The Gym. It’s been (almost) a four-letter word for me. I’ve hated it for as long as I can remember. You’ve got the big, muscular guys carrying around their big, gallon jugs of water and over-sized protein bars and big cans of protein mix. They don’t even need to add water to the protein mix, they just eat it straight, while they lift their massively heavy weights and scream. And they always seem to be wet. Like, what is that? Sweat? Water? Olive oil?
And the women? Those girls could basically finish me off for their healthy snack between meals.
Late last year I made the commitment to healthier living. I didn’t commit to losing weight or fitting into any specific dress size, I just wanted to be healthier. Turning into a super sexy lady with a hot body is just going to be a side effect.
Anyway, when I finally joined a gym (again) I was terrified. I don’t know if this is familiar to you, but here’s a little bit how my first few workouts went:
Get on Pinterest. Find cool, trendy workout plan and screenshot it.
Go to Kohl’s. Spend a fortune on cute, trendy workout clothes.
Grab a glass of wine with a friend in said cute, trendy workout clothes (because, suburban mom life).
Come up with excuses with said friend why you can’t go to the gym today.
My excuses for not going to the gym include, but are not limited to: forgetting my earbuds, having earbuds, but not the RIGHT earbuds, my Fitbit is dead, my phone is dead, I just ate, I just drank, I just washed my hair, I just don’t feel like seeing naked women in the locker room…the list goes on.
Okay, but seriously, once I actually get to the gym…some number of days later:
Find screenshot of workout.
Check in, walk past wet, screaming men and scary, will-kick-my-butt women. Get a little intimidated.
Find a treadmill and figure out how it works. (Life hack: you press “start”)
Psych myself up for weights. Check my workout screenshot again.
Get off treadmill and get a drink of water.
Change the song on my playlist. Check my workouts screenshot again.
Walk over to equipment, see someone is using it.
Freak out and leave the gym.
I am not kidding. I must have done this at least 5 workouts in a row. I’d decided that 5 minutes on the treadmill were enough of a workout and it was time to hit the locker room (fully clothed, of course).
But finally, after weeks of watching and learning and looking up more workouts on Pinterest, I decided that I was worth learing how to do this. If I was going to feel good about myself and be healthier I needed to figure this out, and here are three things I’ve learned:
DO IT AFRAID
I still hate some of the weights and the creative apparatus’ they come up with at the gym, but I’ve learned to walk right up to whatever I need and own it like I mean it. It doesn’t matter that I giggled through an entire set because I was using a leg machine that made me feel like I was at the OB/GYN. I did it afraid and red-faced, and my inner thighs are better for it.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Your inner thighs will thank you.
DO IT FOR YOURSELF
Don’t work out or even try to lose weight just because society tells you what size you should be. I’ll never, ever be a size 2 and I am finally okay with that. I work out because it gives me energy and makes me feel strong. It makes me sleep better, helps to prevent anxiety, and keeps me from killing any given member of my family having minor mood swings.
STAY IN YOUR LANE…NO ONE IS WATCHING YOU
Start small. Start big. Start with weights, start with cardio, take a class! Classes were given a bad rap somewhere around 1988 maybe because of the leg warmers, but I think because of the thong-like leotards. No one really wears those any more. But classes are cool again, I promise. Wherever you start though, let it be in a place that’s just outside of your comfort zone. Find your rhythm and don’t even look around to see what other people are doing (unless it’s on the treadmill….then we are most definitely racing). Look ahead and do you, boo boo.
It doesn’t matter if you fall over multiple times or if you spill a little water on your cute workout shirt. It doesn’t matter if Spice Girls and Britney is your workout playlist or if you pee a little when you do cardio. You’re just bringin’ sexy back, girl (I said so quietly to myself in the parking lot on the way out).
It turns out that the big, scary men and women who could bench press me are some of the nicest, most helpful and non-competitive people I’ve ever met. No one has ever criticized or corrected me at the gym. Serious.
….and they need that water and protein stuff. Apparently it’s healthy for you.