Thinking about trying out or getting back into some fitness classes? Great! Before I started my fitness journey about 5 years ago, classes were something I was pretty weary of. Gym membership – even more so. Running, swimming or cycling? Nope!
Thinking back to my greatest fear – it was probably that everyone would look at me and my inability to keep up or join in with what they were doing. It was very much a case of me having the confidence to attend a class rather than wanting or needing to go.
I tried out a couple of local classes, and eventually found a Zumba Fitness class in a local school hall one evening a week that I enjoyed. As I suspected, I was totally incapable of keeping up or remembering the moves! But the music was good, and it was nice to get out of the house, so I continued going. I was strong willed enough to stop if needed or go slower than the rest, and the majority of my confidence came about because my chosen spot was right at the back in the corner of the hall.
What I quickly realised that if class members do look at you it’s out of concern rather than judgement – they’re looking out for you, or simply trying to say hi! Not only that but just because I couldn’t master the moves, the pace and the movement when I started out it didn’t mean that would stay the case – after about 6 classes I suddenly began to find it all slightly easier, I started feeling slightly better, and I started getting slightly stronger.
OK so we all know that when we work out we look awful – sweaty hot and red… but that’s good! As the saying goes, sweat now, smile later. Yes, we look crap in gym clothes – who cares? Buy a baggy top. Avoid patterned leggings. Plain black leggings are one of the greatest creations known to man!
Got no money? Fine! Take a long walk, get hot and sweaty, then find some stairs and climb them and run back down as many times as you can. Next time, attack the stairs more times than before. Keep building on what you managed last time. Hold a bottle of water or a dumbbell to your chest as you climb for extra weight.
There are so many ways we can kickstart a fitness journey, it doesn’t have to be as prescriptive as joining a gym, monthly fees, guilt for not attending, wall-to-wall mirrors reflecting your efforts (and everyone else’s) from every angle. It doesn’t need to be “today I’m running 5km… oh bum it’s started to rain”. It also really shouldn’t be “Right, I’m on a calorie controlled diet, plus no alcohol, no carbs and I’m working out 4 times a week!”
Maybe what it should be is a gradual easing in to making working out a regular, fun activity that can be built on as time goes by. That approach worked for me, and I’m so glad it did.
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