14 Things I've Learned From Hitting The Gym For 6 Months Straight, And #1 Is It's Not Easy

14 Things I've Learned From Hitting The Gym For 6 Months Straight, And #1 Is It's Not Easy

I've learned a lot about the gym, working out and myself from that time.
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I am not an athletic person, by any means. I hate running, I hate sweating and the thought of exercise makes me cringe.

Or, at least, it used to. I have been attending my gym regularly for the past six months, and I've learned a lot about the gym, working out and myself from that time.

1. It's Not Easy

It is so much easier to just stay home and watch TV than to leave the house and go work out. And if you do actually persuade yourself to go, it can be very difficult to find the motivation to actually do an effective workout. You'll want to give up a lot. Don't do it half-hearted. You're there, you might as well get in a good session.

2. It's A Slow Process

Depending on what results you're trying to see, it's a pretty slow process. You won't just go to the gym for a week and then wake up on the weekend with abs (trust me...I wished it was true, too.) This might discourage you, but remember, slow progress is better than no progress.

3. You'll Have More Energy

I always thought that if I went to the gym I'd be more tired and want to sleep all the time. And I do want to nap when I'm done working out, but that's not what I'm saying. I have so much more energy now than I used to six plus months ago. I want to play sports now with my friends and run around. I don't feel so sluggish anymore.

4. You'll Feel Strong

The best thing is when you get that good sore feeling after a good workout. You feel strong and empowered. Slowly seeing your muscles define is awesome because you feel, well, strong.

5. Water Is Your Best Friend

I was never the kid who ordered sodas at restaurants or vending machines. I always drank water. I was a water kid. That being said, as I started working out more, I noticed the true importance of having a water bottle with you. It's your best friend during and after workouts.

6. There Are A Lot Of Body Types... And They're All Beautiful

I think about this one a lot. There are so many different types of people at my gym. There are bodybuilders, girls who look like they could snap in half, girls who look like they could snap me in half, people just starting their journey, older folks etc.

It's a very diverse place, and if nothing else, I've noticed that not every person is built the same. Not everyone loses weight the same. Everyone is different, and we're all beautiful in our own ways--as cheesy as that sounds.

7. Workout Classes Are Fun

I feel like a stay-home mom when I say this, but I take Zumba classes multiple times a week. And I love it. It's a way to work out that doesn't really feel like working out because it's just so fun! Plus, you make friends in the class, and it's like seeing your school friends but they're gym friends.

8. ...They're Also Horrible

I also take a step-cardio sculpt class, and it freaking kicks my butt! It is one of the worst things I've ever done because I'm sore for the whole next week after it...I love it.

9. There's Good Sore and Bad Sore

There is a difference between muscles that you don't usually use being sore and actually being hurt. Be careful with that because you don't want to mistake it for being fine and then hurt yourself worse.

10. That Scale Is The Only One You Trust

I don't know about anyone else, but I only trust the scale at my gym now. It's big and metal and looks very official. It always gives me an accurate reading while my one at home is flaky. I only trust the gym.

11. It's Addicting

Now for some people, it's bad because they literally become addicted to it. But for me, it's just something I look forward to doing daily. If I miss my workouts, I feel weird. I love going to the gym and I love getting work put in.

12. It's a Mood Booster

I will leave the gym, dripping with sweat, breathing heavy as I say, "I'm dead," with a huge smile on my face. It's a great place to let out anger, stress or anxiety on the machines.

13. You'll Feel Proud

No matter if the change you see is big or small, the first time you see change in yourself you feel proud. Adding more weight is a proud moment. Running for five minutes longer than last time is a proud moment. You'll feel proud of yourself for what you're doing.

14. You Learn How To Stay Committed

One of the things I struggled with most at first was keeping constant at the gym. I'd miss days and get other plans. Now, I stick to my schedule. I am there three to five days a week, and the days I'm not there, I'm boxing at home. I've stayed committed to my schedule, and I love it.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Being Skinny Isn’t As Great As You Think

A reflection on the struggles that come with a person's body image.

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Body image. It is one of the most powerful and harmful things on a person's self-esteem. Society and media have placed so many images of what we "should" look like. How we need to be eating, exercising, dressing, EVERYTHING. According to others, we always need to change ourselves or second guess how we see our bodies.

For as long as I can remember everyone has called me "tiny". Sure, being small and being able to fit into a lot of clothes is fun, but being tiny or thin isn't always a good thing. I am your typical college kid eating whatever I want whenever I want.

The only difference between myself and other students is that I almost never gain weight. Some girls or guys may read that part and think that I have a gift or blessing. That I can do whatever I want and still stay small and "pretty".

Have you ever finished a meal then looked at yourself and felt like something wasn't right? Some people in today's world and in history will spend time looking at themselves and seeing multiple things that are wrong with their body.

Some handled that by exercising and losing weight or gaining muscle, others have gone as far as throwing up their food or taking pills that force their bodies not to gain ANY weight. Hearing about that from adults or doctors seems crazy but people do it all the time. Possibly the people around you and you would never know.

I went to middle school with a girl that always finished her lunch walking to the trash and then taking herself to the bathroom. She wouldn't come back to our table until the lunch bell rang. Most people didn't give a second thought to this situation, me however, I followed her one day. What I saw next was something I wasn't prepared for as a 7th grader.

Two sinks, a mirror, and three stalls. One was occupied and the rest were empty. I walked into crying and nothing else. The girl had already taken care of her food and was trying to gather herself after what she just did.

People told her that she was gaining weight, that she was "chunky" or fat. She wasn't the only girl around that dealt with horrible comments like that. It's also not just girls dealing with issues like this.

Boys and men are constantly judged and only "ideal" if they are muscular. Young boys are called pigs or disgusting only because of their weight and looking bigger than the "average" person. Men are downgraded to a lesser meaning when they are thin and "stick like".

Even as we grow up kids and sometimes adults say things without realizing the effect. Being called tiny or skinny all of the time can make someone just feel small. Getting comments to eat a hamburger and fries can make someone feel insulted.

Having comments made about your skin or hair and people making assumptions about you can make someone feel misunderstood or judged. Being told that you need to eat more or go tanning because your body doesn't "look right" can torture a person.

There are so many things that play into a person's self-esteem. Average size, too small or too big is simply just words coming out of someone's mouth that don't understand the true beauties in life.

Do you ever look at a big oak tree and say, "You're too fat, you should really lose some weight."

Do you ever see a flower that blooms smaller than a quarter and tells it, "You are tiny! Why don't you go eat a burrito or something?"

No. You probably don't. Just replace the oak tree with mom and see how that feels coming out of your mouth. Replace flower with a teenage girl and see if you can actually say all of those things. Imagine if you were a parent and it was your little girl or boy that you were talking to and you said those words. Would you be happy with yourself? Would you feel guilty? Would you push them to make their body unhealthy just to fit society's standards?

I hope that you wouldn't

There are so many of us out there being told what to do with ourselves in order to be happy with our bodies. How can someone else determine our happiness for us? I have personally gotten to the point of breaking.

I see friends on a daily basis that want to change their body because it's "ugly". Many of those thoughts are because of things society has put in our minds, and not what truly matters.

As a society, we need to push towards total acceptance. Now, I am not meaning the sexuality or ethnicity type of acceptance because those are important on a different level. Respecting each other and our bodies are something that needs to be understood and enforced as much as sexuality acceptance is pushed.

I want to live in a world and raise children in a world that doesn't make people feel horrible about their bodies. It is THEIR body, not ours. The only body we should be worrying about is our own. I want my future daughter to grow and love playing dress up without wondering if her body looks right in what she's wearing. I want my future son to go to gym class and be able to do only one pull up with all of the other boys cheering him on to do better.

Is that too much to ask?

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