I'm a novice.
Noob, newbie, grommit… all the newfangled terms for brand new to something. In other words - not good. No skills. No chops. A rank amateur. A learner.
The great thing about being new, if you bring there right mindset, is the incredible learning curve. Every day is PB day! Let’s go way back. Remember learning to walk? Well, obviously not, but ask your Mum and she’ll tell you it was a triumph. First you arrived and you couldn’t do much of anything. It’s all eat, sleep, shit, repeat. But then, like a miracle, you gained your feet, put one in front of the other. You did it. You deadset legend!
Imagine if we adopted that mentality to today. To every day. You didn’t just walk that fateful day. You struggled, you were helped in every possible way, and finally you made the very first literal step. You sure didn’t give up and commit to a life of crawling. "Meet you at the pub?” “Is it ground dweller accessible?” No, you persisted, fell, smacked your head on the table, finally nailed it.
It’s fair to say that I’m very comfortable in a gym. Having spent my entire working life in or around one. Bar a brief stint as a promo boy and fork lift driver (I can tell you, a pallet of condensed milk oozes out slowly and takes forever to clean once punctured with two forks placed at the wrong angle. Now you know).
So, I was invited to a boxing gym by one of flatmates recently and I experienced that newbie feeling all over again. The feeling of uncertainty and anxiety about stepping into the unknown. What if I blow out? I’ll look like a dick. What If someone recognises me? My fitness reputation will be ruined. What if… "What if" is an unanswerable question that plagues us all. A question that gives you butterflies, instils the fear and can ultimately make you quit before you even start.
Having experienced that feeling every time I accept a new challenge (did you hear I did a burpee marathon?), I understand. I understand the nervousness, the self-doubt and the expectations to succeed - or fail - we put on ourselves.
The things is, there’s only one way forward, and that is to do something about it.
Step 1: Walk through the door. Coaches are here to take care of the rest.
Step 2: Tell the coach. It’s our job to optimise (some call it scaling) for you, help you find alternatives, and make the workout work for you.
Step 3: Manage expectations. You didn’t walk on day one just like I didn’t jump into the ring for 12 rounds against Tyson in the boxing class. (Editor’s note: Pity. Would have been great to watch.)
Remember, your coaches need you to succeed. If you don’t, you won’t come back and I’m driving a forklift again. Talk to me at anytime, about anything.
Help the coaches to help you, and we’ll keep being newbies together.
P.S. My arm hurts from hitting the bag too hard. Lesson relearned.