Of all the things I’ve set out to achieve this year, my biggest regret/failure has been my inability to create the habit of exercising regularly.
You know those people who say they feel like somethings missing if they haven’t been to the gym? Some think they’re mentally deluded but I envy those people. One of my closest friends is one of these magical people and I sit in awe every time she visits. She full of boundless energy, she’s happy (most of the time) and the body? Don’t even get me started. Abs of steel, a solid ass, tight muscular arms, strong legs… the works.
Mid 2015 I joined a local gym, not your average gym but a bodybuilders gym. A place with no mirrors because it’s not about staring at yourself for an hour a week but rather about perfecting your form by realising how it feels to make a certain movement.
Life or more so my own neuroticism got in the way and I stopped going. I didn’t feel like I deserved to be there. I deserved to be in a beginners gym doing cardio and grape-vining in step classes. Now if cardio and step are your thing… work away but I’ve done my research and found that the area I wanted to play in was the free weights… and where better to learn about weights than the bodybuilders' gym down the road.
After rejoining twice in 2016 and failing to go due to my social ineptness and irrational fear of the cool kids who weight train, I bit the bullet and signed myself up for 6 weeks of personal training 3 times per week. This serves a multitude of purposes.
- 6 weeks of regularly attending along with some mental work, is long enough to feel like a regular.
- Personal Training sessions are appointments. While I’m not great at keeping appointments with myself, I’ll be damned if I’m going to leave my trainer in the lurch. It’s far too disrespectful to him.
- 6 weeks is long enough to feel a difference in my body and maybe even notice a slight change or improvement. Enough to motivate me into continuing.
- 6 weeks x 3 sessions = 18 sessions. that has to be habit forming.
Solid Plan Right?
Within the first 5 minutes of my first session, I was blindsided.
After nearly a full year of joining, rejoining and failing to attend the gym, I was finally here and couldn’t answer the damn question. The only question that matters when you start.
What are our goals for these sessions?
I knew what I wanted. To be a regular gym goer. To have my health and fitness be a priority, to get to the gym and not be scared. But they’re gym specific goals. Not fitness specific. Not enough to create a plan. He literally said to me. “Well, you’re here now, so TICK”. Cue massive face-palm moment and wanting to roll around the ground laughing at how stupid my brain can be at times.
So I regaled him with the usual. I have no strength/muscle so I’d like to work on that. I’ve an extra ring of insulation around the gut that could do with being got rid of. And I want to “feel” the benefits of being healthy.
3 Weeks in and d’ya know what?
I Fuck Up a Lot… but I’m okay with it.
The first day walking down the road, I literally had to coax myself. “It’s gonna be fine, you won’t make a show of yourself… no, maybe I should go home… no fuck it, just go.” And on and on and on until I was at the front door. May as well go in now.
In the last 3 weeks I’ve:
Met people I know
Met people I know and don’t like
Met “the cool kids”
Met the ex of a friend (prick)
Had someone pull down their pants to show me their socks
Fallen off one of the machines (stupid stepper)
Felt serious amounts of pain
And then I felt like:
I was learning
I was getting better
I wasn’t afraid of the “cool kids” (still am a bit, but it’s only week 3)
I knew where things were
I could do this
And here’s what I learned so far
It’s all in your head- just fucking go
You’re never going to get over your fears if you don’t lean into them. Just go. Deal with each issue as it crops up. Once you get over it you’ll realise, it really was all in your head and it was easy to surmount. It took me 3 weeks to get over the fear, something nearly 2 years of thinking it out couldn’t do.
Smiling always helps - so does asking
Whether you like them or not, are afraid or not just smile and say hello. You know that awkward “eye-contact, no speech” thing just say hi. They can call you a dick for ignoring them but not for saying hello.
Everyone Starts somewhere
And it’ll hurt like hell to get where you’re going. I have some of the best, most supportive friends who know how much I want to succeed at this. And as one of them keeps telling me - “Everyone has to start somewhere”. She’s right. You’re not born with 6 pack abs and an ability to bench a fuck-ton.
That little statement is repeated every time I go. If people are going to judge, let them. Their opinion is none of your business anyway. They started somewhere and this is where I’m starting. If I stop now, I’ll go back to square one. So let’s move past this shitty bit and get to the better bit and then we’ll see where to go from there.
Target: 100 Words