Why Supportive Fitness Can Change You Forever


By Susan Rappaport

Many of us do not exercise and though we say it doesn’t matter to us, deep down we feel remorse about it. We loathe the gym, have no idea what to do once we get there and when we have given it a go, it ended with us feeling badly about ourselves.

With so many strong bodies, confusing equipment and knowledgeable gym rats running circles around us, no wonder so many people dislike exercise. Gyms can be cold and lonely when we do not know what we are doing or what is good for our bodies. So how do we “out of shape folks” ever succeed with fitness when the usual gym formula is set up for us beginners to catch up if we can?

Most gym establishments do not supply leaders, teammates or caregivers to help support newbies. Though the personal trainers, who peruse the gym floors looking to nab new clients will answer a question or two… understanding exercise requires more than a few questions. We need someone who will walk us through things until it sinks in. Somebody who will make sure we don’t hurt ourselves, talk us down when we want to give up and most crucial, hold us accountable to show up.

Without a fitness educator, guide or mentor to help us get up and running, it’s nearly impossible to find our own workout groove. We all have different needs and if our fitness routine doesn’t meet us where we are, chances are we won’t make it through a few weeks let alone our lifetime. Without help we get turned off, stop going, and claim, “We are not fitness people!” If we say that long enough, we begin to believe it.

Our bodies are designed to be strong; it’s actually more natural for us to be fit. When we are not strong we struggle with taking care of our bodies. We think we can’t succeed with exercise, but we can! It requires changing up the recipe, looking at how we came to this rational, and moving onward and upward to a body and life filled with the best health and wellbeing possible.

Why and how things go south, souring our palates for exercise:

We have a desire to be fit and finally one day say, enough is enough! Ready to get in shape, we actually walk through the doors of the gym we’ve been passing by for years. Credit card in hand, all systems GO, a quick meeting with the membership advisor leaves us even more motivated and encouraged. We sign up for a year, believing that investing a lump sum of money will be our motivation and feel psyched, nervous, excited, and hopeful.

We buy new workout clothes, shoes and a sexy new gym bag to complete the deal and then pick a day to begin. We schedule our introductory session with a trainer and vow we will go to the gym forever. We show up, learn some new tricks and then are turned loose to go get fit. Now what? We have no supportive community, no guidance, feel ridiculous and have no real idea what we’re doing. We wander around faking it for a week or two and notice our Gym Forever buzz beginning to dissipate.

Without proper support, 8 out of 10 of us unseasoned athletes jump in so far over our heads; we quit before we even see what’s possible.

We hop on a treadmill dialing it up to keep up with the speed racers beside us. About five minutes in we realize if we don’t dial it back, we may lose our footing, face plant and have the treadmill spit us out onto the floor behind us.

Next course on the menu is a cycling class, which feels safe since so many are doing it. But right out of the gate the instructor screams, “GO FASTER, PEDAL HARDER, GO BREATHLESS!” Following instructions and trying to fit in, we pedal feverishly. Our spine collapses and rounds forward, our necks sink down into our torso with our ears and shoulders so close they nearly touch. The stress in our bodies makes us so tense; it feels like we may just pop a disc. On the edge of cardiac arrest, with little to no oxygen left in our lungs we begin to see dead people… and think, Never Again!

Decidedly not a cyclist, we draft ourselves into a Boot Camp class. Just moments after pulling a muscle in the back of our thigh trying to kick our foot up over our heads, we fear we may have dislocated our shoulder executing a move directed by our instructor. Crystal clear that exercise is not for us, we throw in the towel and give up on a dream that must only belong to others.

It’s not a surprise that beginning in a typical gym environment is daunting when 90% of those around us seem like Olympians. Most people working out in gyms have been at it for years, so saddling up beside them can be humiliating to say the least. Still we will pay off our gym membership, only to go a handful of times and sign up a few years later, repeating the same old process. We continue to expect success from this dreadful equation and blame ourselves and exercise for failing.

We need wisdom, direction and reassurance to learn new habits. We would not expect that buying a ticket to another country would allow us to walk through customs knowing our way around and how to speak the language. There is an acclimation process. It takes at least 66 days to create a habit; so most of us will need guidance and encouragement to make exercise steady. We can’t expect to achieve it without a support system. Some manage it, but most can’t go it alone.

A good, caring and supportive teacher can make all the difference in the world. An environment that makes our heart happy can bring us back again and again. These are key things that should be delivered from our fitness environment. It says they care about us, want us to succeed and are there for us.

When we get this treatment from our chosen gym establishment, it’s like medicine that can cure our non-exercising hearts. This is the place where gym habits are born and can change everything we ever thought about exercise, our precious bodies and ourselves forevermore.

Whether it is or isn’t our wish to be fit, if we’ve ever attempted it, there is room to succeed. Having HELP is the secret formula. If we have someone teach us, we can learn how it’s done. We deserve to be fit and live a healthy life. We deserve support. We deserve caring. We deserve to be strong. We deserve a teacher who will support us, believe in us and is there to lift us up when we feel like giving up. We deserve a place where we matter, because we do. It is this that makes all the difference when it comes to succeeding or failing when aspiring to get fit.

So how do we make fit happen? Where do we find ourselves a Mentor and how will that change our experience?

First, let’s kiss the past goodbye and forgive ourselves for what happened before. Because we haven’t been taught properly, there’s room to learn something new and find fitness redemption! We should interview local gyms, studios, and workout establishments, asking ourselves if the space is welcoming enough to call it our own. It needs to feel like a home to us, comfy, warm and clean. A place of healing and Zen.

It should feel like OUR gym, our front door, our community, our teachers, our bathrooms, our equipment, our support staff, our style of music, and our type of environment. It should be a happy place with an energy that makes us feel welcome and valued. It’s essential that we feel comfortable enough to ask questions that may arise. We need to feel we belong, and not just because we’ve paid for a membership.

The right place is a home away from home, a sanctuary in which we are forever learning how to be supportive and caring toward our bodies. Though it may get us out of our comfort zone, if it has a certain flair that appeals to us, chances are we will opt to come back. With the right support system in place, we can make fit happen!

Let These Words Assist You When You Are Ready To Succeed With Fitness

ACCOUNTABILITY: A readiness to accept onus and account for one’s actions.

APPROACH: A methodology used in dealing with something.

SELF-CARE: Actions and attitudes that contribute to the maintenance and wellbeing of ones personal health that promotes human development.

COMMITMENT: The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.

COMMUNITY: A group of people having a particular characteristic in common.

ENVIRONMENT: The events, objects, and conditions by which one is surrounded.

EXERCISE BUDDY: Someone who will be there for you in your gym that proactively adds support and accountability to your workout.

HABIT: A settled or regular tendency or practice that is hard to give up.

INVESTMENT: Putting money and/or effort into something to achieve a result.

SCHEDULE: Arranging or planning an event to take place at a particular time.

SUPPORT: Encouragement and approval assisting us to succeed.

UNDERSTANDING: Sensitively aware of feelings; tolerance and caring.

The American Heart Association suggests that being physically active is important to prevent heart disease, stroke and many other national killers. Being active includes things like aerobic exercises that benefit our hearts, as well as strengthening and stretching exercises for stamina, flexibility and bone density.

To improve overall cardiovascular health, they suggest at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity). Only thirty minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember. You will also experience benefits even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 to 15 minutes per day.

You do not have to do it alone or in a place that doesn’t feel sweet to you. So locate your haven, your place, your teachers, your Mentors and you will locate your fitness!

Susan Rappaport is the founder of NuYu Revolution. NuYu is a thoughtful and compassionate exercise studio designed to build solid foundations for a healthy, ongoing relationship with fitness. Organic growth, realistic goals and easefulness keep members committed. The class-only experiences educate students in correct posture, alignment and breathing above intensity, preserving the musculoskeletal system. Offerings include Yoga, Mat Pilates, Posture Cycle®, Spine Align, and Mindful Strengthening, at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

The new, stylish 2,500 sq. ft. studio is located on 100th & Broadway

Visit our website: www.nuyurevolution.com

Contact Susan@NuYuRevolution.com or call (212) 663-1114 to receive information on New Member Specials.

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