Thursday, September 26, 2013

High School Gym Class

I hated it.

I was one of those girls who absolutely dreaded the whole shebang. In our high school, we had to get dressed into our specific (given to us) gym clothes first, in a locker room full of other girls. Maybe it's no big deal, but it was never really my idea of a good time right from the get-go. We had mixed-gender classes, so once we filed out to the gym, we were with the boys, too.

Then we'd start with some activity that left me feeling mediocre at best. I wasn't naturally athletic. Well, that's what I always said, anyway. I didn't ever play group sports (with the exception of volleyball and not on the school team, either). I didn't have the strength to do the pull-ups required for the state testing we did twice a year. I could barely (read: not at all) do the flexed-arm-hang either. And don't even get me started on the moans and groans when we had to run the dreaded 'mile'.

Everyone is watching you. The fast kid who runs the 5:40 mile just sits there all easy-breezy, not a drop of sweat on his head and watches you frumpily run past for only the first time, meanwhile he's done. You try to act like it's no big thing but inside you're dying and just want to walk and talk with your friends and pretend you're too cool to do this running thing anyway.

When we played group games, I hung to the back. And honestly? If there was some excuse to miss high school gym class? AWWW HECK YEA. That was a good day in my world. Bring on the dentist appointments. (and you know how much I love the dentist)

This week, we went back to our Bootcamp class at our Y for the 3rd time. I'll admit that it took a whole lot to get me to try it for the first time. I was scared. I was super nervous. Would I be able to do it? Would people be like what the heck is that girl doing here? Would I look (and feel) inadequate?

Lots of husband/wives do it together in the evening class which is awesome. Because I can kick my husband's butt and feel all amazing about it (just kidding)(not really kidding). We invited some couple friends to do it with us this week. During one of the exercises, my friend joked that this brings back all those feelings of high school gym class, and I was all, OHHhhh I know, tell me about it. Because it kind of does.

Then I told her I think that's one of the reasons I'm doing all this.

I feel like I'm conquering all my fears I had as a kid, all my insecurities, now as an adult.

I didn't think about it much when I said it at the time. But I can't stop thinking about it since.

I didn't play team sports. I knew I was missing out, but I didn't play because I was insecure and 'not athletic'.

I wouldn't dare ever go to a class, like Bootcamp, on my own goodwill. Because, WHY?

But now I do. And I not only participate, but I have the stamina and endurance to keep up.

If I had to go back and redo high gym class it would be so different. The mile ain't no big thing. I would play the heck out of those group games. I would keep up with (if not kick the butts of) some of the boys, too. Funny that I'd feel that way 10+ years after high school has ended.

Now? I participate in lots of group classes. Instead of always standing in the back, I'm ok with standing closer to the front now. I don't care about what other people may think of me, because what I've realized is,  nobody really cares anyway.

I missed out on a lot as a kid & teen because of my insecurities. But I sure as heck won't miss out now as an adult. And maybe it's a little late in life to conquer these insecurities---but at least I'm conquering them at all.


More people than you can imagine tell me they'd love to join a gym, go to a group fitness class, etc--but they are weirded out by working out with/in front of others. I have to wonder if it stems back to those very real gym-class insecurities.

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  1. I definitely feel you on the gym class. I couldn't do pull ups either and I always conveniently had a note from my mom about "really bad cramps" when it was the day to run the mile. I definitely feel awkward in classes, especially when I'm alone, so it could be true that it rubs off from being a kid.

    Btw, group games? I owned it. I used to sledgehammer all the mean skinny bitches with dodgeballs.

  2. This was me and I guess still is a little deep down (that's probably why I have never done spinning, too afraid!). I had to do the same thing with joining a gym and doing the classes, pushing myself outside my comfort zone. The funny thing is NOBODY is looking at you but you feel like ALL eyes are on you those first few times...then it gets easier and you realize when new people join that I don't look at them and judge and either does anyone else (I hope).
    I have been following your blog for quite some time and I was just thinking yesterday that you seem so free. You are in control of your health and happiness which is such an inspiration and sets an amazing example for your girls.

  3. OMG, who could do that arm flex hanging thing??? I never saw anyone do it. I hated gym class until my junior year when we started going to the bowling alley every gym class and not only got to bowl, but got to eat all te bad for you bowling alley food. It was awesome.

    I liked group classes back when I went to the gym, and if I were going, that's all I'd want to do. I'm more insecure about looking like a fool huffing and puffing on a treadmill than I am I a group class. I don't know why.

    I think you're awesome for conquering old insecurities and for kicking your hubby's butt. :)

  4. Hated PE. It was probably because you had to and I'm totally not athletic. I can shoot a pretty mean free throw but that's about it. I was at least smart enough when we had to run the mile and a half for time, I kept jogging. I got in under time and then I didn't have to run laps every day. That was smart. I did Jazzercise for awhile and enjoyed it. I'm just not a fan of other people looking at me until I know what I'm doing. I'm sure most didn't care.

  5. Ugh. I hated gym too. The only thing I liked was the gymnastics unit. I wasn't good, but had some deep dreams of being able to do the splits.

    I've gotten a little more adventurous as I've gotten older, but the group classes that require coordination make me a little nervous.

    I think the hubs and I are going to try some of the "less girly" classes at our Y. Unfortunately, our boot camp class costs extra-but I think it looks fun-tough, but fun. I wish we had a regular schedule, so you could make a plan, but it changes daily, so it's hard to get into a routine. I'm still going to give it a shot though.