I never worked out until I was in college. At first I kept it very brief and stuck to machines—that was freshman year. I’d pop into Skyline as regularly as I’d attend my Astronomy lecture—so maybe four times total (love the stars—memorizing their quadrants, not so much—it makes it less mesmerizing and more mathematical. I’m a firm believer that you should remain as imaginative as possible because so often we lose that as we grow up and I’m sorry but Astronomy just wasn’t feeling that vibe. So I steered clear to avoid killing the magic and the fact that naps seemed MUCH more appealing than a 3-hour lecture by a monotone professor that was sure to lull me to sleep anyways).
Anyways, then there was sophomore year, and that, my friends, is when it all began. I lived in the student apartments right next to the Aquatic Center. Out of the blue—okay, not really, I’d gained 17 pounds freshman year and wasn’t about to let that happen again—I started hitting the gym. What began as three times a week in the early evenings turned to six and eventually to six in the morning every day. Before I knew it, waking up and throwing on my Nike was a thing of habit. I became the girl that went to the gym so often that my wardrobe consisted of more Nike and spandex than any other garment. My love of Elites came into play and my need to wear Lilly faded to the back burner. All of a sudden I was this motivated (okay, I’ve almost always been a highly motivated individual, but for the first time it included my health as well), energetic, optimistic person. Each morning workout started my day off perfectly and if I didn’t hit it, I was acutely aware of the effects on my mood. That’s when I realized that working out had become a vice and something that I not only enjoyed doing, but needed to do.
Next thing I knew, fall turned to spring and spring to summer. All of the effort that I put in over my sophomore year made its debut in an array of bikini-clad beach pics where I’d never felt better. But, as summer turned into full swing, back came the lazy days where the pool, beach and day drinking seemed more appealing than setting precious summer hours aside to stay healthy. And there was a boy. So I, as they say, got comfortable. And over the next year and a half of our relationship I neglected my eating and gym habits and was so caught in our world that I didn’t realize what I was letting happen to mine. I was more anxious and on-edge than ever before, and all of a sudden clinical anxiety became a notion very close to home. But, being in a state where I clearly didn’t care about my health and well being (despite giving vegetarianism and Paleo (yes, complete and total opposites) a go for a short period of time), I didn’t do anything about it.
Summer turned to fall and I was embarking on my senior year of college. Where had the time gone? I just enrolled what felt like yesterday and now everyday was a reminder that I was one step closer to being an adult (because we, as Gen Y’ers, tend to not consider ourselves as such until graduating college—unless of course we’re trying to make a point to our parents, in which case, yes, we are a b s o l u t e l y adults—aka, don’t tell us what to do). With the realization that my college career (and free gym membership) would soon be coming to a close, I decided it was time to dedicate time to not only what was fun and convenient, but to recreating a habit of health. I worked on my eating habits in the fall and once January rolled around, my state of mind was revamped to get myself back in the gym—not only for my physical health, but because I knew it would help with my mental health (anxiety) as well.
Over the next year and a half (which brings us to where I am r i g h t h e r e & n o w) I’ve wavered between being an addict to a no-show—there’s days when I’m all about seeing my man Gym and there’s days when a triple layer crepe, FourFiveSeconds and roomie bonding seem much more appealing.
Starting in January I worked out regularly (3-5 times a week) on my own with workouts that I’ve accumulated and adjusted since sophomore year. Then summer came around and I decided to get a bit more serious. I kicked it up a notch by hiring a personal trainer—he was an ex-marine who basically just told me not to be a pussy and finish my reps, up my weight and do it again. And, looking at him—a competitive bodybuilder—I knew he knew what he was talking about, so I listened. I was in the best shape of my life and my diet and state of mind were on par. I was so amped about not only regaining my lifting lifestyle, but taking it to an entirely new (heavier) level, that I started to actually consider my trainer when he was telling me I should train for Jay Cutler Physique. And so I worked for it—no days off, counting my macros, a gallon a day—you get the idea. And then December rolled around—and so did my hip.
Getting injured in December was devastating to my gym routine because it made legs day (my favorite day) a pipe dream. And every other concentration day, where my lower body wasn’t even at the forefront—I could still feel it. So I stopped. As I felt my body and mind change over the next month, I knew I needed to find a way to get back in the gym. Even though my hip had begun to feel fine, it was my fear of re-injuring that held me back (to this day I still haven’t regained the muscle memory/balance/confidence to go for squatting 185lbs like I had in the weeks leading up to my injury). Then, a week before the anniversary of my starting to workout again, I found myself persevering and walking headstrong into XSport. Slowly but surely, with the help of Joey and Jacob (the trainers), I found myself back in my routine, even if my weight abilities weren’t the same.
A month went by and I was so happy to be feeling the effects of a gym sesh well done when I found out that I’d gotten the job and was moving to NYC. All excitement (and hell) broke loose, and once again bye-bye Gym (and yes, I know it’s really not fair of me to only be available to him when it’s convenient for me).
Now, living in NYC and having had the encounter with not-so-satisfying at-home workout vids, I have joined a 24-hour gym that brings me to my happy place. I’m back in the game and my plan is to set and reach goals continually—starting with losing the four pounds I’ve put on and training for a half marathon (because I’m only half crazy).
Throughout my love affair (it’s really a happily ever after sort of deal because I don’t envision kicking him to the curb) with Gym, I’ve gained a better sense of myself. I have learned about perseverance, self-satisfaction, confidence and overall, being happy. A date with Gym leaves me feeling like an invincible, anything-is-possible, less anxious, prettier than ever badass—and isn’t that the best kind of relationship? The kind that makes you feel on top of the world.