We all have what we are good at in the gym. Some of us come from bodybuilding backgrounds, and we are really good at picking up heavy things, and putting them down! Others are good runners, while others can spend hours and hours doing cardio. This is your comfort zone, I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone at the gym!
Someone like me, who could never dance at the club without becoming highly intoxicated did not mesh well with a dancing class like Zumba. In fact, I walked away from it many times in the past. Then one day, I decided to give it a try as a goof. I felt totally ridiculous trying to follow along with the movements, gyrating my hips made me feel extremely feminine and uncomfortable. It challenged my standard of training, and put my ego and masculinity to the test.
Of course, in the locker room, the fellas would laugh at me, and call me gay while making fun of how stiff and ridiculous I looked dancing around with “all those women.” Now, if you know where I come from, you’d understand how important your “manhood” was in order to survive. So, being a part of this, and experiencing these things was not only new territory, but it really forced me to check my ego.
This isn’t about them, this is about you. I have nothing against my gay brothers and sisters, but these guys are calling me gay cause I’m dancing with 45 women? Does that make sense to you? I’m in a room, packed with ladies, and we are gyrating, jumping around, laughing, and having a great time. Yet, these insecure men, who need to feel all macho and tough, see fit to try and put me down by calling me gay? Remember, in some cultures, and to some individuals, being gay makes you soft, weak, and less of a man. I don’t agree with that mindset, but I’m just sharing with you their intent in calling me gay. Anyway, if this makes me gay, keep the ladies coming, and I’ll keep on gaying!
I love to dance in zumba classes, it’s a nice supplementary workout to pass an hour and give me some additional cardiovascular training while having fun and not beating my body down too badly.
Yoga is another format that I avoided for a long time. Why? Because I sucked at it. Stretching has been the one thing that I have neglected over the many years that I have been training. Now, as I’m getting older I’ve decided to finally put this into my practice. I am still terrible at it, I struggle with the simplest poses, but I’m in it. That’s the key. I’m not good at it today, but I’m in it, and I’m trying to improve at it, and in the process, everyday my body is improving. Also, Yoga has the added benefit of being restorative, strengthening, and increases the ever elusive flexibility.
I highly encourage everyone, regardless of your sport, to add yoga a few times a week. Trust me! This is the only class that makes me feel sore, and it targets places in my body that I didn’t even know existed. Combined with my strength and conditioning training, I am certain that my body is going to develop to a level that is even better than my peak at 20!
Being good at things is about ego and pride, not practicality. You go to the gym, you bench heavy, you walk around like you are the big man on campus. It’s about looking good and being a hard ass. Some of the women wear beautiful outfits, go all out on makeup, and drench themselves in perfume while trying to keep from themselves from even breaking a sweat. They are not in there for results, these people are in there for a fashion show, or to try and hook up. If they look fit, it’s because genetics, not hard work, and not earned. However, once life catches up with them, without the drive and determination required to actually succeed in this game, they will wither and fade away.
Don’t be like those people. Come in, work hard, challenge yourself, and take my advice and step out of your comfort zone! If you are a cardio beast, try pumping some iron. If you are a muscle head, try doing some cardio classes. Get out and explore your weakness, whatever that may be! In the long run, for balance, your body will thank you!
The opinions and views expressed are solely those of the author.
Also published on Medium.