I USED TO HATE PEOPLE WHO WORKED OUT. BUT SH*T, NOW AM I ONE
I used to hate people that worked out, now I am one. I was literally the nemesis of exercise. It became a part of my personality so deeply ingrained that even the thought of going to the gym had me scoffing and cussing out people who 'trained' - uurgh, what a word, training for what love? The gym selfie Olympics?! Trust me, I have built a whole life and brand around being anti-things, and smug gym goers were one of those things. You could perhaps think of me as the Karl Pilkington of fitness.
To turn around and eat my words on something literally feels like a piece of my personality is being ripped away. What will be left? A smuggo middle of the road loser who is positive all the time?! Get the fuck outta here. I couldn't let it happen.
These are all the reasons I didn't want to go to the gym.
All those smug people looking at me working out and judging me. Looking at each other, looking at themselves. Looking at their own muscles. Just a whole lot of looking.
2. Social Anxiety
If you haven't realised already I basically have social anxiety. Unless I'm in the mood or around likeminded people and then I'm awesomely friendly and chatty. Just blame it on me being a Gemini.
I really hated sweating. It's gross. I don't want to see other people sweating, or be sweating, or smelling other people sweating.
4. The music
I mean Jesus Christ honestly?! Do we really need to hear David Guetta and all of his soundalikes 40 thousand times this morning? Oh, seems we do.
5. I didn't like working out
I didn't actually like working out, or enjoy it. or anything. Nothing about it made me feel good and that so called 'buzz' that people got from it was obviously bullshit. They were just being smug gym goers.
6. I didn't have the time
Literally. I was stressing about not having enough hours in the day already. I run a blog, a business and I freelance doing interior styling. Oh and I'm a wife and mother. Who has friends. so where exactly is the time to go and work out?
7. I didn't want to become one of THEM
This was the biggest one. more so than any of the above reasons, I just didn't want to become someone who went to the gym. Someone who I had spent my life taking the piss out of and laughing at (yes I'm a judgemental bitch on occasion, sue me). Someone who would post pictures of working out. GOD NO I COULD NOT BECOME THAT PERSON.
But I did.
SO WHAT THE F*CK HAPPENED?
To be honest with you, 2016 was amazing for me. I had the biggest growth in my career that I've ever had before, but that level of hustling and constant grind had come at the expense of my health and my sanity.
In the summer I felt like I was constantly on the edge of burn out, if not in it, but still managing to work somehow. I had people pulling me in all kinds of directions, constant deadlines, financial pressures and more. I was swimming in a pool of golden sand and slowly drowning. So many awesome opportunities but I couldn't handle the pressure.
I had tried things like meditating and eating properly, but not had any success. For some reason or another I couldn't stick to it. Meditating felt like I was being pulled away from finalising work that would take the stress of my plate (this is the trap of a high workload and stress) and eating healthy when you're in a rush all the time is a joke. Not gonna happen.
So you can imagine at what kind of point I was in my head to actually think that working out could be some kind of answer. I was at the end of the line and all I kept hearing was how working out would be the best thing for my anxiety and stress levels. Again, I really fought it because I couldn't justify being in the gym when I had people emailing me chasing work that I was still yet to complete because I was so snowed under. On the other hand, as much as I hated the idea of working out I had to admit that all of the people I looked up to as entrepreneurs and business people were making the time to work out constantly.
So for some reason I did it. I signed up.
I was all over the place. I'd do a bit here and there and I felt nothing.
It was pointless.
But for some reason I had a niggly feeling that if I got a personal trainer it might somehow work. As I said - I was at my last point of hope. If i didn't find something that worked I was about to basically destroy my brain cells, my nerves and probably my happy family life in the process. It finally dawned on me that I had to FIX UP asap.
Being stressed and busy all the time is not the making of a good businesswoman.
I learnt that the hard way.
Anyway, I was so nervous about my first session because
a) I was totally unfit
b) not only would the whole gym see me working out but someone would actually be actively be watching me. There was no escape and nowhere to hide. If I was slacking I knew I was gonna get pulled up on it.
c) if this actually worked and I liked it I'd have to commit to paying. SHIIIIT son as if my bloody outgoings in a startup weren't fucking high enough anyway!
But I did it. And you know what it was kinda fun! It was hard but I found this weird headspace where I kind of pushed myself harder than I really ever had before. When I worked out at home I'd get to the hard bits and then cop out whereas for some reason doing it this way I found this weird little meditative state where I could just....
My trainer Josh got me to do different things every time. Boxing (I may or may not have pretended that the pads were the faces of people who were harassing me for things), jumping around, squats, lunges, heavy things, lifting things, throwing things and doing stupid things where I looked like an idiot but I didn't really care anymore.
I hurt for about a week after. But that felt good, and I was really proud of myself!
Now trust me when I say this - I am never proud of myself. I don't pat myself on the back about anything. I know I am shit hot at a lot of stuff but I don't feel proud of myself for it. I just want to push myself harder. So this whole feeling proud of myself was kinda a new feeling. It was pretty awesome, and I think it's pretty addictive actually.
Because somehow I went back, and back and back.
I defo had a few weeks where I slipped. I had a bit of a dark space where I basically watched too much Black Mirror and weird conspiracy theory shit online and decided there was no point in doing anything because we are all fucked anyway.
I got over it, and I went back. And I haven't stopped since.
At some point, I stopped dreading it.
I started finding it more and more FUN.
Plus as if by some weird plotting by the universe all of the things that I found hard before like meditating, taking time out and eating well have actually started to become much easier. I can't tell you why. But they just have.
This hasn't been a long period by any means and I don't know if I'm a new found gym lover or what. But when I think about if I had to stop 'training' now it feels really weird. Like I'd feel like a pretty shitty person. I'd feel like a failure actually!
Here's what I've realised.
1. No-one even looks at you at the gym.
No one cares. people are just there, like you, to work out. That's it. There's no hidden agenda (apart from if you go to my Croydon gym at 8.30pm on a Thursday night when all the hench thuggy guys want to stare at each other pushing weights whilst walking around looking like ridiculous comic book characters).
I found comfort in the older people working out who literally gave no fucks about what they were wearing, or what they looked like. I found comfort in those who (this sounds awful) had more out of shape bodies than me, because I realised in my head that they were probably looking at me thinking I was one of those smug gym types and hating me. I realised that we're all just as caught up in our own stupid thoughts as anyone else and basically, I don't give a fuck. I don't with anything else so why here?!
2. Instead of listening to the shitty music I just started taking headphones.
I listen to business podcasts and audio books instead (two birds with one stone and all that).
3. I started to crave getting sweaty.
If I ended a session without sweating I was like 'Sarah what the fuck have you been doing?!'
4. I made the time.
Most importantly I realised that I had been judging gym goers for years because deep, deep down on a subconscious level, I felt shitty about not being healthy.
So I have to do the one thing I really HATE doing and that is eat my words.
I used to hate people who worked out. But shit, now I am one. And maybe deep, deep down, you are too.
If you need anyone to talk it through with, shout me. Cos if anyone can ramp with the best of them about wankers in the gym taking selfies, it's me. But then I might also convince you to join me for a session too ;)
*I go the The Gym in Croydon and my trainer is Josh Turner, you can find him on instagram here and he's awesome!*