Whether you’ve been thinking about getting into an adult dance class or starting a new fitness routine, I totally get how easy it is to put something off. I’ve been there myself.
For years upon years, I’ve wanted to try gymnastics. I never did it as a kid but always thought it looked like so much fun and something I could maybe even be good at?
About 10 years ago (🤢 I can’t believe it was that long ago) I decided to get into an adult gymnastics class.
I was super stoked. After all this time I’d finally be able to live out my living room dreams as I watched the olympics and tried to copy what I saw, failed miserably, and somehow didn’t end up with permanent spinal damage.
(…it’s actually kind of funny. I have this really weird misplaced sense of body confidence, so I look at things and instantly think “I can do that!”… and I simply can’t 🤣 But that’s a story for another time…)
Anyways, back to my fateful first ever gymnastics class. I was SOOOO excited. The moment I had been waiting for had finally arrived. I was ready. I was going to learn how to do walkovers and flips and it would take time and be hard but I was R E A D Y… or so I thought.
It was a disaster.
The class wasn’t a class. It was ‘open training’. What is open training you ask? Well, at this place, it was a block of time where uninvested and disinterested ‘coaches’ (read: adult babysitters for insurance purposes only) just walked around ‘supervising’ people who did whatever they wanted in this big massive rec centre.
“Ummm hello? Hi. Yes, you there. I have NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING! Help me. TEACH me. I want to LEARN!”
I didn’t need open training, I needed explicit baby steps training. I needed “this is exactly what to do and how you do it”, and “let me help you as you do it”, and “it will get better”, and “hmmm that’s not working, why don’t you try this instead”.
That’s what I needed.
The class was a total flop. I never went back.
But even though I ran so far away from that gym and never looked back, the desire to get into gymnastics didn’t go away.
It stayed there.
I mean, it didn’t pop up every day. It wasn’t like I was waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat like
But every now and then I would lament that I didn’t get to give it a go properly. That there was something in my life I was really interested in, but I wasn’t pursuing. That I was missing out on something.
Literally YEARS later (ahem… 2019 to be precise 😬 ) I noticed a few adults gymnastics posts pop up in my Instagram feed from a gym called Dalecki Strength (thank you targeted marketing!). I clicked through, checked out what they were doing, read what they had to say… and I was really feeling it.
Finally! After all these years, I think I’d found the place for me.
These guys knew what they were talking about (as a dance teacher, it was pretty easy to figure that out). I could tell they were invested in teaching and learning. They seemed to really care about the individual progress of their clients and it looked like they had a really genuine, caring, community-based culture (for anyone that knows us here at DD, we’re big on community and culture, so that was a MASSIVE plus).
They also had the added benefit of being SUPER local which is worth like 759 added bonus points when you’re a business owner doing a PhD (do not recommend btw 🙅🏽♀️).
But I still didn’t jump in straight away.
Oh no. Then came the putting off.
“I’m in crazy PhD writing mode and I don’t have time”
“Some of the classes clash with my teaching schedule” (I’m an all-in kinda person so though this sounds like sheer stupidity, it’s a thing)
“I’m still studying so shouldn’t be spending money on this right now”
“Maybe I should just stick to what I know and do more ballet”
A few months later I submitted my PhD (woo!) and sent them an email. Yay! Baby steps. I chatted over the phone with one of the owners and got a good sense of who they were and that we’d probably be a good fit.
But did I sign up to my free trial week?
Still more excuses.
“Oh, but now it’s October and the DD EOY show is in December and it’s just crazy busy and a silly time to start something new”
“I’ve got this injury I’m recovering from and I don’t think it’s best for me to get into something new right now”
Ok so fast forward a few months (January 2020 to be precise) and I finally bit the bullet.
I booked my first trial week, and I never looked back. And yes, typical Elena-style, I jumped into a bajillion classes a week and bloody loved it.
To be honest, I think it was a combination of factors.
I had finished my PhD which had been hanging over my head for 4.5 years. The studio is much more chilled out and less busy over the summer, so I had the time and space to try something new. I was also in a much better headspace too… but mostly I think I decided to pull the finger out and just do it!
After a bloody AWFUL 2018 and a rocky recovery year in 2019, I wanted to make 2020 the year of doing things for me. I wanted to put myself – my own needs and wants – first… what a bloody novel idea!?!?! Only took 33 years to figure that one out.🙄 To be honest I should’ve learned this way quicker after watching my mum give to everyone and everything around her, but never to herself. Even though I used to tell her off about it all the time as a kid, I guess what she modelled is what I ended up learning, and un-learning is hard (note for future self – get better at doing things for me so I can break this cycle).
I tell you what, doing a PhD is like the most blob-like awful thing. I’m a dance teacher and taught between 3-6 days a week throughout my candidature. I did pilates religiously, took adult dance classes for myself, I walked my dog every day, and am generally active. But that last 6 months of hectic writing put me in worse physical condition than ever before. Muscles atrophied, my posture was disgusting, and that injury I mentioned was legitimately acquired from sitting in contorted positions for hours on end and holding myself like a stressed-out highly-anxious nutcase. After so long focusing on my brain, I wanted to turn that off for a while and shift my intention to my body.
Dalecki Strength and I were a total value match. I wanted a no-fuss and no-ego approach to physical training (I LOATHE the gym). I wanted the training to be goal-oriented and skill-based, not just working out for the sake of working out (snooze). Actual teaching is important to me, and surprisingly, this is one of the hardest things to find in an adults class. I wanted to learn from people who knew what they were talking about and understood different ways of getting to an end goal, because no two bodies are the same, and everyone learns differently.
By the way… I hadn’t even fully recovered from my injury yet, but these guys knew what they were doing and were open and able to make accommodations for me. It turned out that the stuff I was working on at Dalecki was the EXACT stuff I needed to be doing, so my rehabilitation was actually fast-tracked because of it (…hello serratus, it’s nice to have you firing on all cylinders again!). Now, obviously don’t go jump into training if you have a broken ankle or an ACL injury, my friends, that’s not the point of this. Injuries are serious and need to be looked after. The point is that at that stage, my injury wasn’t actually the thing holding me back.
What was holding me back was me.
No matter what you want to do – whether its an adult dance class, learning to swim, singing, piano, jiujitsu, silks, pottery – if they’re not a value match it’s not going to last. And when it takes us adults SO long to get into something new, we literally can’t afford to waste our time with crap people who don’t align with us. When you’re in a space where you feel comfortable and are surrounded by like-minded people, it makes trying new things so much easier. If I had found Dalecki Strength 10 years ago.. well, I could probably do way more cool stuff than I can do right now!
I know this for a fact because I teach it all the time to my students. But it applies to way more than steps on a dance floor. Make an enquiry. Don’t just look at them from afar and stalk them on FB or Insta and live vicariously through their posts. Get the ball rolling. Start a conversation. Find out if they’re right for you. Email. Fill out an enquiry form, DM, Inbox, Call, join their FB group… whatever floats your boat. Just do it. Building up the courage to do something new takes time, so get started with a very non-scary email or DM.
It’s ok to be a little scared, anxious or nervous when you join an adult dance class or any other activity for the very first time. It’s not ok to let those things stop you from doing something you want to do. Trying new things is hard, but ‘newness’ quickly fades. Our adult dancers who have been with us for over 13 years were once ‘new’ too.
If you’ve been looking for an adult dance class in a supportive, welcoming community with no pressure, then chat to us! We’d love to hear from you to see if we’re a perfect match. You can find out more about what we do and check our timetable here, or join our private FB group.
If it’s gymnastics-based training, I obviously recommend Dalecki Strength!
And for Pilates, MG Pilates in Erskineville or Room For Movement in Petersham get my vote.
For anything else, ask for recommendations, jump onto Insta or google and get ready to make the leap. Just don’t wait 10 years, ok?
PS…here’s a little pic of me working on one of my new skills – a Chest to Wall Straddle Pull – in the backyard with laundry I haven’t taken off the line in about 3 days because I gave up on it when it kept getting rained on…
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