You have to take three bites

October 13, 2018

We have a rule in our home that if we don’t want to try a new food, we have to take three bites and then decide. It is easier for me as I do most of the cooking and why would I prepare something I didn’t want to eat?

For our kids, however, they have to take their three bites and then make their choice. I think we should do the same for trying new exercise.

When I suggest a particular type of exercise, such as a water class, a number of people will say they won’t like it or they will try it and never actually do so. Why are we so inclined to shy away from new and different exercise?

“I won’t be good at it.” Our son says this for nearly everything new when it comes to sports or some other physical activity and, at times, academic challenges. He is extremely athletic and intelligent and he usually succeeds with the new activity.

When he does, he doesn’t want to stop and “It is the best day ever!” But when he doesn’t do well on his first try, it becomes “This is the worst day ever.” We obviously won’t be good at something when trying the first time — or the second. Does that mean we quit? No, because you have to give it three tries.

“People will stare at me and wonder why I am there.” One of three things will happen. First, they likely won’t know it is your first go as they are not paying any attention to you, but to their activity.

Second, if someone knows it is your first time in a new class, they just might introduce themselves to you and be your guide.

Finally, if they do, they may have forgotten what it was like their first time. This may mean they are unsure of their trial performance and concerned that everyone is still wondering why they are doing the activity, which can provide you the opportunity to introduce yourself and be novices together. You only have to give it three tries.

“I won’t feel comfortable.” Of course you won’t — that is the whole idea of trying something new. You might feel clumsy, stupid, scared, and even lonely if you are trying it by yourself. After three tries, comfort will settle in.

“I need to be in better shape before I try it.” If that is your excuse, you may never find yourself in the right shape, but doing so will get you in shape. When you do try a new exercise, your body will work harder to adapt to the new movement and cardio needs, so you will be in better shape for the next new exercise. Three tries and you will be in better shape than before the three.

So, go on — give Pilates a try and experience firsthand how Pilates will improve your yoga practice and vice versa. Take a spin class even if you don’t think you can keep up — you are on a stationary bike anyway! Get in the water and discover how challenging a water workout can be, and that includes going beyond your laps. Try doing a dead lift or pull-up and learn how resistance training can improve your favorite exercise.

What if you don’t like the new exercise after three tries? That is fine because you gave it a go and made your choice and you can be proud of yourself for doing so.

All you need to do is give it three tries. OK, fine, I gave cooked spinach and brussel sprouts one try and never again, but that’s different. It is interesting, however, that I have yet to require the three-bite rule for chocolate …

Sherrie Hebert is a certified personal trainer and Pilates mat and equipment Instructor, teaching and training at Gold’s Gym and her business, Performance Pilates. As an established Idaho State Journal columnist, she has provided health and fitness information and guidance to her readers for over four years.

Contact her at 208-317-5685 or sherriehebert@gmail.com and visit her Facebook page, Performance Pilates.

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