I noticed something recently when in a class at my gym. I always stand where I’m obscured. Always. We have huge mirrors the cover the whole front of the classroom – except for the glass doors on the far right side – and I somehow am never able to see myself in them. This, of course, got me to wondering what that says about me.
At first, I thought maybe I did this because I sometimes had to be late (when the bus doesn’t pick the wee ones up early, it’s a huge challenge to get to the gym in time for the 8:30 class) and so sneaking in 3-5 minutes late, I’d simply find a spot on the right side in front of the doors so I would make less of a scene coming in late. But I’m not late every day, and I’m generally on time for the 9:45am classes.
My next theory is that I tended to spot myself where I am obscured because I don’t want to be in the front of the class because I’m new to the gym. Who wants someone who doesn’t know the moves between her and the instructor? Not me! When I have someone who has no rhythm standing in front of me, it makes it really difficult for me to concentrate on the class, and I definitely don’t want to be that person.
But I’ve been going for long enough that for the step class, I’m now one of the more experienced participants in the class. While I’m not perfect, I get the steps. Ditto with Zumba and Pilates. So being the newbie isn’t the reason I hide either.
I tried an experiment last week. I made sure to stand in the center of the room, not in the back but not in the front either. When the class started, I could see myself in the mirror. The class wasn’t completely full, so it was easy enough to move around and see what we were doing. By the end of class, I had somehow migrated to the right side of the room in front of the doors again, pulled like the tide from my original position. Interestingly, I didn’t even realize it until the class was almost over.
Intellectually, I want to be visible. Especially in Pilates, I want to see myself in the mirror to ensure that I’m in the right position and holding myself properly, knowing how much of a difference it makes when you’re at a 90 degree angle and when you aren’t. Even in Zumba and step, it would be nice to verify that what I think my body is doing is actually what my body is doing. Plus, it’s easier to see the instructor when I can see myself, because it means there aren’t as many people obstructing my view forward.
But apparently subconsciously, I disagree. Subconsciously, I want to draw back and hide. So what does that say about me? I’ve not come quite as far as I thought I had. As much progress as I’ve made over the course of the last year, I’m still not confident enough to put myself out there and have faith that I’ve got it.
I’m working on it, but I’m not quite there. I’ll try again this week to hang out in front of the mirror – and this time I’m focus on staying there. I don’t watch everyone in my class looking to see if they’re doing every move right, and neither is anyone else. My lack of subconscious confidence is visible elsewhere if I look for it, too. Standing in front of the mirror and staying there is just one piece of that.
Or maybe it’s just force of habit now.
So where do you hang out when you work out? Are you front and center by the instructor? Do you hang in the back? Are you off to one side? Do you do your best to blend into the mass in the middle?