HomeFitnessStep out of your comfort zone at the gym

Step out of your comfort zone at the gym

We all have what we are good at in the gym. Some of us come from bodybuilding backgrounds, and we are really good at picking up heavy things, and putting them down! Others are good runners, while others can spend hours and hours doing cardio. This is your comfort zone, I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone at the gym!

Someone like me, who could never dance at the club without becoming highly intoxicated did not mesh well with a dancing class like Zumba. In fact, I walked away from it many times in the past. Then one day, I decided to give it a try as a goof. I felt totally ridiculous trying to follow along with the movements, gyrating my hips made me feel extremely feminine and uncomfortable. It challenged my standard of training, and put my ego and masculinity to the test.

Of course, in the locker room, the fellas would laugh at me, and call me gay while making fun of how stiff and ridiculous I looked dancing around with “all those women.” Now, if you know where I come from, you’d understand how important your “manhood” was in order to survive. So, being a part of this, and experiencing these things was not only new territory, but it really forced me to check my ego.

This isn’t about them, this is about you. I have nothing against my gay brothers and sisters, but these guys are calling me gay cause I’m dancing with 45 women? Does that make sense to you? I’m in a room, packed with ladies, and we are gyrating, jumping around, laughing, and having a great time. Yet, these insecure men, who need to feel all macho and tough, see fit to try and put me down by calling me gay? Remember, in some cultures, and to some individuals, being gay makes you soft, weak, and less of a man. I don’t agree with that mindset, but I’m just sharing with you their intent in calling me gay. Anyway, if this makes me gay, keep the ladies coming, and I’ll keep on gaying!

I love to dance in zumba classes, it’s a nice supplementary workout to pass an hour and give me some additional cardiovascular training while having fun and not beating my body down too badly.

Yoga is another format that I avoided for a long time. Why? Because I sucked at it. Stretching has been the one thing that I have neglected over the many years that I have been training. Now, as I’m getting older I’ve decided to finally put this into my practice. I am still terrible at it, I struggle with the simplest poses, but I’m in it. That’s the key. I’m not good at it today, but I’m in it, and I’m trying to improve at it, and in the process, everyday my body is improving. Also, Yoga has the added benefit of being restorative, strengthening, and increases the ever elusive flexibility.

I highly encourage everyone, regardless of your sport, to add yoga a few times a week. Trust me! This is the only class that makes me feel sore, and it targets places in my body that I didn’t even know existed. Combined with my strength and conditioning training, I am certain that my body is going to develop to a level that is even better than my peak at 20!

Being good at things is about ego and pride, not practicality. You go to the gym, you bench heavy, you walk around like you are the big man on campus. It’s about looking good and being a hard ass. Some of the women wear beautiful outfits, go all out on makeup, and drench themselves in perfume while trying to keep from themselves from even breaking a sweat. They are not in there for results, these people are in there for a fashion show, or to try and hook up. If they look fit, it’s because genetics, not hard work, and not earned. However, once life catches up with them, without the drive and determination required to actually succeed in this game, they will wither and fade away.

Don’t be like those people. Come in, work hard, challenge yourself, and take my advice and step out of ¬†your comfort zone! If you are a cardio beast, try pumping some iron. If you are a muscle head, try doing some cardio classes. Get out and explore your weakness, whatever that may be! In the long run, for balance, your body will thank you!

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  1. I can relate on so many levels but unfortunately my own personal experience has had a negative impact on me that keeps me from the gym. I’m a plus sized woman, its no secret. I am healthy (cholesterol, sugar, BP, etc) but I am technically labeled obese so losing weight is something that has always been on my list. And I have always struggled.
    I have a gym membership. I was actively going but I had to bring my own towel as the gym towels don’t fully cover me and incidents like the one with the Playboy model who body-shamed an older woman via social media recently, make me really subconscious about what people are thinking when they see me.
    That, and the last time I was at the gym, I was showering and the women who worked there were cleaning up and waiting for me to get out of the shower. They kept referring to me as the “gordita”. The locker room is the most vulnerable place. We are there to change and if that is the place I am most vulnerable and I have to face judgement from strangers, i would rather keep my money than be subjected to that. I voiced the complaint to friends and they dismissed it – which felt so defeating – and I never lodged a complaint with the gym.
    All of this is to say that I really admire your ability to shake people’s opinions off. Its not easy for me and it has hindered my progress.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    • I’d offer up a few suggestions here.

      First and foremost, think about what you are saying. These people, who you don’t know, don’t provide anything for you, and are probably losers, are keeping you, from becoming a better version of you. That is unacceptable, it angers me, and it should anger you. Anger is not the best path to take, but if all else fails, then use that anger as your tool.

      The other suggestions revolve around doing what you need to do, while avoiding the discomforts. I never shower at the gym. I’m not sure at what times you go, but if you go home after, then I’d advise that you just shower at home to avoid this discomfort that you’ve been subjected to.

      If you know me, you know I’m really hard core, and I am my own worst critic and abuser. No one can abuse me worst than I have abused myself. So when someone tries, I get angry and thrive on it as a form of proving them wrong. No one has the right to rag on me, I do it enough to myself.

      Then of course you have options like training at home, and trust me, especially in those early stages, you don’t need much to make progress.

      I’d even argue that by simply changing your eating habits, you could start to affect weight loss without even setting foot in a gym. I don’t advise that, but my point is that there are many other things you can do.

      If this is who I think it is, you have access to me, and you can reach out at anytime. I know it’s not easy, I’ve been there. I had the same problem with the towels myself, no way those damn mini towels were wrapping up around me.

      In terms of the cleaning ladies, my guess is that they meant no harm. You know in our culture there are terms of endearment that people use innocently. We all had that one friend called, “Blacky,” which today would be deemed highly offensive. But that’s how he introduced himself back then. In fact, I simply thought that was his nickname as a kid, never even connected it to a racist oppressive thing. I think you get my point on that, though I still get how it would upset you. Maybe next time address it with them. Speaking up does wonders in resolving things.

      I’m an intense person, and I’m a bit of a hard ass about these things, but I am also understanding, and I get the difficulties. Don’t let people keep you from improving your quality of life. If you want it, go get it. And if necessary, make the arrangements to make it comfortable for yourself.


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