I've heard it countless times before in tabloids, on TV and in books like Charles Duhigg's "Power of Habit" and even from my grandma. "Exercise will change your life!" they said, urging me to visit a sweat-ridden dungeon full of mystifying machinery and daunting equipment. I could never get myself to enter such a place without feeling small and incompetent as I stared at the muscular and confident members grinding their way to a better lifestyle.
But with the societal obligations that come with New Year's Resolutions, I decided to join a local gym with the hopes of doing something better than spending an hour on Instagram after school. Although Duhigg noted exercise as a keystone habit, I didn't realize the true impact that exercising regularly would have on my life.
The first change that emerged from regularly going to the gym was my water consumption. After an intense workout, the quickest way to replenish my energy was by gulping down some water. I went from getting a few glasses here and there to tracking my daily water intake in my bullet journal. As a result, I've seen fewer breakouts on my face, it's been easier to get up in the morning, and I have more energy throughout the day.
After I got through January, I noticed myself making better food choices. I would deliberately avoid heavy foods that I craved before, such as chocolate and processed snacks. Though it was a subconscious change, my food choices were a reflection of my progress at the gym. I wanted to choose food that would supplement my hard work at the gym, not hurt the progress I was making. Instead of choosing to work out to burn off the junk I was eating, I chose to combine my efforts at the gym and in the kitchen to make progress at a faster rate.
Besides the physical changes, the most important outcome from my decision to workout regularly has taught me confidence. Being at the gym helps me feel accomplished because I am consistent with my goal and because I achieve a "small-win" that motivates me to go back and give my best effort. As a result, I maintain a routine that allows me to reap these benefits regularly. Each session at the gym boosts my mood and makes me more confident in my abilities which develops a growth mindset that loops in a positive cycle.
I know that I'm not anywhere close to the muscular fitness gods I see at my gym, but everyday, I am getting closer to my goal of being fit and healthy.