How our brains think about trying a new workout

If you want to do a triathlon, you should already be in great physical shape. You have to be able to swim, bike, and run for hours on end without any problems. To do yoga you have to be able to twist yourself into a pretzel. If you can’t already do a headstand, don’t even bother going to class. Zumba? You shouldn’t show your face until you know all the choreography and have a professional grade dance outfit to wear while you merengue march circles around everyone else.

What we should be thinking when attempting a new workout

Why do we beat ourselves up for not being an expert at something new? As babies, we didn’t know how to do literally ANYTHING except eat, sleep, cry and go to the bathroom. As kids, we spent most of our days in a classroom learning all about subjects we had no knowledge of at the time. In young adulthood we learned even more about taking care of ourselves, building a career and growing a family. Why does this change after we become full-fledged adults? After (at least) a couple of decades on earth, you would think we would no longer fear the everyday unknown. Yet there are so many of us feeling apprehensive about trying something new, especially when it comes to physical fitness.

My own experience with overcoming an irrational yet very real fear of the unknown

I showed up early to my barre class to get my mat, weights, gliders, etc. set up and began stretching. I had been going to this particular class for months now, with the same instructor. She switched up her routine regularly but I was already comfortable with her style. But it wasn’t my regular instructor who showed up that day. We had a substitute and it was the woman who normally teaches Zumba.

My heart sank into my stomach. She seemed like a very nice person and was probably a great instructor…but Zumba was not my strong suit. I worried this new instructor would incorporate more of a “Zumba” style into the class. A little backstory…I am not a dancer. I was not born with any sort of coordination or ear for music. At this point I had tried Zumba twice and determined (after much deliberation…NOT) it just wasn’t for me.

Anyway. This lady walks in full of energy, asking us, “Are you ready for a great class?” And I have to be honest, I wasn’t. There was a big part of me that wanted to put away my mat and just go for a run or something instead. But I looked at myself in the mirror in front of me and had one of those intense, five-second heart to hearts with myself. Just because this workout wasn’t going to be what I expected did not mean I had to quit. I decided to stay and give it one hundred percent. Even if I looked like an idiot.

Because you know what? No one cares. Everyone else in that class is more focused on what they’re doing than what’s going on with me. Plus, even if I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing I could still get a great workout. Jumping around burns calories no matter what, right? I looked back on all the other things I had tried before, things that used to be “new” and were now old habits.

Was it the best workout I had ever had? No, but it was good. I was sore in a way I hadn’t been in a while which tells me, I should try new things more often! Switching up your routine can be scary, but your body and mind will be rewarded in ways you may not even know! I keep an eye out for that Zumba instructor’s name on my gym schedule now. Except instead of avoiding her class, I’ll be in the front row.