So here I am: first week working in Fota Island Resort Hotel Ireland, and first time writing a blog. As the popular saying dictates “there’s a first time for everything” and hopefully today will mark the beginning of a series of blogs you’ll enjoy reading (that’s the aspiration anyway!). As a new marketing associate of Fota Island Spa Cork, I hope to discuss spa, fitness and beauty issues that are relevant to our every day lives, and perhaps even add a few little quirky bits into the mix.

Trying to decide on the topic of my first blog was no easy task. After all, first impressions count for everything (or at least they count for a lot), so I found myself going from idea to idea, to idea… But in the end, I can’t lie, I had a little help from my car radio. I was driving to work, when I heard: “Up next: why women are afraid of going to fitness classes”. My ears pricked up as I wondered “why are we afraid of going to fitness classes?”, and after a Justin Bieber song, I finally got my answer. A recent study has shown that a high percentage of women (can’t remember the exact number I’m afraid, but I can assure you it was high) are anxious about attending fitness classes due to low self-esteem. They’re afraid of how they’ll look in gym wear and of appearing uncoordinated in front of others, and indeed in front of themselves.

As I reflected on what I had just heard, and on my own reasons for not attending fitness classes as often as I should, I realized that there may be a lot of truth in the results of this study. We’re often so worried about how others see us, and that’s true for most walks of life, so why would that change just because the setting is a fitness class and not a work Christmas party? Yes, in a fitness class you’re not expected to look your super glamorous self, but there’s still that element of “what will others think?” that travels with you every where you go. Of course that’s not to say that that’s all women think about, and everyone is different, but I do believe there is that certain little voice in the back of our heads telling us “you’ll look silly”.

So, what do we do? Well, it seems that we have two choices: (1) we give into our fears and shy away from putting ourselves in a situation in which we feel others may judge us, or (2) we try to put things into perspective. I’m inclined to go with the second option. Of course the fear of having people judge you is very real and it can be quite strong, but I guarantee you that the person next to you won’t be worried about you or how you look, they’ll be worried about themselves and how they look. I would bet my life on it! As Eleanor Roosevelt put it:

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”

What we have to think about is the bigger picture; what do we want to gain from these classes? Perhaps we want to be fitter, or feel healthier, or lose a few pounds, whatever the reason is, there’s always an end goal that we envisage when we think about joining a fitness class. And that’s what we should focus on! If your goal is to become fit or toned, that should be your driving force, and you can’t let the fear of how you’ll appear to others become an obstacle. It’s about positive thinking. Easier said than done, I know, but if we always gave up on things we found difficult there is probably a lot of things we wouldn’t do!

The Secret, a best-selling book by Rhonda Byrne, talks about the Law of Attraction and explains that “like attracts like”: if you focus on positive thoughts you’ll achieve positive results. It may sound cliché, and you may argue that those are empty words that don’t actually carry any meaning. If that’s the case, I may even agree with you to some extent. It seems fair to doubt such a grand and general statement. And yes, it’s possible that having positive thoughts won’t always give you the positive results you want, but I think the issue, or the real lesson learned, is that we have to start somewhere, and our attitude counts for an awful lot!

We have to learn to focus on the positive and the things that matter (the things that really matter). If you’re worried about how you’ll look in a gym or in a fitness class, don’t be! We all have our own fears, our own self-doubts, and it’s just not worth it. Someone once described fear to me as “nothing more than a state of mind”. So what we need to do is control our state of mind! Think about how great you’ll feel after the gym or the class, and how happy you’ll be when you start to experience your body getting fit and toned. Focus on that and don’t let the mean voice inside you stop you from achieving what you want to achieve. This is a conscious decision that you need to make, but one that you won’t regret!

Thank you for reading my blog! I would be delighted to hear some of your own thoughts and opinions! 🙂 Ana