No one wants to be the new girl
I was recently the new girl and it caused unnecessary anxiety. Gyms don't intimidate me, but I had to work on that. Running, however, running intimidates me. And last Sunday I ran a half marathon. Six months ago when I signed up I thought it would be a fun challenge, something I could then say I had done. But as the days counted down I was getting a bit nervous because I was going to be way out of my element. I was about to be the new girl. Which got me thinking about our gym, Aleda, and how for many (many) women they are the new girl and must be feeling the same pangs of nervousness and questions this race brought up for me. Questions like - will I look like I know what I am doing? Will people be nice to me? Will people judge me if I have to rest or walk part of it? What if I have to pee? Where will I put my things? What if I get in the wrong line? What if I am really slow? What if I run the wrong direction?
Now, race day was amazing! I trusted the process and enjoyed every moment of it. Watching the city wake up and being around so many other women who all showed up to do something grand together was an experience I will always remember. My fear was all in the anticipation but anticipation is the very reason that sometimes we don't go after the things we really want. Take walking into a gym for the first time.
Have you ever been overwhelmed with questions like these BEFORE stepping foot in a new gym - What if everyone but me is really fit? Will others judge me if my shoes or workout clothes are old? Am I allowed to take a break if I am tired? What if I do things totally wrong? What if I am not able to do things well? Will the other members be nice to me? These questions are totally normal! And you are not alone in wondering these very things. We have members at Aleda who walked by for months because questions like these taunted their ability to simply walk in the door.
We are constantly working on making a new member's first few visits inviting so they see as soon as possible how welcome they are at Aleda, we want it to feel like home. In the event that you aren't in Portland or a member with us I thought I would share a handful of things that helped me move through the fear of newness and embrace why I was really there doing my race. I've tweaked them to fit trying a gym for the first time. If you have a recommendation that helped you please leave a comment below, I would love your input!
Figure out what IT really is
What is really worrying you about this new experience? Pinpoint the 1-3 things that if resolved would put you at ease or take away the fear all together. Then get to addressing these things. How can you find these answers, who could you ask, and what do you need to learn to feel more comfortable? If I or my team at Aleda can be of any help just ask below!
They need to fit YOU first
It is my personal opinion that your fitness studio of choice should fit YOU before they require you to fit their requirements. They are there to help you feel great, show up each week, and try something new. Their easy might be your hard so be sure they meet you where YOU'RE at and not the other way around.
Do it for you and only you
What's your motivation for trying something new or seeking out a new gym? What do you want to accomplish and more importantly why now? Earlier I mentioned that I am comfortable in gyms now but that was not always the case. In the beginning it took courage to take myself into the strength room of any gym and feel confident in what I was doing. But I was there for ME and I knew why. That helped me try new things, look silly sometimes, and ask lots of questions because I was ready to make a change. Just ask yourself this, "What is the cost of NOT trying this now?" That can usually bring about a strong enough 'why'.
Being the new girl isn't always fun but it is part of doing things you've never done so you can get those results you've never had. Want some support in being the new girl? Come see me!