This blog post is part of a paid Megan Media and lucy Activewear blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.
Growing up in the countryside of Puerto Rico, my parents loved living an active, outdoor lifestyle. From hikes to bicycle trips, my brother and I were always dragged off into a new adventure. They loved being one with nature and always found a way to sneak in some sort of physical or workout activity. A trip to the playground meant pull-ups on the monkey bars for my dad, and a walk in the park really meant a light jog for mom. As for me, I always hated it! I was a chunky kid, and I wasn't very good at sports nor did I have much stamina. I tried my best to keep up with my peers, which meant ignoring the stares, the chuckles and the not-so-helpful cheers of encouragement from bystanders.
These experiences truly changed how I evolved as an active adult. Instead of running around in gym class, I hid in a corner. I avoided sports like the plague, and it took me a long time before I felt comfortable working out in front of people. Choosing to be active is not always a decision that is easy or that comes naturally. Partner that with a fear of failure, rejection or being judged and you’ll understand why so many people just stay home and never get started. I know how that feels, which is why I wanted to share with you some of the tips I’ve used to get myself moving and feeling more confident working out in front of people.
Set up attainable and realistic goals that will help build your confidence.
Deciding to become active can mean as little as deciding to take a walk around the park, or as intense as hitting the gym everyday. Whatever you pick, make sure that you are starting off with something that you are excited about and that will make you happy. When I finally gave up on the family outdoor adventures, I decided to start taking salsa classes as a way to stay active. I had always loved dancing and this sounded like a lot of fun. I worked closely with my instructor, and together we set goals for my development. I got better and stronger, and with that, I became more confident in my skills.
Eventually, I was performing in front of thousands of people without batting an eye. The reality is that when you approach something new, you need to be honest and realistic with yourself. You can't go from never running to entering the NYC marathon in a month. I believe that growth takes time and that setting realistic goals that you can accomplish and celebrate aids in building confidence in your new activity. So start small with an activity or task you enjoy or feel comfortable with. You can even start at home and eventually push yourself to the next level. Work through your goals at a pace that feels good to you!
Own it – You have every right to be there!
I remember feeling like a huge outsider when I first returned to the gym. Honestly, who was I to step foot in there and stand next to men and women who, in my mind, were experts? It took some time before I was able to shake off that feeling and realize that I, like everyone else, had a right to be there. Who cares if the person next to me is a “pro?” I was there to work on me, for me, not for anyone else. And no, I didn’t need their permission or approval. So ladies, my next tip is to own it! Embrace your new activity with your head held up high and a smile on your face. You are doing this for you and no one else. This is your journey!
Zone out and focus on your process.
Three years ago I decided to pick up jogging. It was something completely new and a big challenge for me. I remembered running with my mom as a kid and being terrible at it. You guys remember my stamina problem? Yes, that followed me into adulthood, so running was not something that was going to come easy. I got off my couch and began training for a 5K. Each time I hit the treadmill I focused on meeting another one of my mini goals. I was in the zone. With my headphones on and my music pumping, I could see the imaginary finish line ahead. Ladies, it is very hard not compare yourself or your progress with others, but trust me, it is key to remember that this is your process and you have to stay focused on that. Everyone at that gym has a story, has a challenge and ultimately has a goal. Toss those headphones on and make that time about you and what you want to accomplish.
Living an active lifestyle is just that, a lifestyle. If you are not having fun, it won’t last very long. For me, part of having fun is looking cute while I workout. No oversized t-shirts here. Thankfully, the options for plus-size activewear is growing, which means more options for a girl like me that wants to feel secure at the gym and look awesome at the same time. For today’s post, I tried out the new Extended Sizes collection from lucy Activewear.
As I read the background of the seven inspiring women behind this amazing company, I knew that I had found the right place for me. Focused on high-quality performance gear, fun designs and great fit, lucy has made a name for itself among the fitness sector and also among women who are looking for a secure, comfy pair of leggings that will take them from the park to the market. I love that the lucy brand is focused on confidence and female strength. Their motto that all women are more alike than different really resonated with me, especially as a plus-size woman.
Lucy’s Extended Sizes collection gets two thumbs up from me, and guess what? Lucy is offering one $150 giftcard to one lucky winner, all you have to do is share how you are conquering being active in front of people and/or share my story with someone who you think could benefit from it.
Last year I decided to take my jogging program outside. Yes, the bystanders were still there. Some just stared, some chuckled and one older woman even cheered me one. Yes, it was hard, but each time I went out there it became easier and easier. Now, I no longer see them. All I see if the finish line ahead of me.
This blog post is part of a paid Megan Media and lucy blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.