I want to share my experience of going to gym for the very first time in the 27 years of my existence in this world. It might not sound like a big thing to do but for a person with high levels of social anxiety, it is one BIG DEAL. But I wanted to give it a shot because my fitness level were at a all time low. So in October this year, I persuaded my boyfriend to get one year gym membership for both of us and it cost us a whopping 22000 rupees. Being an unemployed student, it was a lot of money to shell out. But hey, I was going to get fit and reduce food and medical bills eventually. So I dived in, right away.
THE PREPARATION : Material AND Mental
Now it was time to prepare myself to face the uphill battle of going to the gym regularly. I needed clothes, gym appropriate ones. Boiii. I did not look forward to shop that. I hate shopping in general and to buy stuff just for a singular purpose, was all the more irritating. So I did the cheapest shopping I could – went to decathlon, shoved a few 99 rupee black (since I am emo and it doesn’t show how fat I am) t-shirts and I was done. I should talk about decathlon experience sometime soon. It was a like wonderland except I wasn’t any Alice. I hated it.
Easy part was done. Now comes my mental preparation. I have social anxiety. So it takes a lot of preparation that involves the following steps:
- Extensive research online and read about people who have similar issues.
- Ask myself all the possible questions on why I feel the things I feel and make my mind come to the conclusion that it is beneficial to go.
- Come up with all possible triggering situations and give myself an escape route from each and
- Finally prepare a playlist of songs that I relate to and that will help transport my mental self from the gym.
Everyone with social anxiety can agree on how our brain tricks us into saying no at the last moment. It happened but I realised it was a trick and I dragged myself to the gym against its will. It was awkward like expected but my preparation helped a lot and I just did cardio and got out in 45 minutes. I did the same for the next two weeks. I should have stopped at that. I thought, why not get out of my comfort zone more, and decided to go try the ‘power yoga’ class. That was the last class I went and it has been two months since I went to gym too. I ended up with patellar tendonitis in my right knee and I am on medication. It hurts a lot and I kick myself for taking the stupid hindsight decision of trying power yoga. All the gym discount I got is now tallied up in medical expenditure and I have gained weight since.
Gymming for me, is not about getting to do everything. It is about getting out of my mind and feeling a little less anxious. So I learnt to block out voices saying I should do weights, full body, yoga,etc etc. “LET ME BE peeps” is my answer to all the voices in my head and that should be your motto too. Do not try and be too hard on yourself. Keep a singular motive and do not get distracted. Know your limits and don’t let others voices decide your action. I gave in to others opinion quickly because of fear of judgment. I guess I can blame my anxiety for that. But it is a lesson learnt well.