Monday, June 28, 2010

If a 6 year old can overcome a fitness fear, why can't you?

Sometimes as an adult we have big challenges we try to overcome, but we let fear get the best of us. In health and fitness we worry we won't be able to keep up with everyone, we aren't good enough for boot camps, we will be the slowest one to complete the challenge, or just plain and simple that "we can't do it." YET, we support our friends, family members and children with encouragement and guidance to overcome fear and acknowledge how incredible he/she is.  We try with compassion to help those we love feel supported in whatever their challenges are, knowing they have great potential. Why do we not do the same with ourselves?

On Thursday, my oldest daughter, Makenzie, started a new gymnastics class. She loves gymnastics, but hasn't participated in a class for 2 years and didn't know anyone else at the new location.  She excitedly talked on the way to class, yet was white as a sheet when it was time to begin.  After the first warm up exercise she looked at me with eyes welled up with tears.  She continued on and was participating, but not to the ability she'd displayed before, and would cross her arms in between each exercise looking rather uncomfortable. During this time I gave her silent praise from across the room with smiles and thumbs up. Yet all the while I knew she wanted me to say "It's ok M, come sit down and watch instead". She continued with cartwheels and I tried to let her see I was proud of her despite the apple swelling in my throat.  At one point she did come over and I told her she had to try the one class and then we could watch next week. But just try because she has it in her to succeed and have fun in the class.

Then the class went to the uneven bars and trampoline. At that point, I wasn't sure if I wanted to quickly give her a hug and say she could go home, or follow through with my "one class" decision.  For what seems like a perfect time, E was asleep in my arms and I was cradling her so I couldn't maneuver to see M participating....but I could hear her! I heard her laughing and the instructor giving her praise. I heard another belly laugh with an essence of joy in it.  Then they came back to the main room to finish strength training and M missed her time for wall sits. She had to stay on the wall another :45 while the other girls were done. Nerves rose in me and I worried she would collapse of embarrassment and tears...but she didn't. She smiled at the teacher, said "My Mom does these in her classes all the time so I'm good at them", and stayed on.  She looked at me when done with a big grin and asked if she could have a sleepover at gymnastics class.

M overcame her fear in 60 minutes that normally would have her crying with nerves and uncomfort for days. While I did believe she could do the class, to see her realize she could have fun and believe in herself was powerful.  If she can do it at 6 years old, what is stopping YOU from doing it now?  What are you waiting for, your time in NOW.

Erin Kreitz Shirey- Owner, Lead Coach and Trainer
Power Fitness PDX LLC    

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