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 For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 NIV


Exercise: What's Holding You Back?

Posted on March 12, 2019 at 10:15 AM

 Image by Mabel Amber on Pixabay.

I remember standing with a group of kids while team captains picked their teams. I waited and waited for my name to be called until I was the only one left standing there… waiting. “Oh, do we HAVE to take HER?!?!” the team captain whined. The teacher insisted they did. I always held the end of the jump rope because I always tripped over the rope trying to get into its rhythm, “Schlop! Schlop!” I was never fast in track nor could I score winning shots in basketball. My only saving grace in softball was being able to switch-hit, because this lefty lived in a right-hand dominated world. You would always see me warming the bench in almost everything I did with sports. I never tried out for cheerleading because I just knew I would fail, so I didn’t fail because I didn’t try. In our small farming community, people believed either you had “it” in you or you didn’t have “it” at all. It. Evidently, I didn’t have “it”, whatever “it” was.

One area where I shined, as best as my family could afford, was twirling baton. They paid for lessons and sent me to baton camp a couple of summers. Mezmerized by the Ohio State Drum Major Dwight Hudson in 1979 (OSU), I tried over and over to do what seemed as natural as breathing to him. Not nearly as polished, but good for me, I took some great new moves home. A glimmer of discovery came that I could indeed do something physical well. Certainly, I dropped my baton several times and felt the sting of broken blood vessels when the baton hit my fingers breaking blood vessels in the middle of performances. I did well, but kept trying to do better.Then adulthood edged in and baton twirling was no longer the "in thing". People asked, “Why are you doing THAT?” So I stopped. I guess adults aren't supposed to do THAT.

In college, I was offered the opportunity by an aerobics instructor in college to join a dance troupe on campus. She noticed balance, coordination and grace flowed through my movements in the aerobics class, but I turned it down because certainly she was mistaken. I wasn’t graceful and coordinated like she thought. It wasn’t until I took my son to karate class at a local church that I really discovered I could do something well, with skill and grace at that. The telltale moment came when I performed a kata (karate form) I had created at a mixed martial arts competition. There were only two of us competing in this executive female black belt level event-- the state champion and me. My sole goal was to show that my kata was worthy of adding to our black belt rank skills for our students. There was no way I could beat her. I didn’t, as expected. But something inside me piqued my curiosity, so I asked her, “What was your score?” She reluctantly showed me as we compared the scores. We both stood there speechless for a moment, her eyes wide as she glanced from our cards to me. I was only one-tenth of a point behind her score! At first, I thought there is no reason to be proud about coming in second with only two competitors until I saw the score. Believe me, I proudly toted that trophy home! Why the difference between my youth and that moment?

What is Holding You Back?

Quite often, I came across gym members like my younger self, those who were clumsy and uncoordinated. They believed the lie they could never do anything physical well. They didn't have "it". As I analyzed their movements, there were glitches I found. Much of the problem stemmed from not being taught in a manner in which they learned best. The other was the mindset that drug them down like a ball and chains. Maybe you are one of those people who would rather cheer others on than to fail over and over until you finally got "it".

Here two things that can free you of the chains that hold you back from running, rock wall climbing, dancing, rollerblading, and much, much more:

First, we have our own learning styles. I learned differently than our tiny farming community expected. I didn’t have “it”, but I did need the how’s and why’s of the movement or the sport to learn them. I analyze movement to master it. No one took the time to teach me the way I needed to be taught physical things. Learning to twirl baton met me where I learned best coupled with my own raw talent. Even though I wasn’t a team sport natural, if someone had taken the time to teach the way I learned best, I would have at least done better in basketball and track. Karate instructors teach this way. Kinesiology in college also teaches the way I learn best. I put that to work every time I work with a client for personal training or help someone in PraiseMoves class. God purposely created you are the way you are, including how you learn. You have a learning style for physical activity—and other pursuits, for that matter. Find someone who teaches the way you learn.

Second, mental attitude. Someone saw my potential and knew I needed to know I couldn do it. God saw my pain and frustration, so He prompted me to ask the state champion to compare scores. He prompted people to encourage me along the way and give me the opportunity to try. Those old negative messages still play in the background of my mind, “You can’t do anything right, “Who do you think you are?” “You will never amount to anything!” and even, “Who whippt you with an ugly stick?” I have to dismiss them over and over again. God created me with a particular graceful flow, a beauty I didn’t know I had. It certainly doesn’t make me better than anyone else, nor do I share my story with you looking for approval. I share it to encourage you to keep trying physical activities. There are so many types you are bound to find one that fits you. Try to do something you want to do physical well by trying different types of physical activities. You will eventually find your sweet spot. Here is why: God created us intricately with the amazing capacity to do tremendous things. Yet many of us struggle to get off the couch to exercise. Don’t be the one on the couch.

It has been a privilege to work with some unique people in my fitness career: ambidexterous people and left-brained left-handers (Readers Digest). Their gift is in uniquely-wired brains. It often causes right-left confusion in physical movement with gross motor skills (large muscle movement).  I think the ambidexterous people I worked with may have been lefties who adapted by using their right hands, which explains their coordination problems. They can do bilateral movements like the breast stroke and elementary backstroke, but alternating movements, like front and back crawl and sidestroke, requiring coordination of the left and right-hemispheres of the brain. These caused them to fail over and over so they just give up. I found that we could circumvent the circuits. We had to break down the movement pattern down into systems. Left-brained people are scientific, mathematical, and logical. They work in systems. One side of the brain worked on one system while the other side of the brain worked on the other system when we finally pulled the pieces together. Functional training challenged my left-handed mathematician client, but it also helped her find the grace in physical movement she longed for. Feel like a clutz? These people certainly did, but they learned how their brains worked and began saying, “I can do that! Let’s try it!” Mental attitude gives you the ability to venture into unknown. Learning the way you learn best makes scary territory become a victory.

So, what is holding you back? If you are afraid of people laughing at you, then let’s have the last laugh together. Wouldn’t it be great to learn to do something well, then when the scoffers see you perform beautifully, then you can laugh to yourself, “Ha! Ha! Look what I can do!” The scoffers will either praise you or be silenced and leave. Have the last laugh. As you bask in your newfound skills, give God the glory and praise because He knew what He was doing when He created you!

May God bless you!

Looking for Personal Training? Personal PraiseMoves? Ask me how.


"10 Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About Ambidextrous People" by Meghan Jones. Reader's Digest. March 12, 2019.

"Dwight Hudson: 1977-1979" The Ohio State University Marching and Athletic Bands. March 12, 2019.

Categories: exercise, fitness, faith

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