Perhaps one of the saddest things I have seen, is a person failing to really live their life, simply out of fear. Fear is something we all live with. Fear of spiders, heights, snakes, fire, elevators, and the list goes on. While we all have some fear, the real trick to enjoying life is how we deal with it. Fear can be healthy as it forces us to be cautious when doing certain things, but fears that simply debilitate us must be overcome if we are going to truly enjoy life. In fact, overcoming fear is liberating.
While you may never conquer a fear such as skydiving, it is the more common fear that we need to focus on. I have talked with clients that previously had never done weight training, because of fear. It was the fear of “not knowing what to do,” or even worse a fear of “what other’s would think.” Without conquering this type of fear, we sell our selves short. We miss out on life simply because we cannot move out of our comfort zone.
Look, none of us that weight train started out knowing what we were doing. We all had to get guidance from magazines, our friends, a trainer or some other source to gain the knowledge to do it on our own. There is no shame in that! That is how we learn everything in life, so why should weight training be any different?
Now, let’s look at what others think of you. I have two answers for this. Number one is that most people in the gym, DON’T care about you. They are in the gym to get in their own workout and probably pay you know mind at all. Now number two is as follows. Why should WE care what other’s think? WE are in the gym to get our own workout in. That’s the point! Who really cares what THEY think!
I will offer this to those that may want to start something new, but has yet to begin because of fear. Those of us that DO train will respect you whether you are a beginner or an elite level athlete. You see we recognize that we were once just like you! We were intimidated by all of the crazy stuff in the gym just like you and realize the courage it takes to face new challenges. We have been there!
On a personal note, I started lifting in the fifth grade with some old plastic weights my brother had lying around. I was probably a whopping 80 pounds at the time. Now, I first went to the gym with my brother when I was in the 8th grade. By this time, I was a whopping 100 pounds! Intimidated? Yep! At the time the Nautilus gym we went to, had machines that I was way too small for. I actually had to stack three booster seats on them so I could reach the handles. While I was certainly no Hercules at the time, I knew what I wanted and went for it. Yes, I felt a little out of my league and the men in the gym may have chuckled a little, but my fear was transformed into a new way of life.
Yes, you may see some people chuckle or snicker at you. This is life. What I have learned however, is that it is those that are most negative who are dealing with their own fears. You see, they fear what others think of THEM! They are they ones that fear judgment by others, so it is easier for them to deflect their own insecurities upon someone else. Pay them no mind. Certainly true brothers of iron and sisters of steel don’t! Their opinions do not matter.
Recently I have switched some of my clients to cardio style kickboxing as a way to improve not only their cardio but to give them some self defense skills as well. Fear? I can say that for many their was certainly some fear with this change. Hitting things is not something everyone is used to, so apprehension is natural. What I have observed however, has been a wonderful change in everyone! Each accepted the challenge. Each sputtered and struggled in their own way as they continued to learn the new techniques, but each pressed on despite the uneasy feeling that can accompany this newness.
The result is not surprising. As they learn and improve, the smile grows upon their faces. The smile that comes from conquering the rythm required to work the speed bag or the techniques used to master the one-two punch.
Fear should not be your downfall. Respect fear, but look at it as a challenge. A challenge to be conquered. I have been faced with various types of fear throughout my life, but in some way have come to love it. There is no greater feeling than winning the battle against your own insecurities. Living is growing! As Franklin D. Roosevelt stated in his inauguration speech in 1933, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Train hard, and move away from you comfort zone. After all, that is where real living occurs!