By: Casey Anderson
When I first began my fitness journey, I felt like everyone at the gym knew exactly what he or she was doing and I was the only one there who didn’t. I was self-conscious and comparing myself to every single person there. But that’s not what I should have been doing. If you’re thinking about beginning your fitness journey, the first thing you need to know is that everyone starts somewhere. The people you see at the gym who appear to know exactly what they are doing were once in your very shoes, walking into a gym with little to no idea what they were doing. They probably felt self-conscious and nervous about people watching them, critiquing their form. You shouldn’t let your fear of not having the perfect form, or being able to run a mile, stop you from beginning your journey.
Which leads me to my next point, you should be doing this journey for yourself. I first began exercising because I was in a relationship that made me feel very poorly about my body, and thought that if I “got skinny” I would feel better. However, I quickly learned that this journey was for me and that I felt best about it, and saw the most results, when I focused on how it made me feel. I ultimately realized that obtaining a certain body was not, and should not, be my goal. My goal should be learning to love myself, at every stage of my fitness journey, and taking pride in all my body is able to do and accomplish.
No body is the same and everyone’s body responds differently to exercising. Your focus should not be on obtaining a certain “look” that you may see on Instagram. The focus should be on becoming the best version of you, no matter what that version may look like. About three years ago, I became obsessed with obtaining a certain body type; a body type I used to think was “perfect.” I worked tirelessly for four months to achieve this body and by the end of that time, I noticed little to no progress. When I finally stopped caring about what I looked like, I started to see progress. I started to enjoy my workouts more and to love myself, no matter what I looked like. I learned that the most rewarding journey was the one that wasn’t entirely focused on how I looked, but was focused on how I felt.
Just how no one body is the same, no one journey is the same. Your fitness journey will be entirely different than mine, but hopefully just as rewarding. Try different things in the gym to see what you like, and to see what your body responds to. Don’t be afraid to grab some weights or jump on the stair master. Check out an exercise class and see how you like it. Ultimately, this should be a fun journey. One you look forward to and doesn’t feel like a chore. I look forward to going to the gym everyday but it’s because I’m doing things that I like while I’m there, not things I think I need to do to get an “ideal” body. Doing exercises and activities that make you feel good are an important part of this new adventure.
This isn’t a race. It isn’t a competition. You’re embarking on a journey to be the best version of yourself. A version of yourself that you are proud of, that you love wholeheartedly. It may seem daunting at first, but it’s a worthwhile journey full of self-love, growing confidence, and learning your worth.