Stop me if this sounds familiar: “I am terrible at this new workout program. I don’t feel that I am doing it right, and I think I am just going to quit and go back to the familiar.” If you have thought this to yourself, you are not alone. Many people who have started a program have felt this way and have wanted to give up, but I won’t let them give up. I recently found myself on the other side of this process. As a fitness professional it is not easy to accept that you need help moving, and that you can’t do a certain movement or exercise.
Getting Help from a Movement Specialist
I visited a movement specialist to remedy an ongoing shoulder ailment and a newly acquired knee issue. I had to seek an expert because what I was doing just was not getting it done. I was tired of being in pain and not being able to move the way I have grown accustomed to. So I needed some help. I was assessed, and given a program that I was confident would get me back to getting after it in the gym.
I worked with a fitness coach to go over my newfound program and learn how to reset, realign, and fix my body back into shape. But it was not as simple as I thought it would be going in. I felt very confident about my physical abilities, but boy was I mistaken. I KNOW what it feels like to struggle with movement issues and following a program I am not familiar with and feel terrible at. I did not fare very well this day, the first day of a new workout program, and was very frustrated.
Wanting to Go Back to the Old Way
The next week I flew solo with the program to practice and work on the movements, only to build on my frustration and feelings of wanting to go back to the old way of doing things. But it was the old way of doing things that got me in the jam I am in today. Needless to say, I was quite humbled by my inability to pull off what was being asked of me. Now, I am a pretty big believer that a slice of humble pie from time to time is a good thing; it keeps you on your toes and makes you better than you were the day before. But my humility quickly turned to feelings of
- Denial: There is no way I can’t do this; they must be telling me wrong.
- Inadequacy: If I can’t do these movements, what else am I failing?
- Embarrassment: I don't want to be seen by others as struggling.
- Frustration (who am I kidding; I was ticked off): Am I ever going to get better?
Have you ever felt this way when starting a new workout program, job, or lifestyle change? Well, you are not alone! Those are hard emotions to overcome, and they are REAL! I think often during this process that if this is how I (someone who loves to move) feel, these types of feelings can be very high in someone who is just starting out or is at a low fitness level. I truly feel for this individual, and would love to pass on a message to them:
Don’t give up, because the goal is at your reach. But you have to do just that: REACH.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone, and Get Support
Step out of your comfort zone to propel your progress and get closer to where you ultimately want to be. Seek out others who are experiencing some of the same things and join them in the gym or in a group training session and work together through the hard times. Failing is a staple of life. It’s how you react to it that will determine your path. Will you lie down and accept defeat, or get up and spit in its face? It’s your choice.
I am happy to report that I have continued with the program and have had great gains and am nearly pain free. I am just getting started, though; there's a long road ahead. But it is a road I no longer dread traveling, and humble pie can be a tasty reminder that struggle equals success!
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Tony Maloney is the Fitness Center Manager and Personal Trainer at NIFS. He leads group training Sunday through Thursday. Find out more about the NIFS Bloggers.