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Social Anxiety and The Gym Weight Room

I'll be the first to admit that I have social fears/anxieties.

For as long as I can remember I've considered myself shy. But recently I've done some reading and discovered that, no, I'm not necessarily shy, I'm just introverted. I like my solitude and tend to feel more comfortable in close knit groups of friends and family rather than large parties of people I don't know. I get easily overwhelmed in large social gatherings and after one I usually need a quiet day to follow to regain my energy.

I gather my energy from quiet time and I enjoy individual activities like painting, reading and writing. Hence the rather long list of blog posts. I express my best in written words and find myself listening in groups rather than participating.

Since I've learned this about myself, it's made socializing MUCH easier. I no longer call myself "shy" because I'm not! I'm actually quite social and I am a joy to be around...or so I'm told. It's just I have things I have I need to do before a gathering and after.

Believe me, my wedding is about 3 1/2 months away and I'm already plotting out my week before to include some quiet time before and after because a whole day focused on me and socializing with others will drain me for a good week!

This brings me to my new fear: working out in the weight room at my gym alone.

I've starting working with a trainer once a week.  During that hour he puts me through a routine that he writes down and then hands it to me at the end and says "Here! Do this two more times this week. See you next Wednesday!" Which means in the week before I see him again, I need to make myself do this routine twice and the best way to do that is to go into the weight room (EEP!) by myself and do it.

I mean, I pay for that membership and I know the weight room has everything I'll need because I've already done this routine in there. But the thought of working out alone in a weight room with other people (who don't pay any attention to me) is paralyzing. 

Logically, I know they don't care who I am or what I'm doing. They are in there to work out just like me. But I shudder at the thought of going in there alone. This is a whole new experience in a place I'm not 100% comfortable with. And my hackles are up.

So I'm telling myself to just breathe. Just breathe....I just need to go in there with confidence, do my routine and say I did it. 

Everyone has to start somewhere.

The Best Gift

Some people consider receiving a gift of something fitness related, like a gym membership or workout clothing, an insult. I can see why. In receiving a gift that promotes movement and a healthy lifestyle, it also lets you know that the giver recognizes that you need it.

That's not always easy to accept. When outside sources and say "I think you'll enjoy this gym, here's a year membership!" what we really hear is "I noticed your back rolls are folding over your muffin top, here's a year membership to help you lose weight!!"

I can understand and I think when unsolicited and coupled with a deep inner knowledge that you do need to get moving again, a gift like that, though thoughtful, can be a sucker punch to the ego.

Unless you ask for it.

This past Christmas, The Guy asked me what I wanted as a gift. I looked around our cluttered, box-filled from the move condo and sighed. I really didn't want anything! One more item in our house and we'll split at the seams!

Then it hit me...I could use some personal training session at my YMCA. When I told him he looked honestly shocked. He nodded and said "You know, that's a great idea". 

Come Christmas morning, he gifted me with a total of 8 sessions and I couldn't have been more happy. Why? Because it's an extravagance I wouldn't have given myself but one I know I can benefit from.

I finally had an opening in my week and scheduled my first training session after my Body Pump class on Monday. I picked a trainer by his Wednesday night availability. So last night I packed up the kid and made it to the Y to meet Russell. 

Boy did I pick a good one! Going by his availability worked out better than I expected because we ended up working really well together. He'll push me but not so hard that I end up puking or passing out. He's also got a background in physical therapy which he already put to use a few times last night while he observed me and my form. 

The first 20 minutes of our session was spent working on my profile, my goals, my history and my routines to-date. I found it interesting that when asked, my goal wasn't to lose weight. I've grown from that place where the number on the scale means more. My goals were to improve my form and my strength and stamina. The weight loss that will follow will be a wonderful side effect.

Then I weighed in (194 lbs) and took a body fat test (33%). Together we made a goal of hitting 29% body fat (average for my age and height) and went to work. 

We only had 40 minutes together that first session but man, I am feeling it today. And all of it was mostly body weight workouts: planks, squats, push-ups and jumping squats. All of it, in that short amount of time, gave him glimpses into areas I need to improve so that I can improve my form and improve my strength. 

I'm glad I asked for the sessions and I'm glad I signed up! Now I'll have 8 weeks with him along with my running and my Body Pump. And hopefully I'll see some major improvements in all areas because of his watchful eye and his guidance.

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