“I stayed a pretty normal weight until college, when I put on the freshman 35 in the first six months. What’s that? You’ve never heard of the freshman 35? That’s funny because neither had my parents, who welcomed me home on spring vacation with mild horror. I was a vaguely familiar food monster who had eaten their daughter.” – Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me.
Just like Mindy, who coincidentally after reading her book became my newest idol, I learned the hard way about the freshman 35. At first, it was not a concern. As a university student, I had much more important things (boys, what happened last night, etc.) to worry about before I would even consider going to the gym or eating better.
But as this is the year for me to be the best that I can be, finally getting rid of what is left of my freshman poundage is the first thing to check off the list. I decided a while ago to make changes, which I had some success in. But now I can totally focus and therefore achieve my ultimate goals, shoot for the moon as they say.
As a newly self-promoted health enthusiast, I have decided to share some current thoughts on my own trials and tribulations of working out.
Women’s Only Gyms
As someone who did not feel comfortable in a gym filled with your everyday wannabe Victoria Secret and Abercrombie models, an all women’s gym in a small town has made me feel like a much more elite part of the workout community. I can walk into the gym and no longer feel as though I should have opted for an XL pair of Root’s sweats instead of my Lululemon outfit even though it does not fit me as well as Kate Moss’ stunt double on the elliptical next to me. Another notable pro of this gym is how nice everyone is. I have legitimately witnessed a new friendship made every time I have been to the gym and, hold your applause, I have been almost everyday for the last three weeks. Working out amongst the likes of your mother and grandma also allows me to feel as though I am an incredible motivation for them to try retrieve a body from their youth. The only flaw I can find with this oasis-like place is that I have had to create new means of motivating myself. I will not pretend that those aforementioned Abercrombie models below the cardio deck were not the reason I ran in the most impressive athletic manner I could achieve. But, now I am just left with songs that remind me of why I am getting fit (FTBs… and myself) and a hope that I will casually run into one after acquiring my new fit bod.
Pretty Gym Bids
The one thing you can’t get away from no matter what gym you choose to attend? Girls that think that the gym is their personal runway. If you have ever stepped foot in a gym you have seen them, already skinny girls who never seem to break a sweat. I don’t mean this in the super fit people who just don’t sweat way. I mean the ones who walk for 10 minutes on the treadmill, do a couple crunches then take their perfectly curled hair out of it’s temporary ponytail and move on with their day of fabulousness. These girls always have top of the line apparel and the perfect body you are hoping for without even working at it. People like this annoy me. It would be fair to say I am jealous, but as I have learned from my recent extensive research on community pages of various health blogs, everyone has their own issues to figure out. I have decided instead of resenting these freaks of nature, to take them as a new form of motivation. By following the workout goals I have set, not only can I achieve what they have but also surpass them by glorifying in the amount of work I put in to get there. Win-win for all of us, but mostly me.
Something I have never liked, classes. Every time I have tried getting into a workout habit my go-to workout was the fitness classes. Why? Because like all young women who have no athletic ability or desire to be working out, I figured that would be the easiest way to start. But here’s the thing I didn’t know, 90% of the people in these classes are REGULARS, and sure the instructors say all the nice welcomes but no matter how welcome you feel it is always awkward to be the only one who doesn’t know what step is coming next. So, yes when I decided to fully commit to my lifestyle change I refused to try a class. That has since changed because although I am not yet a master, I do enjoy working out now and I no longer feel like such a newbie. So I recently tried a new class, Sh’Bam to be exact. (Sidenote: I had previously tried both Zumba and Yoga and loved them, so in all fairness I have not hated all class environments). I don’t know whether it was because I was in the comfort of my new all women’s gym, because I enjoy dancing or because the class was hosted by quite possibly the future version of me but I loved it! My instructor was probably my favourite part. She threw in casual play on words (my favourite hobby for those who don’t know me) such as “Sh’bam makes my hair a Sh’mess”, which immediately made me make a personal note to attend every one of her classes. But it was a fun, dance party way to get a cardio workout. Was it the best workout I have ever had? No I wouldn’t say so, but I had a great time… which I am learning should be a part of working out and it was different, which is always a good thing.
Starting to workout is hard. For professional sit-on-your-butt-all-day type folk, such as myself, it can be a very scary thing to do. Also demanding, kind of like taking care of a child except that the child is you. You have to convince yourself to go, get yourself ready and tie your shoes… all before you even attempt to make it to out the door. So as the dependent person that I am, I needed to enlist a friend to go with me until I was brave enough to go by myself. Let me tell you, although I did not go to the gym on the regular, I have had a membership for the past 3 years and two weeks ago was the first time I have ever stepped foot in a gym by myself. Gym buddies are a great thing, especially if you find a good one. I have had my share of friendships that I have brought to the next level, that of a gym friend. It can be tough, especially when you are starting out so you must choose wisely. This is a person who is going to see you at your very worst. If you’re like me, you will be sweaty, completely red and unable to breathe after only 5 minutes on the treadmill. If you are a kind soul who decides to befriend someone such as my starter gym self, I applaud you and I sincerely hope that you don’t give up because I promise you it will get better. To the people who have helped me along the way, I thank you. Your tips and tricks that you have taught me, over long laughs on the ab mats or runs (but really walk/jogs) around the beautiful park beside near my old house, have helped me to become the person that I am now, and the very fit person you will be seeing in the very near future.
Health and Fitness Blogs, Youtube Videos and Articles
I will admit to you now I suffer from a little bit of OCD. I am also an avid reader. Put those two things together with my want to be fit and you have my obsession with reading everything I can find about working out. I read success stories on Weight Watchers.com as if it is my day job. I am addicted to the current #LoveYourBody pictures on Instagram and before I even decided to put on my first sports bra, I had probably watched all the Tone It Up YouTube videos five times each. I like to research, even when there is no real need for it. When I was still in the “convince yourself” stage of this process, I figured watching other people workout was a good way to start. I probably would be in better shape now if I had started working out with the videos but we all learn our lessons in different ways. So if that works as the way to inspired you- do it. It took a while but eventually worked for me!
This post and these short anecdotes giving you an insight into my daily struggles between love of amazing food and wanting to be skinny are nowhere near the end result. I will guarantee you now that you will be hearing more about this in the future. But for now I am going to take one further step closer in to being the gym goddess we all aspire to be.