What A New Workout Teaches You About Yourself

December 31, 2018
CKO Members and Guests during a warmup

A new workout class… otherwise referred to as the great unknown.
Your first day at a new gym to take on a new workout can bring out the best and the worst in you. It may also bring out something in you that you didn’t know existed.

You finally get up the nerve to schedule your first class. You lay out your workout clothes the evening prior and set your alarm to make sure you get there 20 minutes before class begins.

Suddenly, as you find yourself reconsidering the decision you just made, you hurriedly text your best friend to give you that confidence boost you need. Twice. After agreeing with her that you’re going to “Do this thing already,” you smile to yourself. Just another example of why she holds the title of “best” friend.

On the morning of, you over-hydrate, do a few quick push-ups and some air punches before heading out the door. After one more determined glance in the rearview mirror, you exit your car and emerge into the parking lot that will lead you to the door of what’s to come. The place where your burning questions will be answered and the truth will unveil itself.

Everyone on the brink of doing something new does so with a multitude of feelings; each feeling completely warranted. You feel like you’re walking in, exposed for everyone to see. Rest assured that though your feelings may differ from the newbie next to you, you’re all in the same boat. Perhaps post workout you can even grab a smoothie and bond over it. And perhaps you’ll even find that this new workout will teach you more than just how to throw the perfect punch.

CAPABILITY: Can I actually DO the workout?

When you sign up for a cardio kickboxing class you at least expect some cardio, kicking and boxing thrown in there. That’s a safe assumption but it still leaves a whole lot up in the air.

At first you’re tasked with learning the names of the strikes, kicks and all the other fitness vocabulary thrown at you. Then you have to physically perform these moves. All of this coming at you at the same time can be daunting.

Whether you’re a fitness buff or are stepping into the gym for the first time, a new workout is just that; new. And you’re left wondering if you can do it.

Focus, strength, stamina and coordination all come into play, but you develop these factors through time. And at CKO, because of its unique go at your own pace structure, time is on your side. It’s just up to you how far you push yourself.

Through practice, those two left feet that leave you feeling wonky can turn into a right and a left with every class you take. Soon enough you’ll be the one encouraging a first-timer to keep it up, that they too will get there.


Ever have that recurring dream where you show up to take a test only to realize that you didn’t study?

That common panic-stricken dream is in reference to the human desire to be prepared. And it’s relevant to starting a new workout.

Burning questions may surface in your head such as: Did I wear the right gear? Are these wraps going to work? How do I even BEGIN to “wrap” my hands? Can I see the instructor from this spot? Do I have everything I need?

Rolling up to a workout only to find out that you’re somehow unprepared is a total fitness buzz kill. Some workouts require specific threads and accessories. And depending on the workout you may need to alter what you do beforehand. It could be how you stretch or what you eat and when.

This is where you’ll learn to plan ahead by calling, researching FAQ’s online or just showing up well before the start of class to talk with the instructor. Gyms like CKO Kickboxing have pretty much everything you need to have a successful workout if you do by chance come unprepared. And it can happen to everyone, newbie or not.

If you forget something your first class, you’ll be better prepared the next time. That alone will contribute to a more confident you at your next class.

EXCITEMENT: I. Just. Can’t. Wait!

If you had to summarize your feelings in one word, jumping up and down you’d shout, “Pumped!”

You’ve been like a little puppy dog waiting at the door to bust outside as soon as it opens. Your motivation and positive attitude are so high you’re almost at cheerleader status.

Excitement puts you in a positive frame of mind. However, letting your excitement take over to the point where your concentration is lacking can hinder your success. Rein it in just enough to learn proper form and maintain acute focus.

Your enthusiasm will serve you, including others, well, as it’s infectious. It contributes to a “can do” atmosphere that can spread throughout the gym, benefiting everyone in its path. This positive atmosphere that your excitement has helped mold will forever be marked in your mind and make you want to come back again.

NERVOUSNESS: Will this anxiety subside?

You’re a little jittery. And it’s not the side effects of a turbo-sized coffee. You’re nervous about taking on this new workout because, well, it’s new. Your comfort zone is nowhere in sight and you’re feeling out of control and majorly apprehensive. This is all to be expected when, frankly, you don’t know what to expect.

When you feel nervous it’s as if there’s a flashing danger sign running throughout your body. This fight or flight response causes a racing heart and those annoying jitters; interestingly enough, these are the same exact symptoms as excitement. Hmmmm.

One of many studies on anxiety found that, “Reappraising anxiety as excitement primed an opportunity mind-set, which improved subsequent performance.”

In other words, instead of viewing these feelings as anxiety and focusing on all the potential negative outcomes, you can take a 180 approach and call this excitement with the potential for positive outcomes. This shift can gain you all of the benefits that the cheerleader discussed in the section above experiences.

Deep breaths, a positive spin and taking it one step at a time can help you conquer your nerves.

INTIMIDATION: How can I exercise next to these indestructible workout warriors?

You open the door and reality has set in. One look at the hardcore fitness beasts has you wondering if you’re crazy for even considering this. But everyone has a first class (even the beasts) and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Thinking that you’re out of your league doesn’t benefit you. Or does it?

Feeling intimidated, yet still proceeding with the workout is the greatest success you can achieve. From here the opportunity to surprise yourself with additional success is boundless. By deflating the power that intimidation can have on you, you will experience a surge in confidence. It’s one of those feelings that you will want to share with others and can personally revisit every time you set foot in the gym.

There will always be someone bigger, stronger, and faster than you, but no one began that way. They worked for it. And perhaps they were intimidated too but they fought through it, took their first class and never had a first class again.


When you walk into a place, you immediately get a sense of its atmosphere. It’s something that can cause you to stay or go.

Working out can make you feel on display, showcasing the truth of your physical and even mental capacities. And so, working out in an atmosphere that makes you feel comfortable is just as important as the workout itself.

You may wonder what the instructors and other members are like. Is it a friendly tight-knit environment? Do people socialize or keep to themselves? Will I feel included and supported? You almost want to yell, “Just what is this place already and who are these people so I can decide if this is for me?”

It’s the perfect opportunity to ask yourself what you’re looking for. As the new kid you have to decide what you want in a fitness environment and then seek it out. For you, the ideal environment may be a diverse one, filled with people of all ages and abilities, with a strong sense of community that puts you at ease.

Once you’ve determined the best atmosphere for you, instead of wasting time worrying if you fit in, you can focus all of your attention on your workout. After all, it’s why you’re there in the first place.


Socrates wrote that, “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”

Throughout this article, the word wonder has resurfaced again and again. You wonder if you can do the workout. You wonder what it will be like. You wonder how you are going to feel. And so on.

Wondering, or being curious, is the first step in taking on a new workout. It leads you to action. And through that action you are provided an opportunity to not just learn a new workout, but to also learn something new about yourself. And that is when you grow, thrive and feel more alive.

And it takes a first step, that first workout class.

From every feeling you had pre-workout you come away with a new feeling post-workout…

You can conquer your fear and turn it into excitement!
You can do anything one step at a time!
You are confident and can hang with the best of them!
You are more capable than you thought!
You realize that yes anyone, young or old, fit or just starting out, can learn new tricks!
You can gain new friendships!
You can, not only be accepted into a welcoming environment, but be the reason for it!
You can find your people!

And no, they won’t replace your best friend, but you might as well invite her to the next class!


* * *

Article written by Kimberly Oley, CKO Contributing Author and CKO Member since 2015!