Embarking on a journey towards a healthy lifestyle can be intimidating to many people. It can be full of questions, embarrassment and fear. I can personally attest to these feelings, as I used to be an overweight high schooler that didn’t even know where to begin. I was lucky, however, and found great teachers in the coaches of my high school athletic teams. As I slowly began to get the ins and outs of the fitness industry, including exercising and dieting, I realized that these fears are purely stigma brought on by people who simply did not reach their goals and became bitter towards fitness. As I soon saw my body fat shrink and my confidence grow, I realized anybody can do this if they have the right mindset and work ethic.
First, I would like to eliminate the idea that the gym is a scary place that is filled with meatheads and judgmental people. One should never be afraid to step into a fitness facility. I found that the most helpful, nice and honest people are the ones who are most fit. People like myself, who have been working out for years and have seen results, do want to give helpful tips and see someone push themselves beyond what they thought was possible. Yes, they may be intimidating, but find someone you admire and ask questions, a lot of them. This is part of the learning process in fitness and is only beneficial. If someone is ever discouraging, it is because they are unconfident with themselves in the gym. I love seeing a new person in the gym working as hard as possible to achieve a goal. There is something to be said for a hard-working person, and there is no better time to start the journey.
The stereotype that gym goers are “meatheads” is simply false. I can assure you that some of the most intelligent people I have met are the ones that bench press twice their bodyweight and look shredded on the beach. The stigma that gym girls are full of themselves and showoffs is entirely false as well. Those girls worked for the bodies they have and are willing to help you nine times out of 10. The only judgment I have seen in the gym from these enthusiasts is towards people who walk into the gym acting they own they place and cause a scene, all the while not putting in 100 percent effort. This strikes a nerve in gym goers and will simply get you nowhere. If you are working to your body’s full extent and trying to improve yourself, there is no judgment, regardless of body size, strength, or any other factor. So, walk into the gym with confidence, but always be humble. There is always going to be a weight you cannot lift, and there is no such thing as the perfect body.
My advice to someone who is trying to better their body is this: start today. Don’t wait until the New Year or next week. Start the day you have a vision of your future self. Find helpful diet and exercise tips in books, on the internet, and through experienced fitness enthusiasts. Always put in maximum effort in and out of the gym. I hear unhealthy people say they quit lifting or dieting because they didn’t get the results they wanted. I call that laziness. If nutrition and intensity stay on point and your mind is completely into your vision, you will achieve your goals. Having the best body possible isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would have it. It is beyond encouraging to see someone set a goal for themselves in the gym and then accomplish. I hope to keep seeing our SVSU students working hard and getting to their best selves, in and out of the gym.