OK, that headline isn’t quite true. I didn’t try to become a gym girl; I only wanted to lose some weight and was convinced weights are the way to do it. But I guess I did become one in mere months—I have zero plans on quitting my new gym-going routine. I look forward to every day I work out. And I still find it hard to believe, because all my life I would practically get sore from just looking at a ball.
So, what changed?
I Started Seeing Results Quickly
This is not some “lose weight easily in two weeks” program. (It sure ain’t easy!) It’ll be months until I reach my target weight, and I am fully aware of that. Yet I am obviously slimmer. Sometimes I have a hard time believing it is me looking back from the mirror, but other people have noticed it too. And honestly, if you start working out because you want visible results—this change is quite important and motivating. I think a lot of people give up on exercise all together without realizing they’re just not on the right program. Grab those weights, girl!
I Slept Better
This is probably my favorite thing about the gym! I take sleep seriously and I’ll never let myself sleep just 5 hours a night and call it OK, but it used to be so hard to fall asleep. I am lucky because I work from home so falling asleep at 4 a.m. can only mean I will get up later (and be mad about it); other people will have to get up early nonetheless. But ever since I started going to the gym every other day and doing some sort of light exercise on days off, like walking, I doze off the moment I finish a chapter of a book.
I Could Tell I Was Growing Stronger
I don’t know if very many girls start going to the gym thinking “I want to be able to lift my own body weight.” But once the weights start going up—and that practically happens from the very start—the game becomes addictive. Each week I want to be able to lift more than I could last week. And amazingly, most weeks I probably can.
I Started Paying Attention to Nutrition
Of course, on the journey of losing weight or gaining muscle, the gym is only half the game. The other half is paying attention what you eat. Luckily, I love healthy food, but junk food is my kryptonite, and I could probably live off chocolate forever and not get bored. But when I started paying attention to what I eat, I really became more aware of my food. I do count calories, but I don’t roll my eyes at the sight of your burger. Quite the contrary—sometimes I’ll have one too! But unlike in the old days, I now know what I eat when I eat a burger and don’t follow it up with a bag of chips, three muffins and ice cream right after. I probably still can eat all those things at once, but I won’t be trying.
I Became More Sensitive
This thing with the gym and counting calories without banning chocolate from my life works. It works like a charm! And it would probably work for everyone else out there too! But no matter how much I wanted to let everyone know they should start going to the gym in the first few weeks, I stopped myself. I realized not everyone wants to change their body size or shape, and that’s fine. Not everyone is impressed with my weightlifting achievements—in fact, nobody cares—and that’s fine too. I have never been one to body-shame another, but I am now even more aware of potential slips and inadvertent judgements. I know better than ever that each of us is a different person with different priorities and no matter what society wants to tell us, we are first and foremost individuals.
I Became More Carefree
People will think they know better than me what I should be doing (oh, the lifted eyebrows when I mention I still eat sweets!) and won’t be afraid to say it. They will advise me to ditch the carbs (carbs are evil, eeeeviiil!) and maybe not lift because I will get all Schwarzenegger-like. It used to really get on my nerves because hey, random person, what makes you think a) you know more about this than my trainer and me, me who actually does the work?, and b) my trainer doesn’t have my best interests in mind? Then I stopped caring what other people think and say. Maybe they say it with the best of intentions, maybe they say it because, well, they believe you can’t possibly eat chocolate and get slimmer! But at the end of the day, what matters to me is my progress. And I can promise you, so far it has been progress and nothing but.
What’s your favorite way to work out? Are you a “gym girl” too? Flex those muscles and show us your sweat style on Instagram using the hashtag #FreeAsAFeather!