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First Posted: 4/22/2013

The worst thing that you think can happen in the gym will not. You will not embarrass yourself. You will not look lost. You will not fail. Most likely, you built up this negativity in your head and convinced yourself that you’re doomed for failure. Most, if not all of what could go wrong during your initial visits, will NOT.

Whether it’s your first time in the gym or you’re a gym veteran that lost your way, meet with a trainer for a consultation to discuss a plan. By doing this, you eliminate that unsettling fear of the unknown. You’ll know what to expect at the first session, and it includes basic level approaches like how to move your body through space, not how you’ll do 25 jump squats, which is not simple, nor how to do sprint intervals on a treadmill, which is not simple. But doing one body weight squat or turning on the treadmill is simple. Walk in the gym and smile. Say, “I can do this.” Walk and smile. Done.

Thinking positively all the time is easier said than done. To be honest, I struggle with this. Maybe not in a gym setting, but in other aspects of my life. I like to be in control. When that control gets minimized, I get the same uneasy feeling from unfamiliar situations as most of you. Feeling comfortable with who I am helps me to put things into perspective and quickly squash those feelings of self-doubt as soon as they creep in.

Yes, there are exceptions.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to let go when you know it’s something you absolutely cannot control. It’s something I continuously work at, but I am committed to rising above even the most difficult situations. Focus on what you can control and change the way you react when it is something you cannot. Apply this concept when conquering your goal of losing unwanted body fat. You control everything you eat and whether or not you go to the gym. What you gain from your workout is controlled solely by you. You determine how high the bar is set. Don’t just show up – accomplish a goal.

Continuing to work on your goal is also simple once you adopt a fresh, positive outlook on how you react, respond to, and view situations. Once you take control of yourself, nothing is scary. Taking it to the next level is empowering, and there is nothing more exhilarating than feeling this way. You don’t know really how good you are until your truly challenge yourself.

I can do this. And so can you.

-Tim Hlivia is the owner of Leverage Fitness Studio in Forty Fort.