I’ve never really liked working out. I wouldn’t say I’m un-athletic; I played sports in high school, did hiking/volleyball stuff in college, etc. It’s not that I don’t like playing sports or doing athletic things. I just never got super stoked about the idea of working out, more specifically “hitting the gym.” I couldn’t find a method that worked for me. People who work out in the morning would tell me it was the best time, and I’d say, “eh, I don’t like that.” Then if I had stuff at night, I didn’t want to go in the afternoon, and definitely not after dinner. I had an excuse for why no time was good for me every time working out came up. I tried yoga, which I love, but I prefer classes and I like to have a buddy. In law school, it’s proven hard to find a buddy who wants to do yoga classes [however, if you’re at my law school and are into yoga, let me know!!]. Anyway, the whole gym thing really freaks me out. I don’t like the idea of walking around, sweaty, in front of people, and gyms in general just feel so judge-y. However, law school stress has finally gotten the best of me because I am changed. I now look forward to working out. I now get sad if I can’t make it to the gym. I feel so good after a long workout, and my focus and stress level is much better this semester!
But, I know I’m not the only person who hates the idea of working out. I am by no means an expert on working out, and this definitely won’t become a fitness blog! However, I wanted to share what’s worked for me in terms of getting into working out, sticking with it, and liking it!
Tip 1: Try different workouts until you find one that works for you. | I personally like machines, ellipticals, etc. So, I workout for an hour rotating machines, and mixing in biking or weighted machines. This works for me, and I feel good when I can do a harder workout as I get in better shape.
Tip 2: Get yourself there. | Wherever “there” is, get there. Whether you go running downtown, in the park, etc. or workout at a local gym, 90% of the battle is getting yourself to show up. Hold yourself accountable. Ease into it if that works for you, but just get to the place where you’re going to work out!
Tip 3: Reward yourself. | This is probably not the best tip, but it’s one that got me through the first few weeks. After my workout, I would immediately head to the local smoothie place, and get a smoothie or smoothie bowl to reward myself for making it to the gym. During the workouts, when I was sweaty and tired, I looked forward to the smoothie!
Tip 4: Don’t get discouraged when you aren’t seeing immediate results. | I think a lot of people feel like a workout regime isn’t working for them if they don’t see weight loss or tone immediately. That’s not necessary true. Depending on your starting point and your body, it varies how long it will take to see results. But, the results do come if you stick with it!
Tip 5: Don’t try to be the fitness guru you aren’t. | This is probably ironic since I’m not a fitness guru, but here I am, telling you how to get into working out. However, I don’t claim to be a fitness person, and I wouldn’t say I’m a gym rat. I don’t pretend that I’m the Hulk of the gym… I just go, listen to my workout playlist, get a good workout in, and go home. I focus on ME. Focusing on yourself and your journey is the most important part of getting fit, in my opinion!
Tip 6: Accept fitness is a process. | There are days I love my workout, there are days I feel like I’m wasting valuable study time, and there are days I go through the motions, and literally all I think about it what song I’m listening to. You have to take it at your own pace, and figure out what workout style is yours. Having the right mindset is really important! Don’t go into working out with “I want to have Kate Upton’s body,” or “I just want to be a size 0.” Those goals, while real, aren’t realistic. Love the body you have today, but give it some love by working on it however you want [whether that’s strengthening, toning, trimming, bulking, whatever!].
I guess you can say I’m a gym-convert, but I still wouldn’t classify myself as a gym rat or guru. I gained weight last semester from stress and eating in ways that I wasn’t used to… and I really beat myself up about it. I think I finally woke up and realized that I had the power to change what I was ridiculing about myself. However, I think body image is something I’ll probably always struggle with. Body positivity is relatively new [in the grand scheme of things], and I think the standards ingrained in me when I was younger will always haunt how I see myself. For one, I’ve always been tall. Taller than most girls, and my body isn’t going to look like my 5’1″ friend’s. In fact, my body won’t look like anyone’s because no one is built the exact same way. BUT, I think my mentality is much better today. I used to go into fitness with the mindset of “I just want a flat stomach, skinny legs, and slim shoulders.” And now I recognize that I only have one body to work with, and so I put the work in to feel more confident in this body I live in!
I hope this post makes those of you who want to get into fitness, but are uncomfortable with the stigma surrounding it feel a bit more at ease, and inspired to start trying different workout methods! We only have one body, so we must treat it well, instead of constantly telling ourselves what’s wrong with it!