The hardest part of starting your fitness journey, is building up the courage to actually start. It’s tough. It requires hurting your pride and your body (well, not hurting so much as making it very, very sore), and getting out there in workout gear that other people might actually see you in!
Two years ago, when I first decided it was time to start exercising again, getting past the negative voices in my head, the one’s who said “dear god, look how fat she is” and “everyone is staring at me and wondering what the hell I’m doing cause I’m so fat” and “AHHHH Dear God Why!!” was the hardest part. It didn’t help that the first step I decided to take on my fitness journey was swimming. You know, cause when you’re weighed down with crippling body image issues, the first thing you should do is squeeze yourself into the tiniest bit of spandex you can find.
But the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step, or in my case the first swim, and, rather than tell the voices in my head to shut up, I went out and bought a pair of knee length men’s swim trunks and a surfing top that was just big enough to cover my jelly belly. So, now the jiggly bits I was trying to cover were hidden and I could assure myself that the only reason people were staring at me was because I was so overdressed at the pool.
Shockingly, no one ever said anything about either my plethora of clothes, or my jiggly bits. Conversations were had, one person wanted to know how I’d become such a good swimmer (6 years on my school swim team thanks), another wanted to know if I was training for an upcoming triathlon? (What? No! I’m fat thanks). No one, not one single person, thought I didn’t belong in that pool.
Cut to two years down the road, and I’ve dropped swimming for weight lifting and jogging, and I have only ever gotten one slightly insulting comment. One guy said to me, “You know you’d be perfect if it wasn’t for your stomach.” Two years before that comment probably would have made me run into the locker room crying, but now, now I’m a hard ass bitch….ok… not really, that stupid back handed compliment really hurt my feelings to the point I could probably write a whole post about that. I was tempted to start making excuses, tell the guy that I’ve had two c-sections in less than two years, that my abs are separated which effects what I can do stomach wise, that I don’t have the time or the desire to prepare different meals for myself and family so my kids can grow up seeing me deprive myself, that I like wine. But I didn’t make excuses. I’d been doing this for two years, and I know how far I’ve come, I know how fit I am, and if he doesn’t see that, screw him. I do.
I want to make it clear, in two years that was the only slightly negative comment I’ve ever gotten. Which leads me to the conclusion that no body really cares what I look like working out. Gym people are normal people (albeit slightly more muscly than the rest of us), they have insecurities too, and they are usually too busy working on their own fitness to worry about yours. However, if you give them a smile, they might drop you some hints or tips from their own experience. Cause guess what, no body starts at the gym looking like Arnie. Everyone was once the overweight, tired, huffing, puffing, unfit person. They remember what it was like, and they’re happy to help or even just offer a smile of support.
So get out there folks and start your fitness journey, whether you choose the pool, the gym or your own living room, just start! The only one holding you back is yourself.