Some of you already know that I am a Group Fitness Instructor as well as a Personal Trainer. What that means is that I teach fitness classes and I have been doing so for twenty-one years this year. (OMG!) Those of us in the Industry were once called "aerobic instructors," but over time that has evolved, in that a lot of what I teach is anaerobic. For example, in a typical week, I'll teach a Weightlifting Class, a Yoga class, a Pilates class...you get the picture. The truth is, I sometimes don't have time to do enough Cardio. Sure, I teach Kickboxing, and sometimes even old-school Step Aerobics, but for the most part, it's weights and strength training and the like.
That brings me to this: I had a cancellation early yesterday morning, so I decided to get up and go take a class for a change. Did you ever hear that expression, "The plumber's house is always the last one to have the sink fixed?" Well...it's a rare day that I get a chance to take a class.
I was looking for something Cardio. I work for a big gym franchise, so I decided to go outside of my Home Club and go take a class somewhere else. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone a little; I also wanted to go someplace where nobody knew I was an instructor. I just wanted to try something new...for me...so I chose to go take a Zumba class a couple of towns away. For those of you who have been living under a rock and have never heard of Zumba: Zumba is a fast-paced Cardio/Dance class that originated in Brazil and has been sweeping our nation ever since. I know a lot of women (and some men) who LOVE it; it makes them feel like they're dancing, and therefore not working out.
So I went on my merry way and made my way into the Zumba class. The instructor was nice, and seemed friendly. She made great eye contact with the class and seemed like she knew her stuff. I, on the other hand...did not. The cuing for Zumba is totally different than regular Aerobics, and I found it hard to follow. I laughed at myself and did what I could; at times, off-beat and behind a step or two. For some reason, my hips don't lie that way...! And I found myself over thinking things: arms flailing while I tried to look Latina-Sexy. I was the definition of "hot mess."
But here's what I wanted to share: I was proud of myself yesterday. I tried something new; some new exercise format where I would not be the expert. I walked outside of my comfort zone. I bungled. I couldn't catch the rhythm. I felt like I had two left feet.
And it was good for me. Good in ways I can only touch on here; I can tell you that it was a definite personal growth moment, because if I had taken that same class years ago and had the same experience, well...it wouldn't have had the same result in my head. I would have been beating myself up all day: why wasn't I able to just nail it? What was wrong with me? Or worse yet, the instructor? I would not have had fun, and I would have felt as if I wasted my time.
Perhaps wisdom comes with age. Last night,I was reading an inspirational book before I fell asleep and I came across this quote:
Comfort zones are plush lined coffins. When you stay in your plush lined coffins, you die.
I am convinced I am not the only person who needed to hear that today.