Lessons learned in the boys club
It wasnt that long ago that I walked by the weight room at the gym wishing I could go in there. No, there was no No girls allowed sign or line of spectators ready toevaluate my knowledge (or lack there of), however both felt present. What I saw in there was weights that were big and scary- that I had no idea what to do with. I saw men (who clearly knew what they were doing) and only men in there. All I knew how to do was pick up 5lb dumbbells and follow Jillian Micheals in my living room. It was one of thoseridiculousthings where you are certain everyone is going to laugh at you but in truth no one is really paying attention but you.
On the other hand I had lost 80lbs before I joined the gym, so I already knew I was capable of doing things I didnt think I was capable of. Im married, somebodys Mom and I got over being embarrassed (for the most part) sometime in between puberty and baby delivery. I am who I am. No shame. And who I am wanted really badly to walk into that weight room and do well, something awesome.
I remember the first day I conned my sister into going in there with me. We did some lunges. We asked each other what we were doing several times. I cant say that that day I felt like much of a bad ass. It is entirely possible that we looked like nerds. But we kept going back.
My sister knew someone who designed us a basic total body weight program and we gave it a shot. We had to ask what some of the things were and sometimes someone would stop one of us and tell us we were doing something wrong. But damnit, we were trying.
A whole world was opened up to me *cue Disney music*. I started reading womens weight lifting magazines (did you know there was such a thing? I didnt) and then books and then much like my tireless nutrition studies started learning the mechanics of weight lifting. I also fell in love which I have talked about before. Besides finding inner strength and feeling like a bad ass for one moment in my day, Ive learned some other things in that room Id like to share today..
1) No one is watching you. Seriously. Anyone who will spend any amount of their daycriticizingyou is so seriously insecure its sad. Feel badly for anyone who wastes time thinking you look silly and realize you wouldnt wonder what people thought of you if you knew how seldom they ever do. So whatever your weight room is, walk in there head held high, possibly make an ass of yourself and do it again. Until you get awesome. There is no good reason to sit on the sidelines because no one gets out of life alive.
2) Perception is reality. It turns out there are women in the weight room. I keep thinking that there are more now but I think I just couldnt see them before. It didnt fit into my perception. We spend a lot of time looking for proof that our perceptions are correct, so much so that we rarely consider our perceptions could be flawed.
This happens with people a lot. Ever meet someone you had heard wonderful or horrible things about that didnt quite measure up to the last persons thoughts. Try to find all the wonderful/horrible things? Look for things that werent there? Most times people are unfairly judged by all of us because our perceptions get in the way, rather they stem from gossip, known details, differences or just our own insecurity.
(Sidenote: this is where all that stuff about knowing you are beautiful comes in handy: the sad and hopeful truth about women.)
Challenging your own perception isnt about being right or wrong. Its about being open to the possibility that things could be much more awesome than you first had thought. Though, if you follow the thought that perception is reality you might just make your life more awesome by just considering it already is. Woah.
3) Whatever it is you think you cant do that thing you would do if you knew you couldnt fail? The dream that seems a tad too big for little old you? It might just be what you were made to do. Thats not to say that Im some kind of superhuman weight lifting machine now. Im not headed to the olympics, by TMZ standards I dont have the perfect body and I dont know everything there is to know about fitness. But I really love what I do. Truly. And I never could have made this career change without stepping way outside my comfort zone. Hell, it took me a long time to stop reaching to the back of the rack for a pant size and let my head catch up with my body. So to go from feeling fat from the age of four to being a personal trainer was quite the leap.
Anyway, the point is that the posters with the waterfalls and crap on teachers walls in high school were right: all that dream it, do it stuff. Live out loud, chase your dreams stuff turns out it was pretty on point.
4) I think this has really only set in recently: You have to prioritize yourself. I realize most times you wont be number one. I know, Im a wife/Mom/sister/daughter/friend/employee/business owner etc. There are lots of things that often require our immediate attention. But if you are all a mess (because youve neglected to take care of yourself) then what kind of energy can you possibly put into these other things? Messy energy. Energy that is a mess.
I know I probably just made you mad. You might currently be running down the list of reasons you cant possibly find the time to do anything for yourself. And some days that may just be the case. But I finally learned how to do things for me, often hit the weights but sometimes get a pedicure, treat myself to coffee or go out with friends. When I set aside time to care for myself it makes caring for everyone and everything else that much easier. I feel lighter. I can walk into challenging situations with a clear head and give positive energy to people around me. Or at least I have a hell of a lot better chance of doing so.
5) They dont know what they are doing either. Some folks appear more confident than others there are all kinds of variables. But when it comes to living your best life, were all just giving it our best shot. In new situations be it fitness related, becoming a new Mom, meeting new people- it sometimes feels like everyone else has it easier. Other people always seem to have it down where you struggle. Were all doing our best. We all worry that sometimes our best isnt quite good enough and there is somesolacein knowing that it isnt just you who feels that way. It makes it easier to keep pushing to do a little better because its all any of us can do.
I know none of this is brand new information. This is stuff youve read/heard/thought before. But I dont think the problem is that we dont know how to be happier, its that we need to be reminded. We all need gentle pushes to get outside of the murky stuff that can sometimes cloud our minds and into the good stuff. Sometimes we just need a little reminder that we can be the person we aspire to be, we already are.
Next time I will be talking about some food I ate and giving away a gift card. Totally different. =)