Face Your Fear or Get Your Ass Kicked (5-Minute Read)

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Connie Pretula

Connie Pretula is an inspiring health coach and Menopause Navigator to mature women, using a holistic approach to nutrition and life.

April 12, 2014

Those of you who followed my journey to compete in my first figure competition last year at the age of 51, know how often I was in the gym. I was with my trainer at least three times a week and added in another two days on my own. The last twelve weeks of preparation I was in the gym almost 3 hours a day, six days a week, it was almost my second home. I kept that schedule for 8 months. Prior to preparing for my competition, I would be in the gym maybe three days a week for an hour. 
People at Club 16 knew me, they saw the transformation, all the staff greeted me when I walked in the door! Those of you who are old enough, it felt like walking into Cheers, except no alcohol.
After my competition, my body was tired, I went to the gym a couple of times but my body was not able to handle the workouts. I started to see my physique change but I knew I needed to heal my body.
As time went on and I started to put on some weight, suddenly I had a fear inside of me; how could I return to the gym with the extra pounds! As each day went on the fear grew and so did my waistline, I was losing my muscle tone and my confidence.
I worked on healing my body from the hard workouts and acclimating my gut back to a more regular diet.
As the months went on I knew my body was healing and my diet was normal, it was time to start working out again. What I saw in the mirror was holding me back, there was no way I would be sporting my spray-tan body, toned abs and cute booty shorts.
I remember the first time I went to the gym; about 7 years ago a friend showed me how to use the weight machines and helped me with exercises using the free weights. My fear made me feel like I was starting all over and walking into the gym for the first time.
The silly thing is this time I know how to do the exercises, I had a workout routine, I was on track with the right nutrition but just couldn’t get myself to put on my gym clothes and go.
I stopped by to visit a good friend at her office, we both competed in figure on the same day and she was the best flatmate ever. 
As we talked she eventually pried out of me what was going on, I told her I was afraid to go workout, I was afraid to walk in the door. 
Shared with her I had gained 17 pounds since the competition, and showed her the sad state of my abs, we both giggled a little and she said “so what, who cares!”
Then she asked me what I was doing for the rest of the day; I replied “nothing, just going home”.
She said okay then you can go home, find your workout gear in the back of your closet. Her next question was do you have a program; I said yes.
Her next statement was “you have until 7:00pm to send me a selfie of you in the gym. If you don’t send me a selfie I am going to kick your ass!”
I knew she wouldn’t really kick my ass but I knew she wanted me to face my fear and get back to what made me feel good. She was also holding me accountable to her and myself.
I left her office, went home, put my gear together, wrote my exercises in my training diary and headed to Club16. I didn’t want to break my promise to her; she knew by making me promise I would go and she knew I would face my fear and feel better overall.
It had been almost 11 months since my last workout. I sent her the before-workout selfie and the after-workout selfie. She asked me how I felt; I said I was proud of myself and I felt great! She told me she was proud of me as well. I’m so grateful for her, I’m blessed to have such wonderful caring friends.
I’m sharing all of this to let you know that regardless of what I have achieved in the past doesn’t mean a fear or insecurity won’t pop up again in the future.
The other silly thing is there wasn’t a person in the gym I knew, they could have cared less about what my abs looked like or any other part of my body for that matter. But to be clear, my abs were hidden and the cute booty shorts are still in the closet.
If making a change means being accountable to someone else to get you started then do it…you have nothing to lose and so much to gain.
In my case, I regained my confidence as to what I can do and how I feel after a good workout. I will be sore tomorrow but this will be a good muscle soreness.
Next workout on Monday!
I think this story pertains to life in general, it is okay to have fears but we don’t have to go it alone, it’s okay to ask for support.

Thank you for reading my words.

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