I suppose gyms are alright.

I mentioned that I joined a gym a couple of weeks ago. I consider this a feat. I’ve hated gyms for a very, very long time. The feeling goes a bit deep, and I don’t often like to talk about it. My workplace offers a free gym membership, so I joined. I had a training session today, which was part of the membership. The trainer I got was very nice – she asked me a few questions about fitness and my goals and got me to do a few exercises before determining what would be best for me.

I feel like I have finally built that bridge and climbed over it. Coming from starving myself for weeks and struggling with body image, from despising any talk about going to the gym, from being upset by a comment that might have even slightly hinted that I was unfit.

From hating sport with a passion. From being encouraged by people to participate in sport, but having it feel like a forceful “if you don’t do this, you suck”. From feeling like my legs were getting bigger the more I rode a bike, but I loved bike riding. From feeling like my stomach wasn’t flat enough when I looked in the mirror when I danced ballet.

I know I’ve always been skinny, but I feel like I was self conscious about my body for a very long time. It’s taken a while for me to be somewhat happy with how I look, and this isn’t something every girl likes to discuss, either.

I hated sport when I was younger. My friends played netball and got into the team, while I much preferred to read books. My younger brother grew up to play tennis and win many local competitions before he was a teenager. He loved soccer and briefly played netball. I was a lot shorter than the rest of the kids at school, and I was hopeless at any sport. Running a hundred metres didn’t seem like much and it seemed like the shortest race at our school carnival, so I did it, and always came last. I lost every time we played Tip or Chase and I couldn’t ever catch anyone or even come close.

If I understood profanity at the age of seven, I would totally have said, “Fuck you guys, I’m gonna sit under the tree and read.”

I started dancing classes fairly late into my childhood. I was nearly ten years old. I picked it up quickly, and excelled quickly, which is why I am currently qualified to teach ballet and am ridiculously good (dare I say) at jazz dance. But no one ever dared call it a sport. Subtle achievements I remember in high school included being a good bowler in cricket, being able to serve very well in volleyball (what the heck?) and being damn good at gymnastics – but I thank dance for that. I never felt like I had it in me to achieve something as little as doing single a push-up properly – which I was only able to do this year, mind you.

I mentioned this a few years ago, but it wasn’t until I decided to put some effort into running at my secondary school’s cross-country carnival and came eighth that I realised I could actually run somewhat well.

Our office is really huge, and sometimes I have to go to the other end to talk to someone. Sometimes I run because it’s fun, and I might as well. After I challenged one of my workmates to race me to the other end, he asked if I wanted to go for a run at the gym, so I took up the offer. He said he was glad when I said I was much better at long distance running and didn’t really like any other exercise because he felt the same. Apparently most other people think running isn’t anything much, but I’ve been doing small weights as well.

Whatever, I guess. Gotta start somewhere.

Comments on this post

I used to like the gym, but lately I have realized that going there brings up body image issues for me, since the gym is full of people trying to look a certain way. :/ It’s different for everyone though and I’m sure you will enjoy it! What does the trainer have you doing?

I’ve always disliked sports as I’ve just never been that good at it. Well I wasn’t good compared to other kids in school. Like you I preferred to do something else instead of playing sports.

I just didn’t like how schools insisted that all kids play sports. It always felt that the ones that’s not good at sports were the odd ones out.

Took me a long time to have the courage to step foot in a gym. I was always scared that people will look at me and see how unfit I am! But frankly, no one cares as they’re all busy doing their own thing. There are always lots of “unfit” or beginners at a gym.

You know, I’ve been warming up to the idea of going to the gym recently as, like you, I’ve always been terrified of them. I’m not as terrified of them now (I think I just don’t care if others are looking at me weird anymore, mainly because I know that they won’t) but gyms are $$$$$$$$$ around here! Sigh.

I know that if work didn’t offer us a gym membership, I wouldn’t pay to join one myself. I’m pretty lucky in that regard!