Monday, April 2, 2012

piCkeD LaSt iN gYm...

I was never athletic growing up.  I never played a team sport...ever...and I never played sports in school either.  In fact, P.E. was a miserable thorn in my side EVERY day that I went.  The feeling of dread that I experienced as I was dressing out before class was overwhelming, and the feeling of being a loser that I experienced for that hour everyday was even worse!  I could never climb the rope and when it came to being chosen for "teams"...I was almost always last or close to it.  Anyone who has "stood on the line" waiting to be picked...hearing everyone else's name be called as there are less and less people...knows that feeling.

I remember the day I had fulfilled my P.E. requirements in 10th grade and I no longer had to go.  I was overjoyed!  And so began an adult life where I avoided anything athletic.  I was conditioned to believe that because I wasn't good at it naturally, that it meant I never would be and I should accept it and not put any effort into it.  I had never belonged to a gym in my life until I was 34 years old.

I joined a gym because I was overweight and miserable.  Everyday was a struggle.  I was out of breath and tired and my own reflection repulsed me.  Although I always tried to look my best, I was often treated like I was invisible in stores.  There was even a day that a salesman stopped waiting on me in the middle of me trying to purchase a car stereo to wait on a young, thin, pretty girl.  It took me right back to gym being picked last...only because they were forced to.  I hung my head and walked out with my toddler on my big hip.  No one even noticed I was gone.  I sat in the parking lot in my mini van and cried uncontrollably.
So, when I decided to join a gym and get in shape, I was really scared.  I found a safe all women's gym...on the tiny downtown strip in my small town.  Most of the women were just like me...or at least I thought they were.  I was younger than most and they treated me nice.  My confidence began to grow...just a little.  By the time the gym went out of business almost a year later, I had lost 70 lbs.  I was no longer heavy.  In fact, I was VERY thin.  Although my confidence had grown, I was nervous about joining a "big gym" with men and women.  Still, I was loving working out and I wasn't gonna stop so I pretended to be brave and I signed up at a local gym.

It was there that I met the man that started out as my trainer and ended up one of my best friends.  I was a reluctant participant in a free 1 hour session with him, but through the course of events, I became his regular client for a year.  My life forever changed.  I was still NOT naturally athletic.  I was awkward and clumsy, and I had no sense of balance.  I wasn't accustomed to doing things I wasn't good at.  Those were the things I avoided in the year before.  Wes didn't allow that.  He pushed me...hard.  He knocked me down when I got too big for my britches and he built me up when I was feeling low.  When he moved away, I had to learn to do it on my own...and I did.  By the time I became a personal trainer myself, I was no longer the girl no one wanted on their team.  I was the girl leading the team...the one that everyone knew they could count on to go a little faster and fight a little harder.
Today...I can do pullups, and I can climb a rope...not one like we had in gym class with knots...a real rope.  Today...I may not always be first, but I'm also very rarely last.  Today...I have confidence in my ability, and I no longer dread walking into a gym.  The gym has become my refuge...a place I feel comfortable.  I know I'm not the only one with bad memories of gym class.  I know I'm not the only one to ever be picked last.  There may be people that read this that still feel that way at times...people afraid to try something new because they don't want to fail...people that feel like the last kid standing when the teams are being picked.  YOU CAN CHANGE THAT.  You do not have to be THAT kid anymore.  Face your fears and learn to do things you never thought you could.  Every time you think about NOT "dressing out" for the gym...change your mind and GO.  Every time you want to say, "I'm not athletic."...think of me.  Start today.  See yourself differently and decide that you will no longer be picked last in gym!


  1. I was picked last in gym and am still last to finish. That said, I no longer define myself by being's all about balance while exiting one's comfort zone.

    As usual, great post, Marsha.

  2. Hi Marsha, I just wanted to let you know I love reading your blog. I was always heavier when I was younger, despite my background in sports. I have always been inspired by health and fitness so I went to college for a degree in Fitness Development and now I am a certified personal trainer! I know you understand that even as personal trainers we still need motivation some days to get off the couch and work hard to achieve what we want. Today is one of those days for me so I just wanted to say Thank you! I am training for my first figure competition right now as well as training for Army Basic Training (I leave in a few months.) One of my goals is to be able to do a pushup. I am on a training plan for it now, but I was wondering what you did to achieve that level of strength? I feel like moving your own body weight is really what shows your outward strength.

    Thank you again!

  3. Hi Marsha
    I wondered whether you could help me with something. First of all thank you for your posts they really are great. Everything you have said in this post i had been at school and it followed through until I was 28 years old where i joined a Muay Thai PT Studio with my brother in law and trained my ass off hit a plateau, stopped going and started again 6 months later from scratch mind you. I'm now 32 years old and feel i've repeated that cycle 4 times already. I've never really achieved my goals. It is hard when we dont' know each other to give advice but your words do help.

    I'm a lovable person, caring and I give a lot to other people and I like to help them that's my whole family really. At that age i decided on a life long change in career to become a Personal Trainer. Now whether i decided to do this for me and/or others i'm not sure and I still don't know 4 years later.

    I'm like a yo yo to be honest and the mental game is hard to deal with at times juggling wanting to be fit, being a PT and working full time. I have a great man in my life who i'm marrying in November and I can't wait. I'm hard on myself i have to say that, i'm a Capricorn and I hate to fail therefore I fear failing which in turn STOPS me from achieving anything it is like a brick wall and i can't get over it nor do i know how. I'm confused and frustrated and every day is a battle to be honest, i really don't know how to prioritise. I train women 3 nights a week to help them but who is helping me...i'm in a new job and i'm a tad stressed to be honest.

    I don't know what i'm asking to be honest and i've never written on anyone else's blog before nor let along tell anyone this. I just felt that perhaps we or anyone reading, were on the same page yet not confused like me ha!

    I'm not obease i'm 72kilos 163cm tall and i've got every limb i was born with I've never been under the weight that i currently am my whole life. I've started CrossFit and love it, i'm just so scared, scared i'm going to stop like I always do for fear of pushing through and reaching my goal. I just don't know how. I can easily help others but when it comes to myself it's always put on the back burner. I've run 21kms in November and January did a trail run of 28km and stopped training in January for nearly 3 months now due to miss understandings, confusion and friendships just like your other blog. Achieving those runs weren't even a sucess for me and i've no idea why, especially when i've absolutely despised running in the past.

    Ok so without me dribbling on and on i'd really like your advice. I know i need to make the decision yet i'm just hoping you might say something that i haven't thought of as yet. PS i'm trying so hard to do Paleo i love the food.