Maybe you have felt this way before too. Perhaps for not the same reasons, but you've felt awkward, intimidated, or simply different/new/other at the gym.
Well let's pop those inflated negative thoughts with a few reframes that I find helpful anytime I am trying something new, feeling out on a ledge, or just a little uncomfortable in new and unfamiliar territory.
1. GET HONEST ABOUT THE FEELING
Feelings are a little bit like monsters under the bed.
The longer we go avoiding them, the scarier they get.
So take a long hard look at what you're feeling - maybe even write it down. In my case I told my husband, "I feel totally weird on camera. Everyone is going to be distracted by how pregnant I am versus what I've normally looked like for the past 7 years on camera."
As I said it, I heard myself. Well yes, they are going to see how I look -- because this is how I look.
But is that really why people are watching the video?
And, is that really why other people are at the gym?
For the most part people are pretty focused on themselves. Yes, there are always jerks in life. However, most of the time people are caught up in doing their own thing. The fear is likely a little bigger than the reality.
2. CONSIDER WHAT THE FEELING PREVENTS YOU FROM EXPERIENCING
You're at the gym. What did you want to feel when you were there?
Confident, strong, accomplished?
If the intimidation of being at the gym with people who seem to know a lot more about equipment, exercises, and training than you do is absolutely normal.
Guess what? They were new too once.
The feeling of belonging is a strong one. But fitting in isn't the same as belonging. Fitting in often includes some level of conforming or transforming oneself to fit a mold.
But, baby, you're not here to fit anyone else's mold but your own.
Remember what you really wanted? Confidence. Strength. Accomplishment.
Are you really going to let the fear of the gym get in the way of those things? They are absolutely within reach for you!
When gym-timidation is holding you back remember the monster under the bed. It's not so scary when you look at it straight on, so don't let it block you from getting the things you really want.
So take action, even if you're scared. Your health, confidence, and well being are totally worth it!
Not to sound too cliche, but 'just do it'.
3. ASK FOR SUPPORT
Most gyms offer FREE tours, and some even offer introductory sessions with trainers or floor staff to get to know the equipment.
Take advantage of these opportunities. You might enjoy it so much that you're inspired to pay for a few personal training sessions.
Getting acclimated with the layout and the equipment of a gym will help you feel calmer when you're trying something new. With a little bit of knowledge you're also more likely to perform the exercises with more safety, and better form. Talk about a win-win.
Plus, walking around the space with an employee will help you feel like you belong there too. Let the confidence they demonstrate in the gym rub off on you. They are there to help, and if I know anything about people in the fitness industry - they are OBSESSED with helping people start a new fitness regimen.
Literally, we live for that sh*t.
NOW, TAKE STOCK.
When you leave the gym after confronting your gym-timindation get into the car, crank your tunes, and pat yourself on the back.
You just did something absolutely outstanding for yourself, and you did it scared.
Experiences that are worthwhile in life often start with actions that are done scared.
Every time you visit the gym the experience will get a little easier and easier - well emotionally. I can't guarantee training will get easier. In fact, it should get harder - if you're doing it right ;)
Soon enough you'll be pumping reps like a pro. One day you just might see someone out of the corner of your eye that looks a little intimidated. You can smile at them, offer support, and perhaps make a gym buddy.
We've all be new before, and the gym is a place where new people should 100% belong.
If you want some mid-week yum that prioritizes protein, fiber, and deliciousness without a ton of added sugar, gluten, or grains -- this recipe is for you!
I do eat gluten and flour products, but sparingly.
Why? Bloat and constipation if I'm being honest. My family has autoimmune issues in our genetics, and my body is sensitive to gluten, added sugars, dairy, and wine (but tequila yes please and I miss you - as soon as this baby is out of me please serve me an agave sweetened margarita with lime so fresh my mouth turns inside out.)
But back to my point if I'm going to have a delicious baguette, or an amazing croissant, or a killer bowl of pasta - I'm going to make it count. That typically means only on the weekend so that I can sit on the couch with the consequences of my actions and not have to worry about gross while working.
I'm glad I have been able to maintain healthy eating habits throughout this pregnancy. But one area that I had to really start tracking with more consistency was my protein intake. I've always been OK at getting enough protein in. But growing a baby while also maintaining my training regimen of heavy lifting and cardio (yes let's talk about it! I exercise, intensely while pregnant.) Definitely talk to your doc about their recommendations. But for me, honestly exercise, including intense exercise, has made this time so much more comfortable for my mindset and my body. And my OBGYN is happy as a clam with mine and her progress. But that's for another blog.
Ok back to the recipe because that's why you're here.
I like a fluffy pancake as much as the next girl. I may like a crepe a little bit more (which is probably why I love this recipe.) But, I really don't need a bunch of sugar and flour in the AM.
My normal egg or tofu scrambles with pepper, onion, and hot sauce can get a little boring day in and day out. And, my morning smoothies sometimes can feel like a chore. That's when I began to rotate this recipe into my morning.
It's easy, delicious, versatile, and pretty darn hard to screw up.
... and if you just need a little more sweet, a drizzle of local honey.
... nutrient bonus, if your eggs are pretty large you can also throw in a scoop of your favorite collagen mix. Some people put in a scoop of protein mix. But I prefer my collagen mix in this recipe because it blends really well with no change in taste.
Prep Your Mix
Blend or wisk together mashed banana, eggs, cinnamon, and salt
Heat Your Pan
Spray a medium size pan with avocado, olive, or your preferred cooking spray. I use avocado or olive oil sprays. (You can also use butter, but butter will burn faster.) Heat on medium to medium-high heat. Do NOT go high heat. You will burn your oil, and your food.
A quick note on pans:
I love cooking. I use stainless steel pans and use natural oils for non-stick. I'm not a fan of coated non-stick pans for many reasons. And if you're thinking, "Wait, what! That means I may need to use oil!" Probably, yes. The amount of fat you need to prevent food from sticking is NOT an issue - promise. That's another reason why I love good-quality avocado and olive oil sprays (that don't have any added extras). They coat the pan evenly without a tremendous amount of product, and they don't negatively impact taste. But you do you boo!
Pour Your Mix
Pour 1/4 Cup of your mix into the center of a well-heated pain (you want to hear a small sizzle).
Circle the mixture out until it becomes round and evenly distributed. This technique is a bit like a crepe.
You need the eggs to cook. Reduce your pain from medium-high to medium or slightly lower. You don't want to see anything smoking.
Because this isn't a normal pancake with a leavening agent, you won't be able to use the typical bubble method to gauge doneness. Instead you are going to watch the eggs cook and the edges shrink back.
Look for the edges to begin to shrink back.
Time to Flip!
If your pan allows, use a metal spatula to flip your cake. A thick plastic spatula is going to tear it. You need something that can scrape and release the cake from underneath (one of many reasons why I don't like non-stick pans.)
When the edges shrink, back, slide your spatula under, take a peek at the bottom, and if it seems jiggly in the middle - STOP - and wait. Then, once you know it's go-time. Get ready for your big flip!
Flip and enjoy your culinary prowess.
Transfer & Go Again!
Once your banana pancake is ready to come off the heat, transfer it to your place. And, get going on your next 2-3 cakes.
Once you have a nice stack of cakes, drizzle your peanut butter on top.
I only eat all-natural, peanut-only peanut butter. Sometimes I use almond-butter. But either way it doesn't have added oil or sugar. So you have to stir it, and its more liquidy than the other stuff. The viscosity of the butter allows for a drizzle (rather than a spread) and I drizzle these cakes with the peanut butter - omg yum.
When I'm feeling a little extra, I add a light drizzle of local honey.
Don't worry too much about measuring. Just hold the bottle up high, and look for a really thin stream of honey and do a criss-cross pattern a couple times until it feels like you're a chef.
Finally, top with your favorite berries. I do blueberries and raspberries most often.
"Your anger can be the best part of you, sweetheart."
That's what my therapist said to me.
It hit strong. I knew immediately what she said was true. I started to cry.
"It's possible to love your anger. Your anger shows you where your boundary is."
It always seemed to me that emotions are a lot like fashion trends. Some people can really pull it off. Others, only a few people could away wearing. Happy is a good pair of jeans. Confident, a white t-shirt. They never go out of style. Angry is a suit appropriate for very limited settings, and not right for most others - definitely not me.
When I took my therapist's suggestion to love my anger, and explore it rather than ignore it I naturally used my Yoga practices to aide in the process.
So if you've been working with anger lately here are some practices I have found helpful.
Embracing anger the inner fire it stokes feels in contrast to Yoga on the service. Vairagya, after all is a practice in itself. However, vairagya, which is often considered dispassion or non-attachment, doesn't mean things won't piss me off, or righteously fire me up. I am human after all.
Instead, I've come to understand that suppression is not non-attachment. In fact, it's ultimate attachment. Suppression means I am keeping something with me way down deep and never actually facing it because it becomes too painful or feels too shameful. Yoga practices can help move through the immediate sting and bring some mastery over the emotion and experience that I'm feeling, so that a more beautiful inner state is possible.
1. Use the Heat Through Movement
If you're really feeling angry this probably won't be hard to do. Building and using heat in the body through movement can be a great way to shift the fire from sitting in your belly, your heart, or your throat, and allow dilute throughout the body where it can be put to proper use. Movement requires energy. So use your fire as fuel, and don't hold back until you feel like you've shifted from a concentrated heat, to an evenly metabolized heat.
2. Tell Yourself What You're Angry About Using Your Voice
In Yoga we have a practice of Satya. Sat is the root of this word, and it means truth. We also have a practice known as Svadhyaya, which is the practice of studying ourselves or knowing ourselves. When we are willing to acknowledge to ourselves the belief about the anger it doesn't mean we need to voice it anyone around us (or the person that perhaps influenced our heat.) Rather, it's a practice of being honest with ourselves and then getting to know more about ourselves in that process.
3. Control Your Breathing
In Yoga we call this pranayama. Prana is vital life force, and yama is a control, boundary, or restraint. Two great pranayama practices for anger include Lions Breath (inhale through the nose, tougue out, exhale out the mouth). Lion's Breath will help you let some heat out and similar to movement shift from feeling concentrated and bubbling over, to a more balanced space. Then follow it up with 3 part breath, which is a deep diaphragmatic breath filling belly, ribs, and chest, then exhales that releases chest, ribs, and finally belly. 3 Part Breath soothes the nervous system shifting from a state of high arousal to a place of calm.
In this process don't struggle for angers, or try and put a goal to the practice. Instead just witness and observe. See what comes up. No matter what, taking practices like this puts space between the feeling and the next action. If there is action that needs to be taken you can use your practice to do it from a place where you feel empowered, centered, and clear.
I call them the usual suspects.
Those places in my body that get very tight when I'm thinking too hard, worried, working long hours, or just letting my brain spin.
For me it's the chest, neck, and jaw.
This area of our body is ultra complex. The shoulder and neck joints are incredibly mobile and play ball with the upper back and the chest. It is easy to understand why we cramp up in our face, jaw, and chest especially if we are locked into a very cerebral experiences.
In this personal practice we do very, very simple shoulder motions, neck stretches, and breathwork to zap tension in the shoulders, chest, neck, and face. What's great about these complex and integrated parts of the body is that one or two simple moves can positively impact the whole system. After light movement we head into intentional pranyama practice drawing from Lion's breath.
Replace stress, worry, and tension, with peace, softness, and clarity
Want to take this practice further?
This breath is also used in a Kriya practice inspired by the Goddess Kali the goddess of destruction, and thank goodness for her. How can we ever rebuild if we are still clinging to what's broken and no longer working? In that Kriya practice you take Goddess pose and make either the shape of a sword with arms overhead, or goal post with chest open wide. Then, engage with lion's breath, or I suppose we could consider it lioness breath too.
I hope you enjoy this practice as much as I enjoyed recording it for you.
Body. Mind. Spirit.
Hi there! You found me. My name is Julia Marie Lopez. For 22 years I have studied meditation and mindful movement as my primary tools for healing. For the past 13 years I have worked as an instructor, a wellness business owner, the Founder of Practice Everywhere, and now I am embarking on a new adventure to expand how we define our Personal and Public Practices.
Since I offer you my experience and perspective, share my writing about life, love and wellness, and offer a bit of unsolicited advice, I think you should also know that I do include affiliate links and promotions in some of blogs. If you make an action (such as sign ups, memberships, or purchases) I might earn a commission. I promise to use this income to support my love of coffee, dogs, yoga, and my family (in no particular order).💜