Carly Sharples


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The Hardest Part Is Getting Started

The Hardest Part Is Getting Started

Carly Sharples

I'm not ashamed to admit that I am terrified of group fitness classes. 

I guess that's why I'm a runner? I'm the boss. I set the pace. I'm only accountable to myself.

Group activities pose a problem to me as, besides being self-conscious of my general lack of coordination, I struggle to simultaneously move with the fast pace and think about what I have to physically do, alongside keeping my errant thoughts in check.

Becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, it's been easier for me to just avoid fitness classes altogether. 

My last Body Pump class was about 18 months ago, after I quietly slipped out early and embarrassingly had a panic attack outside the studio. It wasn't that I was struggling physically, with the weights; it was more that I had too many tabs open in my brain and couldn't cope with the instructions being rapidly fired at me. I couldn't process the information quickly enough. Chucking my omnipresent anxiety into the mix, and being enclosed in a hot room with a large group of people, it was a surefire recipe for disaster.

Based upon that one isolated incident, I decided that avoidance was the best policy, going forward.

With marathon training taking up a huge part of my physical and mental energy since the new year, we had decided as a family to put our gym membership on hold until the summer. I love going to the gym. It gives me much needed structure and focus to my day and even if I'm not actually achieving much while I'm there, it definitely makes me feel like I am. So I've not got washboard abs or defined arms, but that's okay - I'm taking part and that's what matters, right?

We prematurely ended our hiatus last week and on Friday I turned up, fresh from the school runs with an ecstatic Sophia in tow who was beyond excited to be going to the clubs, whilst Mummy did her exercising.

I sat down with friends for a coffee beforehand, with the plan of just going in the gym to get reacquainted. Perhaps to do some gentle stretching and foam rolling, after a home workout that week had given me mental DOMS in my quads.

Just as I was about to sign Sophia into her group, one of the girls asked me if I was coming to Body Pump with them. I dismissively replied, stating there were probably no spaces left. She said there were still six available and it would be fun - come on!

Body Pump requires a fair bit of set up before the class, so if I was going to do it, it would have to be a snap decision. 

I said YES.

I went straight up to the studio and got set up, and made it through the entire 55 minute class! Okay, I had to leave and go on the treadmill during the lunge track but the lovely instructor let me off as I had run a marathon a fortnight before and my still-exhausted legs were not up to the task of explosive weighted lunges.

And do you know what? I allowed myself to enjoy the class.

My mind stayed focused on the task at hand. I could follow the instructions and yes, I was squatting at the complete opposite time to the rest of the class, but hey - I never said I was coordinated, did I?

I left Body Pump feeling like I'd had a good workout, but mostly proud of myself for acting on impulse and just saying YES.

I'm sure if I had been given time to consider whether I should go to Body Pump or not, I'd have plumped for the latter. I'd have talked myself out of it, that it wouldn't be worth risking a panic attack and mental anguish. I'd have let my anxiety overrule any rational thoughts.

But this time I said YES and I survived. 

It got me thinking about all the other times we say NO in life, when perhaps instead we should take a leap of faith and say YES. What opportunities do we overlook because we become too cocooned in our comfort zones?

I may have had pussy weights on the literal barbells compared to my fellow Pumpers {I'm sticking to my story that I'm still fatigued from the marathon and definitely not because I'm a weakling, okay?}, but that doesn't really matter, does it? In my bipolar brain, I had metaphorical barbells fully loaded and with every press, dip or squat I was proving to myself that I AM STRONG and you don't have to settle for the status quo. It's okay to push yourself, sometimes.

I'm going to start challenging myself by saying YES more often. 

Carly xo

Running the Paris Marathon

Running the Paris Marathon

Marathon Training: Onset of Maranoia

Marathon Training: Onset of Maranoia