Even though my college had a gym that was free for students, I never once stepped foot inside it. When I started working here at Well.org, Pedram offered me a gym membership and for months I refused. For some reason, I just did not want to go to the gym. I lost a lot of weight throughout college, but I never amassed any kind of muscle definition. I still have some belly fat that I’m not happy with. I knew a gym could help me out in this regard, but my fear of entering unknown territory held me back.
I had a few “good” reasons for avoiding the gym throughout these years. Of course there’s the issue of money. After I graduated college, I remained at the grocery store at which I worked to try to save up money to make my big move to California. No way could I spend extra money on a gym membership. But there was a much bigger reason that I never wanted to admit: social anxiety. Yes I was definitely skinnier than I was back in high school, but I wasn’t worried about my appearance at the gym. There was a foolish notion in my head that were I to enter a gym, my time would be spent just staring at the machines and trying to figure out how they operate. Or if I got myself on a machine I would exercise incorrectly. And I didn’t want to use a machine incorrectly! The “regulars” would judge my lack of knowledge and maybe even laugh when I wasn’t looking.
Despite my fear, I finally relented and signed up for a membership at the beginning of June. I have gone at least three times a week since getting the membership. And you know what I discovered during my time there? No one there cares about what I’m doing… maybe the trainers care… but everyone else is there to exercise. No I don’t have awesome biceps or washboard abs, but obviously that’s why I’m there. It was a sign of relief to know that all the machines have instructions on them. I can stand in front of these machines and take my time reading the instructions. There’s no reason to stress out about operating the machines!
I immediately got into a rhythm. I go at least three times a week and I don’t make up any excuses to skip. I find that as soon as I succumb to my excuses to skip a workout, then I’m in trouble. It’s important to keep a clear focus on why you want to go to the gym and the goals you want to accomplish. Remember, even when if you get yourself there, you can’t slack off. You have to be there physically and mentally. So keep your eyes on the prize and keep myself accountable. It helps to have a network of friends, family, and co-workers to keep you motivated. But at the end of the day, you’re the one doing those leg presses and reverse lunges. Now that I’ve opened those doors and faced my fears, I can’t believe that I ever avoided going to the gym.