight.  My arms are still shaking from that exercise.

We did a bunch of individual stuff, too.  Lots of stuff with the body bar and dumbbells and the dreaded S word (squats), we did lots and lots of those.  I hurt worse than I have in a week which means I’m going to be in a world of hurt tomorrow.

With about ten minutes left in the class, I had made up my mind that I wasn’t going to return.  I felt horrible about myself because I couldn’t keep up 100% with the rest of the girls.  I hated the idea of facing these gym rats with infinite energy and strength again only to be the red-faced girl huffing and puffing to the side.  I just felt like I needed more time to get into better shape before tackling the class again.

But then, something happened.  We were putting our equipment away and I was thinking to myself how I couldn’t wait to get out of that classroom.  My partner approached me as I was reaching for my water bottle and told me how great it was to meet me.  She gave me lots of encouragement and said I did a great job.  This coming from rock hard thighs and abs?  I smiled.

When I put my body bar and mat away, the girl I saw in last weeks class was quick to say hi and how happy she was that I came to this weeks class.  I smiled a little more.

Rock hard thighs and abs called out as I left “So nice to see you Natalie, hope to see you again next week!”  I can’t let her down, can I?

I found Chris and told him we needed to leave before I threw up in front of my new workout friends (seriously, another one of those moments), and we headed to the car.  We saw the girl from last week again where she was even more encouraging and even offered to partner up next week.

With that much encouragement, why wouldn’t I go back?

I never thought I’d be a workout class kind of girl.  Never.  But, there is something about accountability, and motivation that you just can’t get from going in circles on the elliptical everyday.  Yeah, I’ll still do cardio on the machines, but I like the idea of adding in a class a few days a week to really help push me.  Plus, the girls are so nice and welcoming it makes the insecurities I’m facing a little easier to deal with.  It’s not always about keeping up, it’s about showing up.

Not only did tonight’s class push me physically, it pushed me even further mentally and forced me to challenge myself to be uncomfortable, and you know what?  I survived.

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One thought on “Challenging Discomfort

  1. Dont forget my friend that those girls were once new comers to the class too! :) Everyone has to start somewhere! GOOD FOR YOU! I know EXACTLY how you feel! I feel the same way. I’m working my courage up to join Yoga with my coworker. I’m terrified. I want to be in better shape but the point of the class is to put me in better shape so I might just have to make the jump! eeek! Good for you. This post made me just feel so excited and proud of you. You really are pushing yourself! I admire you. :D L O V E YOU!

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