Conquering Physical Fears

March 27, 2012

PhotobucketThis post could also be titled: How the StepMill changed my life.

Last week my friend from college, Lyzi, posted a piece about feeling body conscious and specifically feeling self-conscious when exercising on her new collaborative blog Serving Tea to Friends. This post really hit home for me because I have been conscious of my own attempts at physical activity since I can remember. I loathed PE in middle and high school because I was slow, uncoordinated, overweight and awkward. These feelings definitely have translated into my adult life and have been difficult to overcome through my weight loss thus far. Even now that I have worked my way up to running and using the gym daily, I still have some pretty big fears I’ve yet to overcome (I’m looking at you pull-ups). However, this weekend I finally conquered one of them: the StepMill.

There is a reason this piece of cardio equipment is rarely occupied at my gym; the thing is effing brutal. Lyndsi asked me if I’d ever tried it at our last session, and suggested I try a modest 20 minutes on the fat burner setting at a level 5–the machine offers levels 1-20, so 5 really isn’t that intimidating. And, because Lyndsi is both adorable and scary simultaneously, I agreed. I’m proud to say I made it, barely. I have literally NEVER sweat that much in 20 minutes in my life, ever.

More importantly, though, I felt like I conquered something within myself. It’s the same feeling I experienced when I jogged my running loop without any walking breaks for the first time. It’s this indescribable feeling of accomplishment that can only be achieved by doing something you honestly believed you couldn’t do. There are a few more exercises I know in time I’ll work up to feeling comfortable doing, and I’m sure more will surface as my journey goes along.

So, in response to Lyzi, thank you for posting such an honest account of your experience. If I can give you any sort of advise, try to recognize those things that make you uncomfortable, like doing the V-sits and feeling awkward and push yourself to keep trying them. I often try new exercises, especially floor exercises, where I hate the way it feels/looks, but the more I do it, the more comfortable I am. Not only do I grow more comfortable with those specific tasks, but also with my body in general. In my opinion nothing in the entire world feels better than proving to yourself that you are stronger than you thought.

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