Working out never used to be a passion of mine.
In fact it was something I used to dread. A dancer for most of my life, upon coming to college I quickly fell out of shape; gaining the freshman 15 (more like 25!!) due to stress and late-night pizza runs. Realizing I was out of shape was the first step, but actually going to the gym was a bit more…difficult. I HATED it.
With all those facts in mind, it may come as a surprise that today I’m somewhat of a “gym rat.” Its become my own little sanctuary; a place where I go not just to exercise, but to clear my mind. For me, working out is not just a means to an end. While I initially started my fitness journey with the intention of losing weight, it has quickly evolved into more than just that.
When I’m in a yoga or a pilates class, or sweating it out on the elliptical, I feel at peace. My mind is sharp, and I am concentrated on the task at hand, not worried about any external stressors. It has helped me manage my sometimes overwhelming anxiety, which in turn has improved how I handle school, work, and my own social life. Instead of dragging myself to the gym, I look forward to it, as a break from the real world and a chance to truly work on bettering myself in the process.
This zen philosophy didn’t happen right away. Starting a fitness routine is HARD, especially if you go into it considering yourself out of shape, like I did. It’s not easy to go into workouts comparing yourself to others; wondering why you can’t keep up at the exact same pace. But here’s the thing: finding a passion for fitness doesn’t have to be about anyone but yourself. It’s an entirely personal experience, where the only thing that matters is what you gain out of it.
Working out as given me an outlet physically and emotionally; strengthening not only my body, but my spirit. There are still some days where I drag my feet going to the gym, after all wouldn’t it be nicer to stay in bed for an extra 3o minutes? Those feelings are far outweighed by the satisfaction I get from going to the gym.
It didn’t come easily, but having a well-regimented exercise routine has added a lot to my life, and I see myself continuing it into the distant future.