My gym life and motivations

That’s the inside of pink iron gym.

I love to workout. I play tennis, run, and lift weights. Over the years, I learned to enjoy physical activity for it’s own sake. I have been an athletic girl since I was in elementary school, but somewhere I got sidetracked into confinement to a certain figure, weight, dress size. Eventually, I kicked aside societal pressures and focused on what makes me feel good, happy, and focused on being fit.

My latest inspirations were seeing two older women easily defeat me. I’m not discouraged or negatively competitive. It makes me want to keep doing what I love and hope that in 20 years, I will be like them.

To me, it’s not about how much I weigh, my dress size, and how I look. It’s about how healthy, strong, fit I am.

Why is it that even today, some women have this aversion to athleticism and fitness? It seems to be harbored thinking from a previous century mindset that viewed athleticism as unfeminine. In the 1920s, most people thought strenuous exercising wasn’t good for women’s ovaries. Women are supposedly frail, but somehow when it comes to childbirth all the sudden they get some magical strength. It is nonsense because in ancient Greece and Sparta there were women who competed in the Herare Games. Maybe competitive sports is not for everyone, but I wished that women would for once focus on fitness goals instead of the number on the scale.

I can’t stand women who are negatively fussing over their figures and obsessed with every trendy fad diets. Their conversation starts with commenting on theirs or other people’s weight. It sets a very negative, awkward tone. It’s also flat out rude to comment on someone’s weight. Either say they look good or say nothing. Take an annoying girl who comments, “Oh good to see you [or the alike]…” And then her next comment is, “Oh, you like you lost weight.” She says this every time she meets an old acquaintance or friend. The funniest part was that my weight and measurements have been exactly the same for the last few years. I wish I could come up with a witty comment. Instead, I just changed the topic to something more interesting. I just wished I could say something, but I didn’t and maybe it’s better that way.

If you want to talk about dieting, let’s stick to chatting about healthy, balanced dieting that includes the right amount of protein, carbs, fats and avoiding processed foods. I do not want to hear about fad dieting or extremely low-calorie restriction. Depriving your body of needed nutrition isn’t smart or healthy.

The worst are women obsessed with starvation diets and pushing their negativity to others. I’d be worried that she has an eating disorder. Many people quickly blame the magazines. I’ll argue that women are negatively influenced by the wrong attitudes of other people in their own life or bad parenting. I wish that some mothers would stop fretting over their pre-adolescent daughter’s weight. It’s setting a bad example and giving her the message that she is valued for her appearance. Why not positively encourage your daughters in healthy eating habits, exercise and taking care of their bodies instead of teaching them to conform to a size? If you focus on health and fitness for it’s own sake, appearance will take care of itself.

I used to work as a sales rep for a store. I had two women walk in and after chatting with them briefly, one of them asked me for the dress that’s on the display rack. I asked her size. She commented about me being skinny and that I must be a size zero. I just calmly yet positively replied, “Well, I actually wear size 6.” They looked at me surprised. I tactfully changed the subject to the dress colors and cut of the dress. I found the comment offensive and awkward. Calling me skinny is actually an insult not a compliment. To me, I am not interested in being a size 0. There is, of course, nothing necessarily wrong with being a size 0 or 6 for the matter.

I also wish that people would appreciate the diversity of all body types. Instead of trying to change into something you are not, the focus should be on being in the best shape possible. 

I prefer conversations about running, a physical sport, or hobby. I believe that if I focus on how fast I can run, my weightlifting stats, how I improved my game or how wonderful I feel after the workout, I’ll feel better about myself. Sure, I weigh myself occasionally and measure but that’s not the whole picture. Knowing that my body is the temple of the living God and it’s meant to be nourished, taken care of and moving was the best perspective that I adopted.

Sometimes when people get negative about starvation dieting, I try to steer the conversation towards positive thinking with an emphasis on healthy eating and proper exercise. The reaction is either not wanting to talk about it anymore or curious and wanting to know more. I flat out refuse to get into a pity-party about being fat. I say: quit whining, get off your behind and do something about it that is actually healthy!

I also prefer being around like-minded women and men who like to challenge themselves physically. I prefer a friend who’d tell me that my excuse is pathetic and that I should workout. Likewise, if you are choosing me as a workout partner, I’d make you workout! I had friends who wanted to workout with me and then not come back.

For the last few years, I focused on consistent workouts. My typical routine is 3 to 5 times a week for at least an hour. And on weekends, I go salsa or swing dancing, hiking and other fun activities that are physical. Of course, I have days when I relax. Since last few years were my final terms of graduate school, I adjusted my workouts to 2 times a week for 30 minutes, but cranked up the intensity. Now that I graduated, I’m back to working out 3 to 5 times a week. Even when I was a graduate student working two jobs, I made time to workout.

You know the two older ladies who beat me. The first one was this lady in my old gym who can do about 25 pull-ups. She looks like she’s in her 40s and able to beat most 20-somethings in pull-ups. It made me think…why do I limit myself? I discovered the joy of testing my limits and seeing how far I can go. Yet, this doesn’t mean being stupid by wrong form and risking injuries. I see some men in the gyms trying to show off by lifting the heaviest weight in the worst form. I pay attention to my body yet know what it’s made for. To move.

The second person was when I decided to try a hot yoga class. A lady in front of me was very flexible, strong, and rocking those intense poses. It’s admirable. I’m no fool. I know that these two people may have been doing this for years and everyone started somewhere. I completely accept where I am. Seeing them does not discourage me at all. In fact, they encouraged me and I imagine myself to be strong, healthy, fit, and happy regardless of my age and where I am in life.

By the way, I hope some of you are not offended by my thoughts. Sometimes I like to say it as it is. I hope you try to understand my persective with an open mind. The straightforwardness of a few people got me to stop being negative with self-pity and instead be postive while changing my lifestyle. Back then, I needed that wake-up call, which I’m thankful for. (Why do I even need a disclaimer? This is an internet blog after all.)

13 thoughts on “My gym life and motivations

  1. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the layout of your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  2. Hmmmm to be honest. Layout and design isn’t my greatest strength. Design doesn’t come naturally to me at all. I tend think through words rather than visually. I’m not well-versed in web layout and it’s a lot for me to learn at once. I’m still trying to figure it out. I thought about it but taking my time to play around and see what feels right. I’m not 100% happy with this layout but will gradually play with it till I’m happy.

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