I walked into my old hometown gym, a place I have been probably just shy of a million times and my stomach turned as I grabbed onto my gym bag and gave the man at the counter my guest pass for the day. I walked across the aisle in the middle of the weight room (more like scurried) to the cubbies on the other side. I felt like everyone was staring at me and completely out of place.
In retrospect, I thought how ridiculous? A majority of my time is spent working, living and lifting in a gym. I might as well bring a mattress and bunk up in the back next to the Pine Sol so I could save on gas every night from driving home. The gym doesn’t make me nervous…or at least I thought it didn’t.
This was very eye opening for me. Although I don’t think I am a very self-conscious person, at this moment (and other moments where I walk into any new weight room) I felt so self-conscious. Which got me thinking…if I, as a person who spends 99.9% of my time in a gym on a regular basis gets nervous and scared to walk into an unfamiliar weight room, how scary and intimidating walking into ANY weight room might be for the first time. Which got me to thinking more. Who cares? Own that shit.
Here are my three reasons why, no matter the circumstance, you should always own it and never be afraid to try new things, experience new places and especially go back to your hometown gym and show them who the new boss lady in town is.
Everyone else is too busy worried about themselves to pay any attention to you
We’ve all been there before…waiting patiently for our turn “under the spotlight” with butterflies in our stomachs anticipating the end. As a child, I experienced this every time I performed the piano in front of an audience. As an adolescent it was having to give speeches or presentations in front of my class. And now, as an adult it’s speaking up at work meetings, going new places and apparently lifting at an otherwise unfamiliar gym. The actual reality of these situations though is that everyone is far too worried about how they’re about to play the piano or how their presentation is going to go and how others will receive them in a new situation to care, even a little bit, about your insecurities.
As I carefully laid out my chalk as I was gearing up for deadlifts, hoping no one would notice the white residue I left on the black rubber floor, I realized no one really cared about what I was doing. The bros in the back were too busy trying to out-do each other on the leg press and none of the trainers or workers had anything to say to me because I was just doing my thing.
Be confident in whatever it is you’re doing and no one will second guess or call attention to your bench arch, plate crashing and bare-foot tendencies in a corporate gym. No one said one word to me that day—I was just doing my thing.
If you’re doing something wrong, own that too
When I first began my journey into the weight room I remember feeling like I had it all figured out. I even went so far as to become raging pissed when a trainer dared to tell me I was doing a lat pull down wrong. I thought I was the end-all-be-all of fitness and nutrition at the time and found it so offensive that he tried to prevent me from injuring myself, educate me and help me do it better next time…I mean really, how could he?
Looking back, that was just my way of reacting to a situation that made me feel self-conscious and belittled. In reality, I should have been receptive to his advice and approached it as a learning opportunity instead of immediately become defensive.
When you’re doing something wrong approach it as a learning opportunity and always be receptive to what the person who is educating you has to say. You don’t even have to like it but you should listen and take something away from your mistakes.
In the grand scheme of things no one will remember that one time…
In the grand scheme of things, embarrassment happens. We all trip up and fail and fall down. Heck, often times even as a coach I will perform a movement wrong, bail a lift, or look like an idiot trying to explain things. Roll with it, laugh at it and own it! Own every messy piece of the imperfect person that you are because really, that’s the best part of living.