on overcoming fear & believing in yourself.

by Janetha on July 11, 2012

in deep thoughts,moves

i have been going to GPP almost every single day for the past few months. i will miss a workout here and there, but that is only if i am out of town or have some obligation that prevents me from being able to get to class.  however, i have never missed a workout simply because i didn’t want to go.

the workouts at GPP are always challenging, but they never scare me. sure, some are more intimidating than others, but i always know they can be scaled to my ability and that i will be able to get the workout done one way or another. i love GPP for that very reason.  i can adapt.

yesterday’s workout, however, scared the daylights out of me. i saw it monday night (neil posts the workouts the night before) and saw that hand stand push ups were part of the workout.


“SLS” stands for single leg sit-to-stand squats. i knew that one right away and i actually like those so i got a little excited at first! then i saw the acronym that was new-to-me: “HSPU”. hmmm.. it didn’t click in my head right away, so i clicked on the video link. right when i saw the video demoing handstand pushups, my initial excitement for the workout disappeared and turned to sheer and utter fear. yes, i’m being dramatic, but yes, i’m being serious.

i had never done a handstand. no, not ever. i never played “hands up, stands up” as a kid. i didn’t do gymnastics. i could never do a backflip on the trampoline or off the diving board. going upside down frightens me. last week i’d tried to do handstands with amanda and kerryne, but i failed miserably and decided i was never meant to do them.  who needs handstands, anyway?!

so, of course, when i saw tuesday’s workout on monday night, i quickly decided that i was NOT going to go. no way, no how. amanda, kerryne, and i had a little chat about it.

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i was up at my mom’s house with my family, so we decided to try a few handstand pushups to see what would happen. i failed miserably and had a minor freak out, but my mom and marshall busted them out like it was no big deal! i was seriously impressed.  i was also seriously discouraged and decided i for sure was NOT going to GPP the next day.

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tuesday morning came and went and i didn’t go to GPP at my usual 6:30 AM time. i was serious about not going!  later on in the morning, i was texting nick about the workout. i wondered what the modification might be for those who couldn’t hang with handstands.

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i was super scared and wanted to wuss out. i decided to fess up to neil (AKA the creator of the horrible workout) about my fear.

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dang. nick was rocking that handstand!


if you remember, nick started his fitness & healthy eating journey not too long ago. i designed him a 12-week eating plan and he started going to GPP. seeing him upside down at GPP made me think twice. i needed to not be so scared.

as the day went on, i couldn’t stop thinking about those dang handstands. i wanted to go try the workout, but i was scared. you guys probably think i am sounding dramatic, and maybe i was, but I WAS SCARED.  seeing the comments on the workout post did NOT help.


ha. great! thanks, shmoops, that was real encouraging.

it was almost 5 o’clock and i still was scared about the class but i wanted to go..just a little bit. i tried to get marshall to go with me. he makes me feel OK about anything in life. i decided that if he would go and help me, i would be fine. i nearly begged him to go to the 5 o’clock class with me… but he didn’t want to go. however, he urged me to go on my own. after a little convincing from marshall, i decided to just suck it up and head to GPP. i had the sickest feeling in my gut the whole way there, but i made it.

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i walked in the door and immediately started whining to lil’ kate about my inability to do handstands (or anything involving coordination, for that matter.) she gave me a pep talk and encouraged me to just give the handstands a shot. lil’ kate is the best. lizz, one of the awesome GPP trainers, assured me that she’d help me through the workout and spot me on the handstands. i was sure that i wouldn’t get up on my own, but i was even afraid that i wouldn’t get up with a spotter! it may have had something to do with the fact that monday night i kicked marshall when he was trying to spot me.. then when he did get me upside down i flipped out and had a conniption about being inverted. i hated all the blood rushing to my head and it totally freaked me out. i know, i know, again.. drama queen. but i’m just telling you the truth!

anyway, lizz helped me up on my first attempt to get inverted.. and what do you know, i didn’t kick her in the face! i also managed to stay up (with her help) and do some sort of tiny push-up motion.. we are talking a couple centimeters, folks. better than nothing, right?

the workout called for ten rounds, and i decided i couldn’t have lizz spot me on ALL TEN, so when round two came along.. i attempted the handstand on my own. guess what? i did it! first try! and then i did the other eight rounds, too! i was SHOCKED at myself. i went 29 years saying i couldn’t do handstands.. and there i was, handstanding it up.

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and not only that, i was managing to do something that may one day resemble a pushup! sure, it may be centimeters now, but you gotta start somewhere.

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when i got home last night, i decided to try a few in my bedroom to see if it was just a fluke or if i really could do it. note: i’d tried handstands in my room no less than a dozen times in the past two months. and guess what? i did it—every single time i tried!

the difference this time around? i believed in myself.


i overcame a fear yesterday. sure, it was a small one in the grand scheme of things.. but it was a little big deal to me. i was scared, but i tried. they say you should do one thing a day that scares you. i told myself this several times yesterday before heading to GPP.. and then i went. and i did it. it was scary, but i did it. and i sure am proud.

side note, i loved what neil said about why he had us do the handstand pushups to begin with:

I know it was a weird move.  I know you didn’t want to do it.  I wouldn’t have asked you to do it, but there’s fitness in it.  Good stuff too.  Many times we (not GPPeeps) get caught up in working the big four (cardio, stamina, strength, flexibility) and forget about the nervous system and our proprioception (ability to sense where your body is in relation to space and time).  The thing to remember is, if you can’t USE the fitness you are building, there really is no point in having it, right?  Proud of all who gave this a try today. 

I was flat convinced Nick wasn’t going to try.  Like many of you, he did.  And did it well.  Congrats to all of you!

so, yes, there was a physical reason behind it all (as there always is with any workout!)… but what i took away from the workout was way more than physical. i overcame a mental block, which is way more satisfying than any physical feat.


1. what’s the last thing you did that was scary to you?

2. what is something in your life right now that you haven’t tried because you’re too scared?

i challenge you all to step outside of your comfort zone and try something that scares you. maybe not today—but soon. and report back!

xo. janetha g.

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Lisa July 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Great job on overcoming that fear! The hardest part is always the anticipation of challenging yourself. I just wrote about how I need to start challenging my routines and behaviours I’ve developed through out the year. It is so important so we don’t get stuck. Those look incredibly hard, but that is so amazing you did them! It feels so great after you accomplish something like that. Great post!!

Sarah July 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Ugh, no. I am super impressed. I read this… and then immediately tried. It took me like seven tries to actually get into the handstand position, but then I was stuck like that… haha. And, despite the pillow I put on the ground under my head, my brain hurts. Honestly, kudos. I won’t stop trying :)

Shaunna@mamas13minutemile July 12, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Way to go!

Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian July 12, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Such an inspiring post!
I actually would be just as scared I think.
I loved that quote you posted. It is so important to remember that we truly can do anything we put our minds to.

natalie@thesweetslife July 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm

you’re a rockstar–super inspiring post! and now i want to bust out a handstand in my cube and see if i can do it!

Lea July 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Great job Janetha! I’m sure it was amazing to conquer your fear, do the handstand push-up, and realize you could apply that belief in yourself to anything else you do.

For those afraid of handstand push ups- they are easier than they look. (I am a former gymnast but not in the best shape now, and I can still do them.) My advice to those of you who are scared is to break it down into two parts. First of all, practice the kick-up motion with less intensity, with no intent of going all the way up to vertical. That will allow you to practice the general motion without going upside down.
Next, practice holding your body in a handstand-like position without kicking up to handstand. Lie on your back on a table, bed, etc, and then gradually scoot backwards until you have your hands on the floor. Straighten your arms and squeeze them next to your ears, and gradually shift your weight onto your hands as much as possible. Walk your hands away so you have less of your body on the table.
When you’re ready to kick up to handstand, you’ll already have a sense of what holding the handstand/being upside down might feel like.

As for a fear I need to overcome- I’m a pretty shy person and would like to be more outgoing with friends, relationships, and pursuing opportunities.

Heather July 12, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Eeek! I am not a HSPU fan either. I bust them out with a little help from the TRX. My biggest hurdle is getting over my dislike of being upside down:)

Cat @ Breakfast to Bed July 12, 2012 at 4:55 pm

that would end up with me with brain damage and possibly PTSD, or a sitcomesque episode of amnesia, requiring me to do it again to regain my memories.

court July 12, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I can’t wait till you get to catskinners and cartwheels day ;)

@pluvk July 12, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Congratulations! Crossfit scares the hell out of me, but I seriously want to try it! The only thing holding me back is the incredibly high cost. We only have one location that’s accessible, so they’re able to charge a lot. One day… but probably not on the handstand pushups day. :-)

Jessica July 12, 2012 at 9:12 pm

So this is far away from handstands….but I’m actually scared to start dating again. The fear of awkward first dates and rejection is completely holding me back. My friends are all on my case to get back out there, but I’m literally scared out of my mind. Until I overcome that fear I’m just going to keep spending my weekends at home with my DVR and ice cream. lol

Haley July 12, 2012 at 9:45 pm

These are so intense! I love the smile you have on your face while doing them :) Congrats! Sometimes our minds can take over our physical ability to do so!

This is going to sound extremely pathetic, especially to all you super-fit bloggers/commenters, but I just joined my first gym ever yesterday. I have passed out a few times mid-exercise routine and ever since it has made me worry about pushing myself to exercise despite having clean bill of health. On top of that, being overweight makes me feel like everyone’s eyes will be on me in the gym (ESPECIALLY living in Orange County, CA). Walking into the gym just to sign up was a big enough feat for me… I felt like a total fish out of water and I’m pretty sure the man who signed me up thought I was one of those people who signs up and never steps foot in the gym again. But I hope to prove him (and myself) wrong and want to go in the next few days and conquer my fear. I want to start off with a really easy routine to build up my confidence and stamina. Wish me luck!

Neil July 12, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Haley! We are with you babe! You have a support group here. Go pull a workout off my site every day and go do your best interpretation of it. Don’t worry about messing it up. Just don’t let yourself get hurt (by going nuts with the weights and reps) and you’ll learn as you go. Come back here and ask questions. Someone will help. Janetha has an incredible group of very talented, knowledgeable and passionate folks gathered here. You really can’t lose.

Good luck, my friend!

Neil July 12, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Very proud of you Janetha. Very inspired by you and your efforts. Amazed by how many you help. Had to post a link to my site. Thank you for sharing.

Electra @ Vanilla Bean Lean July 13, 2012 at 6:18 am

YOU GO GIRL!!!! SO proud of you!!!! Facing fears and overcoming them is one of the best things in life!

Shannon July 13, 2012 at 11:01 am

yay, congrats!!! you rock, and this is such a great post. good things to remember whenever you think you *can’t*

Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats July 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm

This is awesome Janetha! Major props for getting your ass in there and doing those handstand pushups! :) Some things that really scare me are squatting LOW. I feel like I am so scared I won’t be able to get back up. Another thing that scares me is getting back in to running after this damn stress fracture. I feel like a hypochondriac because something always hurts. I just need to push myself and see what happens!

Lisa July 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Something I’ve wanted to do for a few years now but I am too scared to do….swim across the Columbia River in the Roy Webster Channel Swim. I’m a really strong swimmer and I can physically do it–mentally? Not so sure. It scares the crap out of me to swim in open water (which is weird because I did it as a kid).

Janetha July 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm

You got this, Lisa :)

Madi September 9, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Hey Janetha! I have been reading your blog for the past 24 hours like it’s my job. Seriously I cannot stop reading! I find your entries really honest and exhilarating and fun and just absolutely wonderful. I was inspired to start Jamie Eason’s livefit trainer and have a bodyforlife book on the way in the mail. Just wanted to let you know that you have friendships growing (weird because I feel like I actually DO know you!) and are inspiring people day by day! Thanks for the words, sistah. Peace.

Janetha September 9, 2012 at 10:03 pm

WOW! Comments like these make my world go round. Thank you, Madi! Keep in touch! xoxo

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