Gymtimidation: Finding a cure for this common fear through fun, functional fitness
I have a friend named Anne. Anne is sweet and giving and altogether an amazing woman. She says she has never “worked out”, and is holding onto a little more weight than she would prefer but considered herself pretty active all her life by walking, swimming, taking bike rides and hiking with her husband. Her kids are getting older now and she is solidly sitting in her forties and is noticing her body shape changing and starting to feel what she calls the ‘pops and creaks’ of age.
Do you know what I’m talking about here? For example, when you stand up, it takes an extra minute for you to straighten your back from stiffness. Or when you walk up the stairs the sound of joints cracking is loud enough to wake someone up. She confided in me that these little aches and pains are becoming more frequent and she feels tired or winded after things that never used to bother her, like carrying in the groceries or lifting laundry baskets. That’s no fun, so I asked her if she wanted to join me at the gym and start building some muscle back up. She laughed. Loudly.
She, like many other people, thinks that the gym is a place full of muscular men watching themselves and their biceps in the mirror and fit women strutting around in tight fitted, overpriced gym clothes. Well I know that this is an extreme exaggeration and stereotype, I also realize that Anne is not the only person who thinks this way. I took a poll on my social media page last year and was shocked at how many people had a similar response to the idea of joining a gym.
Gyms or Fitness Centers can be intimidating. When you walk in and see lots of equipment, machines and weights that you don’t know what to do with and the walls are lined with mirrors it can be enough to make some people turn right around and leave. But I promise, it doesn’t need to be that way. The right trainer, the right program and the right environment can make all the difference and actually make getting and staying fit seem fun!
Getting in shape or working out doesn’t have to mean bodybuilding, and power lifting. My friend Anne, and many like her, is not looking to get big bulging muscles but rather just feel better, inside and out. She wants a workout that improves her daily life, helping her with balance and coordination, gaining some strength and flexibility and helping her bones and joints stay healthy as she ages. This type of focus is what many trainers and fitness professionals use the term “functional training” or “functional fitness” to describe. Functional training focuses on body movements, core stability, and dynamic movements. Using multiple planes of motion that work your whole body verses targeting one specific muscle group can help build stability, coordination and balance while still helping you get stronger and leaner and feeling great about yourself.
At root SUP & Fitness in Leonardtown, MD they want you to feel welcomed not intimidated. The trainers are extremely knowledgeable, but also kind and understanding. Their clients are a diverse group of regular people, putting in time and effort, gaining confidence and strength and having a blast doing it.
At root, they believe that the goal to getting fit should not be singular. Instead of worrying only about the number on the scale or the size of your muscles, fitness should be about your entire lifestyle.
Jenn Houck, co-owner at root SUP & Fitness shared their motto. “We want you to feel good. This means physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually-all of it!” They want to help people live their daily lives and perform daily tasks without pain or discomfort. These co-owners go the extra mile to help all clients feel at ease-“Anyone can make you work out, we want to take care of you” said Cathy Pierce, a Certified Personal Trainer, Yoga teacher, and Jenn’s partner. She really means it.
“It’s crucial.” adds Cathy, “People must be aware of how THEIR body moves so they can move efficiently and effectively for daily living.”
This total body approach is different than you would find at a typical box gym or fitness center because Jenn and Cathy believe in, and promote, an entire lifestyle approach. When you join a class or group with them they welcome you with open arms. Whether it’s your first time ever working out or you have been with them for years they are genuinely interested and concerned about you and how your body works and how to help you reach your goals. Cathy says, “We want to know you, this means not just asking about your movement and health history, but finding out about your nutrition, asking what you like to do for fun, knowing what activities you do with friends and family.” When you come in to root the first time instead of measuring tapes and scales they like to watch you move. Performing their assessments through observation helps them assess your body movements and needs so they can suggest modifications and design their programs to help you get the most out of every action.
If you are looking for a safe and welcoming place to get started root is the perfect solution. Every client is always with or directly supervised by a Certified Personal Trainer, teaching and assisting you with proper form, assessing movements, and noting changes from session to session and making the appropriate modifications when necessary to help you reach your goals.
“We try to make everyone feel welcome just by being us,” states Houck. “We are genuinely here to support our clients and help them achieve their goals. We encourage you to start slow and make small, attainable goals and communicate your goals and feelings with us constantly.”
So if you are like my friend Anne, searching for something to help you feel better but not looking for your typical gym environment, root SUP & Fitness has found the answer. If you have long suffered from gymtimidation, Cathy suggests starting with a group class, “Try it once and then tell me you don’t like it! There is a camaraderie in our groups and chances are there is at least one other person who feels just like you!”
This is the future of fitness. Drop the notion of giant barbells and mirrors and picture floating in a hammock with friends during an aerial yoga class, laughing with a group while you learn to balance on one foot while moving your arms, finding some inner peace during an invigorating yet relaxing yoga session or splashing around and learning to use a stand up paddleboard. All if these options are available at root where fitness really is fun and you should leave every session feeling great about yourself and your accomplishments.