You see all of the posts online of people making fun on how unhealthy they are and how someone even mentioning going to the gym is a joke to them.
For a long time, I identified with these people. I’ve never been super unhealthy, but I was never proactive with my fitness or health. I was active in high school, being a part of the band and choir and playing volleyball and running track. We were always encouraged to go to the weight room and lift, but we weren’t forced to. I never really saw the advantage of lifting because I know that I wouldn’t be a college athlete.
When I got to college, I stayed involved in the band and choir. The one difference was that my college is much more proactive with their marching band. They actually did full field shows while my high school only ever parade marched. It was definitely a switch. You wouldn’t believe how exhausting marching and playing a 8-11 minute show can be, especially when tempo is over 150 beats per minute.
But I didn’t make my lifestyle change right away. It took me two years before I even thought about stepping into the weight room on campus. It all started when my friend was looking for someone to come lift with him. I’m pretty sure that he was joking when he asked me, but I wasn’t really doing anything that night, so I thought why not?
A big reason that I really wanted to start lifting was the fact that my boyfriend and his friends had a super positive attitude about lifting and they would even get mad if they didn’t have any time to go lift during the day. I honestly thought it was kind of crazy, but they were passionate about it and I thought that that was kind of cool and very appealing.
So I went to the gym with my friend, and to say that I was a weakling is an understatement. My friend was super supportive however, and he kept telling me things like, “Everyone has to start somewhere,” and “It gets easier, I promise.” He was basically like my own personal coach helping me through the workout that we were doing and helping me with my form along the way. He even went super in-depth by showing me what muscles each exercise was working and why that’s important.
We went together to the gym pretty regularly for about three weeks until he told me that he was sure that I could start coming to the gym alone if I wanted to, since he had basically taught me everything that he could. But he also helps me out now if I have a question about any new exercises that I find or get suggested. I also have the help of my boyfriend who is a biology major, and also a nerd about fitness and anatomy.
It’s now almost been an entire semester that I’ve been going to the gym regularly, and I have seen and felt a difference. I never would have thought that I would be that into going to the gym every day, or however often my schedule allows me in a week. I’ve got the wardrobe full of newer workout clothes, the blender bottle and post-workout protein, I’ve cut down on pop and fast food (which was not easy, believe me), and I’m getting great comments whenever I go back home from family and old classmates.
I think that it just comes down to a negative stigma that people have of going to the gym. You see it all over the internet. Going to the gym and being healthy is too hard and too much work. But that’s not really true. There are days when it’s harder than others to get up and go lift for me, sure. But I always feel better once I do. If anything, this experience has really taught me that you can’t knock something until you try it.