Trust is that feeling that allows me to let down my guard, to forego fear and to proceed into the unknown with a feeling of confidence that I will be OK. Trust is the foundation of what allows me to become vulnerable; allows me to welcome new experiences.

I always thought of myself as a trusting person. I generally meet people and start with the assumption they are basically trustworthy; subsequently allowing the cues they give off to guide me.

So why am I so distrustful of new fitness experiences?  Why was starting a new fitness adventure challenging my ability to trust at first sight?

The stakes are higher in a way:

I make time to train but that time is limited. I do not have time to waste and still meet my goals.

I fear injury. What if I get hurt and my fitness journey is interrupted?

Frankly, I do not want to embarrass myself. I said it — I do not want to look weak or uncoordinated.

“Word of mouth” is the primary cited reason someone goes to a particular gym. And I can see why!  The first thing I did when I needed a new place to go was to ask my friends for advice. I said I want a place with an effective work-out. I want to have fun. I want to be challenged. But bottom line, now I realize what I really wanted — I wanted to trust this new place.

Based on the recommendations of friends, I have now tried CrossFit, yoga, primal movements, boxilates, spinning, pilates, boot camp and boxing. During all these experiences, I try to consider — what makes me trust?

Some of the reasons seem silly — professional signage, music playing, a clear indication of where to go once I entered, where do I put my shoes, who can I approach with questions. Some of the reasons were unexpected — did other gym members make me feel welcome? Did members guide me about where to stand, what equipment I needed, what to expect.

For me, the primary factor in establishing trust was the class instructor. Was the instructor confident, providing clear expectations for the class early on. Did the instructor communicate in some way that I will be able to do this? Is this class achievable for me? 

This has been a learning experience for me — being attentive to what it takes for me to trust when I take a new class. But I wonder still, what do others need? Can you identify what it is that bolsters your trust in a new experience? Help me understand what helps you trust and what interferes with establishing trust.

Furthermore, I challenge you — once you identify those factors that help you to trust a new experience, can you use that knowledge to help someone else find their way into trying something new?  As one of my friends said to me, “sometimes the most worthwhile influences we have on others come in non-obvious ways and everyday interactions.”  Let’s help each other find trust.