Things I Have Learned from 18 Months of Going to the Gym

1. You will turn from the kind of person who actively shunned physical activity to one who is pumped to spend 2 hours working out voluntarily on a SATURDAY MORNING.

2. If you’re paying someone to teach you it’s a sweet motivator to actually get your ass in the gym and not bail because you might as well be opening a window and throwing money out of it.

3. You will be shit at some things but over time with determination you will become LESS shit at things and then you will feel immense pride at your ability to be less shit at them. PROGRESS, FRIENDS. Then you start having thoughts like “one day, I might actually be average at this activity”  and you get psyched. Ditto when you do an in-body composition and feel warm pride that your muscle mass has gone from ‘weak’ to ‘normal’ and your ‘lifestyle pattern’ has gone from ‘highly risky’ to merely ‘risky’. Then you want to shout GUYS MY LIFE IS ONLY RISKY SOON IT WILL BE NORMAL.

4. You will realise that even if you have a semi-terrible diet you will still feel fucking great AND lose weight (albeit slowly) from regular gymming. Similarly sometimes you will find after working out your desire for junk food has dropped and you actually move AWAY from the pizzas and choose low calorie options. But sometimes you think fuck it and have a pizza anyway because life is short and pizza is glorious.

5. You will slowly become amazed at what your body can do (and what the bodies of others can do). Jump on this high box, you say – are you fucking out of your mind, I say. Do 30 burpees, you say: somebody plan my funeral you say, because that will put me in the ground and it’ll be your fault. Lift this heavy weight above your head and deep squat at the same time, you say. And at some weird point you stop saying fuck off and realise that if you didn’t let your pesky mind get in the way you could just DO that shit. Maybe terribly at first. But you’ll improve.

6. You’ll find yourself becoming the kind of gym bore you previously abhorred, and will be found muttering when exercising that you are “unbalanced” or that your abs are “engaged”. You will realise that 18 months previously you would not even acknowledge the existence of aforementioned abs and had no idea how to even use your pelvis or what a kettleball was. Now you will be the kind of fucker who nods knowledgably and says ‘ah, we’re doing good mornings today’ and then talks about whether it was leg or arm day.

7. You will find reserves of determination previously only hinted at by your stubbornness. You will purse your lips and focus and grunt and you will do those extra 5 or 10 reps. You will internally sigh that you now know what a ‘rep’ is. You will go to some fucking weird places when you’re concentrating and start saying the countries of the world alphabetically in your head for each leg raise. Occasionally these will escape your lips and your trainer will look at you oddly because you’ve just muttered ZIMBABWE out loud.

8. You may initially be self conscious, especially if you are fat and noone else in the gym seems to be fat (or indeed have an ounce of body fat). You will worry about how your stomach looks when you’re doing burpees and how hideous you look when sweat is actually running into your eyes and blinding you. You will convince yourself that everyone is disgusted at your lack of physical prowess. Then somewhere down the line you will realise since you’ve been here you’ve never heard anything but encouragement. And that’s nice. You will also realise that exercise should be less about aesthetics and more about FEELING. Because the fact is though it might occasionally be hell while doing it, afterwards you will mostly feel like you are the most amazing strong healthy individual that ever lived. And why not? You kicked ass.

9. There will be days when you don’t kick ass. You suck. Like seriously it’s like you forgot everything you ever learnt and you will get frustrated with youself because you’re the WORST MOST UNFIT MOFO EVER. Maybe you are tired, maybe you ate too much or too little, maybe you’re in your head and you’re just not feeling it. Nevermind; the fact you’re even there is something. More than once you will be demotivated because you can’t do something that it seems 99% of others can do without breaking a sweat. Those days suck. Connected: you will feel pain and soreness in places you didn’t feel it was possible to feel pain. Some days you will want to cry when you walk up stairs because you’re walking like John Wayne and each foot weighs about 7385995 tons and you can’t even take a piss without groaning when your butt hits the toilet seat because it HURTS. That also sucks but you will bear with because you’re a stubborn son of a gun.

10. You will write bullshit like this extolling the virtues of the gym and how great you feel and people will roll their eyes and maybe even try to undermine what you’re doing. But you are perfectly entitled to become a fat fitness guru because you’re doing it for noone but yourself. You will bore your friends and boyfriends by exclaiming that you can now do xyz (omg single leg raise at 30kg hollllla) and you will force them to feel parts of your body that are supposedly firmer. The right people will always support you. They are not the kind of people who will think ‘she’s been going to the gym for 18 months why is she not a size 10 yet like forreals where’s her effort?’ Go away those people. You will want to tell people that this is the best lifestyle change you’ve ever made. Two years ago – kickboxing, nah. Now, strap them gloves on brother Imma kick your fucking ass (badly).

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About fiercemissc

Twenty-something Geordie girl living and working in Hong Kong. Young, free and single and making the most of it.
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