Happy Six-month Gym-iversary!

May 17, 2013 by

          This morning, I rolled out of bed and into my gym clothes. I grabbed my water bottle, music, and keys, and dragged my exhausted self out the front door. I rubbed my eyes, trying to wake myself up while waiting for the elevator. Riding down, I watched the numbers lower, waiting for my stop at the lobby, where it hits me every weekday morning that I really am about to workout. I walked into the bright sun to cross the street and enter the gym. Today was a weights day, so I worked my stomach, arms, and legs before my usual 30 minutes of cardio.

          On the elliptical, I zoned out to my music and entered me time. I’ve begun to truly enjoy the gym for this. It has become my thing. The gym is my time to myself, Monday to Friday morning, to do something that I know is healthy and makes me feel good. It means that I start my day for me; not to go to work. Yes, I actually like going to the gym. I never thought I would reach this point. I’ve despised forced physical activity with everything in me for my entire life. I never understood how people could enjoy working out. Eating healthy I can do. I find it easy to not do something (ex. to not put a piece of chocolate in my mouth). Working out is my Everest. It requires action. Before now, I have attempted to workout regularly three times in my life, twice in high school and once in university. Each period lasted no longer than two to three torturous months. This time is different.

          Today, after I rocked that elliptical, I realized that it is May 17, my six-month gym anniversary! I feel so accomplished! Six months ago, on the morning of November 17, I woke up and randomly decided to go to the gym. I had wanted to start going to the gym since I moved into my apartment almost a year prior, as I have free access to one. That day, I decided to stop saying that I wanted to start going to the gym and actually went. I lasted no more than ten minutes on the elliptical before I felt dizzy and sick, and experienced a horrible burning in my nose. Clearly, I was out of shape.

          At that time, my goal was simply to keep going to the gym, even if it was only for ten minutes at a time. At first, I tried to go everyday. As the gym became a regular occurrence and cardio became easier to handle, my new goals were to eventually (1) build my cardio endurance to 30 minutes and (2) be able to lift my groceries without difficulty. In the following months, I gradually increased my time on the elliptical until I hit 30 minutes at the end of January. I also added weight training to my workout every other day. I’m not going to lie; I hated my life every time I went to the gym. It was a struggle. I was (and still am) physically weak. Even so, I wouldn’t let myself stop. Remember, I’m a recovering perfectionist. Then, I was still just a perfectionist. Perfectionists don’t let themselves off the hook that easily.

          By March, a little more than three months after I began going to the gym, I realized that my life had hit rock bottom. As a result, The Happiness Experiment was born. I almost quit the gym. I did not like going, so I rationalized that it went against the principles of my happiness experiment. I felt like I was punishing myself everyday, especially because I used to go there after work. My night would be shot by the time I had finished. While contemplating quitting the gym, I did some reading on the effects of working out. I read from many sources that it makes people happier. Already unhappy enough, I made myself keep going. I didn’t want to make matters worse.

          However, I made changes to my approach. I gave myself the weekends off, beginning my Monday to Friday workout schedule and ending the daily madness. I also started forcing myself to wake up at 6 am each morning to workout. I am the furthest thing from a morning person, so this one was hard, but it freed up my evenings. Lastly, I began to forgive myself if I skipped a day, which wasn’t often, so I decided there was no need to beat myself up about it. I was no longer a slave to the gym/myself. By the end of April, I started to love going. I genuinely look forward to it most mornings. I am so proud of myself for getting to this point. Happy six months to me! Now, let’s keep working on lifting those groceries!

Happiness Tip: Work that body, baby!

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