When you are new to working out it can be very difficult. There are so many thoughts going through your mind, lots of new information coming at you at once and sometimes even just the thought of working out can bring on stress and anxiety.
I want to tell you that I was once in the same boat as you. I know how it feels to walk into the gym and think, “I don’t belong here – I have no idea what I’m doing.” When you look around and everyone seems naturally fit don’t be fooled like I was. They have been working hard for that – it is not just good genes.
For others of you who have been going to the gym for a while it could be difficult for you because many of us have been working really hard, and we've accomplished some really tough goals. Remember that you haven’t necessarily seen our struggle and what we have done or gone through to get to that particular moment. You don’t know that even in that very second we might be doubting ourselves and wondering when things are going to click. Instead you may be thinking, "Oh my gosh, I'll never get to that level," or, "Ah, they must just look fit. I don't know how they do it."
I want to share a story with you. A really good friend of mine who I've known for over 20 years reached out to me for advice. She is 67 and we share the same birthday. She called me one day and said that she just started CrossFit, and she wanted to ask my advice because it was so hard and she was struggling.
I asked her, "How long have you been doing CrossFit?" "Four weeks", she replied as if that were an eternity and trust me, I know it feels like it is. And I said, "Well, first of all, thanks for reaching out. I've been doing CrossFit for nine years and it's still hard." She was shocked. I shared with her that just that morning I had my butt handed to me in a workout and I was dead last, wasn't able to breathe really well and was having a really tough time. That happens a lot. It's not just because of who shows up that day, or I'm having a bad day. It could be anything. My body is different every day. I encouraged her to take it a day at a time. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, right?
I know we're not perfect and we're going to have days that are great, and you're like, "Yes, that was the best workout ever. I crushed it," and other days where it just crushes you and it makes you want to cry and it's hard. When that happens know that it is temporary.
Please don’t quit because that moment is where champions are made. I don’t mean you are always going to come in first. That may or may not happen. What I mean is that it takes a certain mindset, heart and guts to be a champion. Stick with it, show up, give it your all and you will get there. Basically, get back up even if a friend has to help get you off the floor. There will come a day when you will tackle whatever is thrown at you. It won’t be easy, you may be afraid and when you are done you will say, “Wow, I can’t believe I actually did that.”
I think we need to be more forgiving and easier on ourselves. Our bodies are different every single day. Some days I feel really strong and other days I do not. Sometimes I feel like I want to throw up or cry, and sometimes I do cry. I come home, and I don't let myself stay there very long where if I start to have that, "Oh, I did really bad today, and what's wrong with me?" No. I stop! I think of the things that I have accomplished and just move on to the next day, because I went, I showed up. There was a time when I didn't go to the gym at all. So any day that I go is a great day, no matter how hard it is. I just wanted to share because I'm sure some of you are feeling like, "Oh, I went and it was so hard I don't know if I can go back." I want to encourage you, please keep going. You don't have to go every day but you have to go.
When I started, I went to the gym every other day, and that worked for me. And then I moved up and my goal was getting one to three times in a week. So if I went one time, that happened and oh well. Next week I focused again and worked on getting my three days. But I kept going back. The key is to stay consistent. You will make mistakes and that is ok. Get back up and do it again. Like my friend, Marcus Aurelius Anderson, says, "Adversity is a Gift." (He wrote a great book called The Gift of Adversity, by the way).
The only bad workout is the one you didn’t do.