July 10, 2013 by mybattlebuddyfitness
Written by Elisabeth Meany
Yesterday evening I did something that I never thought I would do. For those of you that know me, you will be shocked. I am still shocked. It is something that I have been terrified of since I first learned what this activity was. I WENT TO ZUMBA! Wait, no. I didn’t just GO to Zumba. I DID Zumba!
Some of you out there are probably wondering why this is such a big deal. Well, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing me dance, then you’d know why. I’m awful. I can fake it and do the same four standard white girl moves for a couple of hours at a concert or in a bar, but if you ask me to do any sort of choreographed routine, stand back and prepare to laugh (or bang your head against a wall). Panic sets in quickly and soon I feel like I have gum on my shoes and tin in my hip joints…it’s not pretty.
Needless to say, when the Zumba craze hit, I made every excuse as to why I shouldn’t try it. For someone who enjoys literally EVERY kind of exercise you could think of, it was strange that I had never tried one of these dance routines that promised you a good sweat. When my very sweet client, Grace, suggested that I join her sometime, I was in the midst of preparing for my figure competition. Naturally, this provided me with the perfect excuse. Months later, I am no longer prepping for any event of note, and in fact, I am on the hunt for things to shake up my routine. I had an outer body moment on Monday and I committed. I told her that I would be there. 5pm on Tuesday night. It was happening.
I was scared. Not because I didn’t think I was fit enough to make it through the class, but because I was scared that everyone else there would know the routines perfectly, and that there would be huge mirrors that lined the walls and I would have to stare at myself as I stumbled over my two left feet. As the music fired up and we started the first song, my heart started to pound as I watched the other woman effortlessly shimmy and shake left and right. Shit. I was in the seventh circle of hell. It was my worst nightmare coming to life.
Before I let my ridiculous anxiety get too out of hand, I took a deep breath. I looked to my right (where my familiar face was) and I looked to my left. No one was concerned with what I was doing or how awful I looked doing the moves. Everyone was immersed in the music and had a smile on their face. They were living in the moment and enjoying the hell out of exercising.
That’s when it hit it me: I’d been missing out on a TON of fun because I let my self-consciousness get the best of me. I convinced myself that I wouldn’t like it before I even tried it! I told myself that I needed a higher intensity workout in order to be satisfied and that my lack of dance skills and the mirrors that would surely be there would prevent me from getting a good workout.
Much to my delight, the situation could not have been different. There were no mirrors (WIN). The instructor was adorable—her sense of humor was engaging and her enthusiasm was contagious (double-win). The other women in the room were visibly having so much fun, that it would have been impossible to leave that room without a smile on my face. So, for a full hour, I forgot about all the other things that were on my mind. I forgot all about the to-do list that’s a mile long. I forgot about how terrible I am at shaking my booty and swiveling my hips. I lived in the moment and I HAD A BLAST. And by golly, I got good and sweaty too! Most of all, I was overjoyed to see so many women in one place who genuinely looked happy to be exercising. It was amazing.
Last night was a wonderful reminder to me how therapeutic it can be to step outside of your comfort zone every now and again. Yes, it is scary. But it’s how we grow and evolve as people. We can’t expect ourselves to be experts at something the first time we try it. And it’s okay to not be an expert at everything! Some things are meant to just be enjoyed.
I encourage you to use this week to get out and try that one thing that you’ve been waiting to try for whatever reason. Try that new class that you’ve been too timid to try. Dust off those shoes and go for that run you’ve been putting off because you’re worried that you’re gonna be slow. Don’t worry about being the best at whatever it is that you try. No one expects you to be an expert. Remember that we are our own worst critics. Push the fears and nay-saying out of your head and LIVE IN THE MOMENT!