The 4 Beauties Of Being A Beginner
There is no easier way to get out of your comfort zone than to learn a new skill. Of course, there are varying degrees of new skills, some might push you a little bit further than others. Learning how to iron a shirt is a little less rewarding than mastering a barbell clean, depending on who you talk to. And up until recently, I’d felt like I hadn’t learnt an exciting new skill for quite a while.
So naturally I decided to tackle a few, all at once.
I decided to learn a little bit about how to do some olympic lifts (cleans and snatches), audio setups for a podcast (not as fun when you teach yourself) and finally, I dabbled in boxing.
Out of all of these, boxing got me good. ‘Got me’ in the sense that, I didn’t think it was going to be as hard as it was. I had expectations of me throwing sweet combos and seamlessly beating the crap out of my opponent (who I also thought would be my boyfriend). In reality? It was really tough. The choreography (because that’s really what it is) takes a serious amount of brain power to absorb. I was teamed up with an older gentleman who was a state champion, I felt like I was wasting his class as I kept effing up all the cool dance moves (combos) we were supposed to be completing. And I was one of only two women in the class of 12, I felt like I had something to prove being there.
Afterwards, I was able to reflect on the class. Despite the discomfort deep in the pit of my belly and feeling like I looked a little silly, I participated to my best abilities in that class and I know that with time and effort, I’ll get better.
It got me thinking about being a beginner in the gym and how unbelievably overwhelming and overstimulating it can be. So I decided to write up a few beauties of being a beginner, this is for those of you who might be in the same boat I was about trying something new.
Beauty #1: Sometimes having no experience is better than having experience.
It can be really hard to change a habit. If you’ve lifted weights (or boxed) before and have repeated incorrect movement patterns over and over, it can sometimes be harder to reverse than having a blank canvas to paint on (which is what a beginner is, a beautiful blank canvas).
Beauty#2: You hit PB’s all the time.
This one’s especially for lifting. Because you’ve never done it before, you don’t have any previous PB’s! I hit a PB snatch last week, it was 15kg! (yes that’s just the bar) but you can’t take away the fact that that’s the most I’ve ever lifted in a snatch, so there.
Beauty #3: Learning something new is a massive boost in self esteem.
Feeling like you’re able to excel in something that you’ve put time and effort into is super rewarding. Us humans LOVE progress and as a beginner this happens at a rapid pace in comparison to the individual whose been skilled for years.
Beauty #4: learning something new can make you smarter.
According to Muireann Irish, Associate Professor from Sydney University's School of Psychology and Brain and Mind Centre,
"Recent research has shown that engaging in an activity that is unfamiliar and mentally challenging may provide the necessary stimulation to bring about improvements in a number of high-level cognitive processes such as attention and working memory."
Putting yourself in the shoes of a beginner every now and then is confronting, your ego takes a hit and to start with it kind of sucks. But we are ever adaptable beings. Our bodies are capable of some pretty epic things, and just because you’re not there yet doesn’t mean you should give up and stick with what’s easy.
I’ll be taking some of my own medicine and heading back to boxing class next week.. Hoping to head back smarter, more confident and smashing some choreography PB’s.