I have had numerous conversations with women on why it is so hard for them to start going to the gym or doing contact activities (Jiu Jitsu/ Kickboxing etc).I have been involved in sports and exercise almost all of my life. The gym has never been anything but home for me. I could never relate and understand why it was so hard to start something new until I started working with a personal trainer. Now I am doing exercises and movements I have either avoided in the gym, or have never done before. I am officially a “Newb” in the gym, and cannot relate more to these women I have spoken with in the past. I never been so uncomfortable in my life! I wanted to share a few helpful suggestions on how to overcome and feel better when trying something new.
It is easy to feel like someone is watching you, especially if you are trying something new. Most likely someone probably is. When this happens, the best advice I can give is to own it and keep doing what you planned on doing. The more I focus in on myself and completing my tasks, the less I am distracted by others. When I really do not know what I am doing, either I ask, or recently I started to film myself doing an exercise and would send it to my trainer. Practice makes perfect and if you do not practice, you will never make perfect. Try, try, try, and leave out the extra nonsense of focusing on the person you think is focusing on you. If you are new to Jiu Jitsu or another art, the cool thing about these places is everyone has been where you are. Everyone is happy to help. Martial Arts gyms are about family and everyone wants to make you better. Choose someone who you are comfortable asking questions, and who is comfortable answering them. Most of those people enjoy helping you grow and learn new things.
The Guy Thing
Many women are curious and want to learn some stand up and/ or ground technique, especially for self-defense. A big concern I have heard: these types of activities are usually dominated by men. However, there is hope! Many classes today have “women’s only” programs available. If you are stuck with guys, do not hesitate to talk to your instructor for the right partner. Encounters are close, but in my personal experience, everyone has always been respectful of boundaries. In addition, go at your own pace. Do not be afraid to tell your partner you only want to drill or practice technique. Everyone has their reasons why they are on the mats, and like I said before, they are there to make each other better.
Consistency Creates Habit
Anytime I am having to start a new program, the biggest problem is adjusting to the schedule. I have to tell myself to give it time. Once I get into the flow, I feel so much better. I give myself four weeks to lock in the new adjustment, and the another four until I start seeing progress, so be patient!
Everyone has a “wish list” and if one on that list involves the previous above, what are you waiting on? Take a deep breath, and get out there. My coach always told me, “It is okay to be disappointed, but it is not okay to regret”. It might be hard and uncomfortable at first, but when you face fear in the face, it will back down right before your eyes.