If there’s one thing I know, it’s feeling totally and utterly insecure when working out in public. When I first started running I would stop each and every time a car would drive by or I saw people coming in my direction. I wouldn’t dream of taking a group class for fear of looking like the fattest, sweatiest, red-faced, clumsiest person in the class and I didn’t even want to work out with a friend out of fear of looking like an idiot.
For those with insecurities, it’s hard enough doing things you’re comfortable with in front of people let alone doing things you’re completely uncomfortable with! You feel anxious, stressed out and filled with self-doubt which is the exact opposite of what a workout should make you feel! So how do you conquer workout insecurity?
In yoga, they use the expression: “Keep your mind on your mat.” Mostly this refers to the fact that yoga is a form of meditation and you’re encouraged to keep your focus on your breath and the pose that you’re in but it can be used just as much for your insecurities! “Keep your mind on your mat” has since become my group workout mantra! I use it to remind me that everyone is at a different stage in their fitness practice and for me to compare myself to someone else is absolutely, positively unfair. Even someone with the same build who has been working out for the same amount of time as you is still different from you. One of you may be able to run faster, the other may be more flexible, or stronger or have more endurance or different genetics that makes one of you better or worse at something than the other. When I “keep my mind on my mat” it reminds me that, in this moment, the only person I should be concerning myself with is me. Any time I notice that I’m comparing myself to anyone else I immediately cut the thought off in mid-sentence and say: “Keep your mind on your mat” (even if I’m not on a mat)! I then focus on doing the very best job possible in whatever it is that’s being asked of me. I zero in on the insane tricep dips in bootcamp or the crazy hill in spin class. If I’m out for a long run, I turn myself inward and focus on just putting one foot in front of the other. In a sense, it helps me zero in on the moment at hand to keep myself from falling off the edge of my own insecurities.
I know that insecurity is not something that will end with just a word or a tip but having a few mantras in mind that you can repeat the moment you find yourself in the midst of it, will go a long way! When it comes to combatting your insecurities having the knowledge to spot them and practice stopping them before then either get a chance to start or finish is key. It can take a long while, sometimes it might not ever go away but you can lessen it big time! I used to be one of the most insecure people around, constantly doubting myself but now I usually know when it’s coming on, what triggers it and the steps to stop it before it gets out of hand and using a mantra such as “keep your mind on your mat” has been instrumental in combatting it.
So give it a shot! Don’t let your insecurities keep you from having an awesome workout because group workouts rock! Just keep your mind on your own mat and give it your all!
Photo Credit: FitSugar