You probably remember your parents' relentless requests for you to keep trying those lima beans or Brussels sprouts despite your protests that you hated them. They probably even told you that your tastes can change and you might change your mind about them. ("Yeah right!" you'd say.) Maybe you begrudgingly at them over the years, but they always encouraged you to keep trying. I scarcely ate a vegetable or fruit as a kid, but not I love almost every single one of them as an adult. Whether it's eating vegetables, riding a bike, or interviewing for a job, now that we're grownups, too, we understand the importance of trying things more than once—and not giving up.
But how often have you popped in to a yoga class, joined a running group, or visited a new gym for the first time, only to decide you didn't like X, Y or Z about it and give up, completely writing it off as something that's just not for you? I'm willing to bet that this happens more often than you'd like to admit. But unlike getting back on your bike as a kid or trying broccoli again as an adult, you don't resolve to go back and give it another shot. What's it really matter, anyway, if you just don't like Spinning class? There are plenty of other things you can do to get in shape.
The latter may be true, but I'd argue that it does matter. Yes, there are endless possibilities when it comes to achieving personal fitness, and different things work for different people. But just as you can misjudge someone after a first impression, you can do the same with exercises. That Pilates class you took that made you feel like you were flopping around on the floor like an out-of-water fish could have been just the ticket to getting you motivated and seeing results, but when you gave up after one class, you missed a golden opportunity. You'd never know if you never tried again, and that's a shame.
As a fitness instructor, I know that my style of teaching might not be for everyone, but that doesn't mean the workout itself isn't. I've tried a lot of different workouts that didn't wow me in the beginning. But no matter what, I gave it another shot. And another. I kept trying until I felt experienced enough to make a good decision about sticking around or moving on. I always tell people to try a new workout at least three times before they decide they don't like it. Try different instructors. Try it in different formats (a DVD, a class at another gym, a shorter or a longer session). Get as much diverse experience as you can with the workout, but do it three times—minimum. Then decide if it's right for you.
When I started running more regularly a couple years ago, I wouldn't say I hated it, but I definitely didn't enjoy it. I totally didn't get the love of running that Coaches Nancy and Jen would blog about so often. Was it the activity or me? I felt determined to experience what they were feeling because it seemed so great. I kept running (more than three times, I'll add!) and it took me more than a year to start liking it. Now, I can't imagine NOT running—and I'm so glad I didn't give up on it!
When I first experienced Pilates, I definitely didn't get it. I was skeptical of its claims, and I sure didn't see how these body weight exercises done (mostly) lying on the floor would help me in ways that weight training couldn't. But I kept at it, deepened my knowledge, and now it's one of my favorite workouts.
Yoga was another thing that I tried off and on for several years. There were times when I enjoyed it more, but ultimately, after trying it a lot, I decided to move on. I may be a yoga dropout—and I'm OK with that—but I'll still try it again. Just as you can change your preferences for vegetables or whole-wheat bread after awhile, I'm sure that I'll be in a place later in my life where I'll be better able to understand and benefit from yoga, even if it's not for me right now.
I'm going to sound like your parents here and give you flashbacks to the family dinner table, but KEEP TRYING! You'll be glad you did!
Have you ever given up on a workout after just one experience? What exercise have you written off that you could try again today?
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