I cannot believe it has been 4 months. I am reflective by nature, and so far in life-for the most part -it has served me well. For those who know me I can occasionally become overly analytical and reflective, but with support I can usually get unstuck and move on.
I try to accept my self critical analysis, make a few mental notes or jot down my thoughts, and then let it go. It is my learning cycle.
So here are my thoughts on the first 16 weeks ( or so) at my new gym, my critical analysis and self evaluation:
PHASE 1: Figuring it all out (aka “questions and comparisons”)
I have to admit, I was so relieved to find my way to Gain Strength and Conditioning I could not believe my luck! After my initial appointment, assessment and first few weeks working 1:1 my questions were answered thoughtfully, in spite of my anxiety and my need to compare just about everything to what I used to do all the time. My questions about kettlebell work, RDL ( Romanian Dead Lifts)walking lunges and step ups pretty much stopped. I guess if I really wanted to spend time doing things I already know how to do, I could do it myself. And I would be in the same place I was 4 months ago.
PHASE 2: Getting to know each other – building trust and a program
Reading, writing, listening, teaching and learning-that is what it’s all about and There is no better way to get to know philosophy and thinking than sharing ideas. A trusting relationship is at the heart of a supportive safe learning environment. As a classroom teacher, I know what it is like to truly care about your students as whole human beings.I was totally caught off guard when the relationship I thought I had with my former trainer was much less about knowing how to work with me as a person, and more about programs. There will always be some give and take and some degree of questioning, but trust is built over time with consistency of philosophy, attention to detail in programming, and a positive attitude. We are all human, and it is all about relationships.
PHASE 3: Finding balance- what works and what doesn’t, the ying and yang
This could have been called, “What do you really want to be working toward?”
or a thousand other things, when really, this was the fork in the road. After an initial 2 month period of 1:1 sessions, learning new stuff, and getting back into a positive mindset, this was a time of adjusting goals, priorities, and challenges. I started missing my comfort zone. I missed all the things I was good at and didn’t have to think about at the gym. I missed having a running coach- someone who could listen to me, offer advice, and share stories. it wasn’t a huge deal, but I realized it had been a huge part of my training life for almost 3 years. I also decided to switch away from 1:1 training sessions to a more personalized training option, sharing space and time with others at the gym. Having never experienced anything other than group classes and1:1 sessions, This was definitely out of my comfort zone. So my plan is personalized for me, but I am sharing space and the trainer, whose role is now more of a facilitator of learning.
The new environment combined with my introverted nature quite honestly had me thinking, “This is not for me.” The environment brought back every feeling of insecurity I had ever had, which made it impossible for me to speak up, ask questions, and think. Had it not been for the trusted relationship I was beginning to have with my trainer I would have left after the first week and never looked back.
It was important for me to be able to have a conversation that validated and honored my feelings, but it was also important for me to walk away with strategies that would help me succeed in a new learning environment. It is impossible to learn and think under stress.
Phase 4: Making progress that makes sense
Once I was able to manage my stress it felt good to focus on all the things that brought me to Gain in the first place: complex movement, attention to detail, form, mobility, and a great resource in a coach and personal trainer. I decided that what I was looking for in a running coach was someone whose passion may or not be running, but someone who understands my goals, and is able to read, learn, plan and motivate me. I am now working on my running form and breathing. I am slowly getting used to becoming more independent in the gym. And it all goes back to trust. I have made a commitment to trust that if I put in the work and follow sound advice, I will achieve my goals.
I have questions- I always do-but it is just me trying to learn and make sense of my world. I thought I was in pretty good shape 4 months ago, but I am stronger now in new ways that matter more in the long run. I am getting stronger as a whole person; stronger at life.