One year ago, I won the Summer Solstice Shape-Up Challenge at my club. My prize was 24 personal training sessions with WAC trainer Jenna Reddington.
My three months working out with Jenna twice a week transformed my workouts and overall fitness. Jenna probably found my first pathetic burpee hysterical. Before my sessions with her, I avoided about half the gym because I didn’t know how to use any of the equipment. I had been a slave to cardio because that’s all I knew how to do.
Jenna whipped me into shape and sometimes her workouts had me limping for days. Once my personal training sessions ended, I followed her to bootcamp. I still work out with Jenna 2-3 times a week. I’m glad she hasn’t gotten sick of me yet!
Reminiscing over the past year, I’m proud of how Jenna has helped me escape a life boring cardio machines. I honestly would have probably eventually lost interest and may have fallen off of exercising completely. Now, my posture is improving. I have much better all-around strength and sometimes — if the light is just right — you can see muscles in my arms! For someone who just picked up her first dumbbell a year ago, that’s a big deal.
But, there’s still one thing I can’t do: a handstand. And I know it’s not because I’m not strong enough; Jenna has certainly made sure of that. It’s because... well I make lots of excuses why I can’t do it. My shoulders are too narrow. I’m too tired every time I try (which isn’t very often). This one is my favorite because it is just so ridiculous: All the muscles I’ve accumulated from constantly running and biking make my legs heavier than the average person’s, so it’s much more difficult to get them over my head. I know, it makes no sense. But I convince myself of that one all the time.
The real reason is that I’m a scaredy cat.
I know I’m strong enough, especially after the strength I have developed over the past year. I know that if I get up there and feel like I’m going to collapse, I can bring my legs back down in a split second. I know that even my arms did give out, I’d only fall about 6 inches.
And since I’m such a go-getter who likes to succeed at everything she puts her mind to, I don’t even try handstands that often. Because I know I can’t do them, and I hate failing. But how am I ever going to succeed at this if I never even try?
Maybe I could motivate myself with a reward. Every time I attempt a handstand, I could put a dollar in a jar. When I finally accomplish it, I can use those dollars to celebrate with my favorite forbidden treat, a McDonalds Frappuccino Green Wheatgrass Smoothie.
Really, I just need to start trying again. I need to allow myself to fail again and again to get over my silly fear of putting my feet over my head.
What about you? Did you overcome any fitness fears? Do you have any tips I could try so I can finally get to that first handstand?
Betsy Mikel | betsymikel.com