Last Wednesday I got in my car after finishing up at the gym at 5pm and started sobbing. Raw, emotional, crying. I wasn’t sad though – it was for a really amazing reason.
Let’s back up.
Though I have not shared my goals for 2015 yet (if you’ve been reading here for more than a year you may remember that I take my time to think about my goals and usually don’t share them until early February), I have been thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2015.
A big part of that is, of course, my fitness goals.
I have had a few classes I have been scared to take since I started at my amazing gym in July 2013; 1. BodyStep class and 2. GRIT class. These are the only two classes offered that I hadn’t had a chance to take – or rather, had wussed out to take.
The reason I had wussed out was because of one seemingly minor, yet debilitating reason.
The bench/step required for the classes.
Here’s the thing. I have used the bench in BodyPump classes for over a year. We use them for doing chest and tricep presses. I was familiar with using it in a non-threatening way.
However, BodyStep and GRIT require you to be comfortable with jumping onto, off of and over the bench.
The thought of jumping onto the bench and maintaining enough composure to jump off of it and back on to it again, scared the shit out of me. Maybe it’s because I fell down the stairs in our basement when I was 3 years old, I’m really not sure what caused this. All I know is that it felt like a huge mental block holding me back.
At the end of December I took my first GRIT class – it’s a super intense HIIT class created by Les Mills. I managed to avoid having to jump on and off the step for my first few classes. The first time I walked into a GRIT class and instructor said “you need a bench today” I internally freaked out. We had to do a couple sets of standing straddled over the bench, and then jump up, land on the middle of the bench, and then jump off back to a straddled position.
My heart rate jumped as soon as I saw her demonstrate and I really tried to master the move. But it was awkward and I didn’t feel comfortable, and frankly I almost fell over so many times that at the end of the class I still was freaked out. I was just glad to be done.
I went to a few more GRIT classes and every time they said we didn’t need a bench I internally rejoiced.
Last Wednesday I couldn’t avoid it any more though. I seriously almost wussed out of going to class. But I knew I had to go, because I knew I had to face my fear.
GRIT rotates between strength, cardio and plyo formats. I knew that the plyo format was the one that would require jumping with the bench the most, and I knew that was the planned format for last Wednesday.
Once again, when the instructor said we would need a bench my heart rate went way up. But I told myself, this is it, no excuses.
The first exercise we had to do was the hardest. Starting on one side of the bench, we had to jump sideways over it, land, and jump back to the original side. As soon as we started, I froze. I just could not psych myself up to even TRY. At that minute the instructor (also the owner of the gym, gulp) walked over and stood right in front of me. She said “Do it. Just do it. You can do it.” So I took a breath, and forced my body up, and over that damn bench and landed, a bit awkwardly, without falling on my face. The instructor said “see? awesome job” and moved onto coaching someone else. and I kept jumping, from one side, over the bench, to the other. And back again.
Don’t get me wrong, it was not easy. Every time I jumped over that bench I felt scared, but every time I landed on the other side successfully I felt like I was knocking out a brick in my mental wall.
After that set of exercises we moved on to jumping on and off the bench in different patterns and jumping over it from front to back.
By the end of the class I had jumped on, off and over that bench more times than I could count.
When I got in my car after class I felt like I had smashed my fear of that stupid bench. And I promised myself to never look back. That’s when the tears started. It sounds silly, but that mental fear was really limiting me and knocking my confidence. I feel like I overcame that during that 30 minute GRIT plyo class.
Later in the week, I signed up for my first BodyStep class, knowing we would be using the bench for a ton of different exercises in the 60 minute class. I went to the BodyStep class on Saturday and rocked it.
If you have a fear I encourage you to smash it. The feeling you will get from overcoming something that is holding you back is incredible.