I’ve noticed in the past few weeks that several of my clients are expressing outright that they are embarrassed about various activities I have them do. I don’t typically encourage my clients to do overly weird things when we’re working out nor do I have them partake in loud, obnoxious or otherwise weird workouts. In fact, the workouts that I design for my clients are put together in such a way that we can both leave the session knowing that either the whole body was worked or a specific area was hit hard but left strong. 

I’m certain that it’s their perceptions of the planned exercises that is causing the embarrassment. Wait - scratch that – it’s their perception of themselves that is causing the feelings of embarrassment. The exercise is a completely neutral thing – something designed to target a specific motion and muscle group; it’s what we bring to it that turns it into something uncomfortable.

Embarrassment can stem from so many places but ultimately it begins from the twisted expectation of perfection that most of us keep tucked away in our minds. Apparently, we are supposed to select our given challenge, figure out a plan and overnight be the spitting image of “just so.”

In reality, when we embark on our mission to regain our health, take back our body, develop a much needed sense confidence within our body or just do something we’ve never done we all have an equal journey to complete; we all start at the beginning, have struggles, challenges and road blocks that we will have to confront and if we stick to the path with concerted determination we will arrive at the end triumphant. Along this path we will have moments when we look about the gym and see someone that looks WAY AHEAD of us and think horribly negative things about ourselves. We may think “if I hadn’t let myself get into this pickle I could look like THAT”, or worse we might think “I’ll never be able to do/achieve/come even close to that,” or, as I’m noticing from the darting eyes and quiet comments of my clients “I look REDICULOUS doing this, this is SO embarrassing, can we do it over there in the corner” And to that I take exception.

You do NOT look ridiculous. The fact alone that you are HERE every week takes that card right out of play. You are strong and working on getting stronger. Every rep you complete you are one step further along your path and the frustrated baggage that you carry with you serves only to weigh down your mental body so as to make your efforts that much more demanding. Every person you see in the gym has their own mission and unless you go make friends with them and dig into their personal lives you will never know what that mission is. You will never know how long they have been showing up to achieve that, where they started or where they are headed. Sure, they might be pulling off an amazing set of Power Ups or in the middle of what appears to be one CRAZY INTENSE workout but how can you know for sure that in doing so they have “arrived” at the final end point of (perceived) perfection. How do you know that months, maybe years ago they weren’t in your same place? How can you be sure that their mission is one of trying NOT to be a hero because it damages or injures them?

I know that some exercises involve shoving various body parts in the general direction of full display for all to see and perhaps those parts are the ones we are most interested in hiding from public but every time you squat and push your butt out, wiggle on the floor during Alternating Supermans or worse push yourself so hard you’re huffing and puffing you are also displaying your determination and dedication to perfecting the actions that will create the body that is needed to pull of all those thing that you think you can’t do right now.

At the end of the day the weird body movements should be a badge of honor because you arrived today and you gave another hour to you and you alone to develop the strong path to the destination of your final goal. You have to get dirty to get the work done and the dirtier you get, the more work you probably got done and the more honestly built that path probably is.

“Until you are willing to look foolish, you’ll never have the possibility of being great.” - Cher