On December 31 last year I sat in the car in front of the gym terrified. I knew I needed to get healthy but this was my first gym workout. I scrolled through funny workout memes and tried to convince myself that I could do this. Then, because my kids were watching, I followed through. I walked into the gym and I have been going for almost six months now. I have officially dropped my first 20 pounds. I wanted to share what I learned from going to the gym as well as a few tips for you to make the most of your time in the gym.
My First 20 Pounds – What I learned from Going to The Gym
I won’t lie to you. Those first few trips to the gym were terrifying for me. I had a few pre-conceived notions about what the experience would be. Let me share a few of the things I thought and a few of the things I learned.
I thought everyone would be fit
Let’s be real. When I thought of the gym I pictured a bunch of perfectly healthy people working out and loving it. On the contrary, in my head I pictured myself walking in as this overweight unhealthy person. I know it isn’t rational at all but I pictured those old high school lunch room scenes in most movies where people all turn and stare at the odd newcomer.
The gym was really diverse
In all honesty, my gym was filled people of every size and age. There were heavy people, thin people, body builders, and even elderly people. There was something so reassuring about working out next to a woman who had to use a cane or a man who worked out next to his service dog. It reminded me that I could do this and that limitations weren’t going to control my health choices.
It wasn’t all about the scale
I have spent my whole life chasing a specific weight. As I started strength training and cardio combined I learned that it wasn’t all about the scale. For a long time I was replacing fat with muscle. The scale claimed I made no progress but the measurements showed my wins. If I could tell you anything I would tell you to take measurements as you go. It may seem by the scale like you aren’t succeeding but weight really isn’t everything.
I thought I couldn’t do it
Don’t misunderstand me. It wasn’t like I was a little insecure. I thought I would walk into the gym and crash out on the floor. I just knew that I was not a gym person and my friend who drug me there was trying to kill me. I was so sure of this that I looked at every machine in the gym as if it were a torture device. (Some of them totally are!)
I was stronger than I believed
I didn’t realize I was able to do that much. I really thought I couldn’t. The first time around really pushed me hard. That said, I did it. I won’t pretend it was easy. It was the hardest thing to push past my own fears and insecurities in order to this. In fact, I would say it was harder to push past the fears in my head than it was to push past the weaknesses of my body.
People don’t really notice a 20 pound loss
Maybe I should clarify that. I had a ballpark of about 75 pounds to lose when I started going to the gym. It turns out that while I can see the difference of losing 20 pounds and toning a lot, most people can’t. They might see it in your face though. I have received many compliments about the fact that I am losing in my face. I secretly think of every leg day and arm day and think, “my face? Really?”
You don’t have to be in pain.. In fact you shouldn’t
After the gym you will be sore. Bank on it. There is a difference between sore and pain though. I overdid it WAY too much my first time at the gym. I could not even move after that for two straight days. I will tell you that I scaled back a bit and I still see great results. Don’t push yourself so hard you hurt yourself. Make sure to listen to your body.
I love Zumba!
When I first started the gym I would look at zumba and dread it. It just looked too hard and I didn’t feel fit enough to handle it. Don’t get me wrong, I love to dance. I am not good at it but I love it. Every time I got a little interested I would ask my childcare workers if they thought it was worth trying. They pushed me to try it and I finally conceded. Let me tell you, I love Zumba. I feel like I am dying. I sweat to death but you know what, I smile the entire time. I crave Zumba and love the experience of working out with other great people.
Green Smoothies are Life!
I am not a breakfast person. In fact, I usually just grabbed something quick and ignored it. Then I started out with green smoothies green smoothies and I love them. There is something so wonderful about drinking my veggies each day. I even found a great list of smoothies from my friend Having Fun Saving that I am trying out. I highly recommend trying out a good green smoothie as part of your new fitness choices.
I need my tribe
I have an amazing group of friends who have my back in this journey. They encourage and educate me in the process. I wouldn’t have dropped a single pound if it weren’t for these amazing people and their wisdom. If you are working to lose weight, I recommend surrounding yourself with people who are chasing the same thing. Find people who will both encourage and equip you to succeed.
This is for me
When I started this process I said it was for my kids. I was trying to get fit for the ability to be more involved. I have since learned that this isn’t about them. Don’t get me wrong. I still want that. However, at the end of the day it has to be about me. I have to want this and I have to be willing to fight for myself. I wanted to be able to look myself in the eye at 70 and know that I did everything I could to have the best life possible. I had to be able to say that I was a good steward of this body so it would work for me when I am old.
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