The Gym Is My Second Home

The Gym Is My Second Home

Lifting weights has positively changed my life.

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I used to hate the gym. I thought the gym meant doing endless amounts of cardio to burn away unwanted fat. I would step on the treadmill and hate every single second of my cardio session. I never understood how anyone could possibly enjoy sweating and putting their body through hell, but now I cannot imagine my life without the gym.

After becoming unhappy with how I looked in the mirror, I realized it was time to make a change. A little over a year ago I made one of the best decisions of my life, I got a personal trainer. Through her coaching, I immediately said goodbye to endless hours of cardio and hello to lifting weights.

I'm not sure how I used to spend even more than 30 minutes on the treadmill; it gets so boring so quickly. Staring at a wall or even at a TV screen in front of me for hours was just not something I could stick to. I have learned that the best workout routine is the one that you truly enjoy; if you despise what you're doing, you are far more likely to give up.

Once I discovered the endless possibilities with lifting weights, I became addicted. I never experience boring lifting sessions because I can always switch it up. I can train high reps with lighter weight or low reps with heavier weight. I also love the fact that I can use an endless variety of techniques to work out all the major parts of my body, like back, arms, legs, glutes, and chest.

Since falling in love with lifting, I can easily spend two to three hours at the gym... I guess some might even call me a "gym rat." I'm still shocked that I used to feel so intimidated in the weight area. I would walk over to the weight section of the gym and feel uncomfortable, confused, and scared, then walk back to what I knew, which was the treadmill.

I'm so glad that I was introduced to lifting; now I walk into the weight section with my head held high, a confident smile on my face, and the mindset of knowing that I'm about to crush a lifting session.

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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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If You Take Fitness Advice From Instagram, You're Probably Doing It Wrong

Living a healthy lifestyle really isn't that complicated.

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I lost 90 pounds during my freshman year of high school. Over the years, I've gotten many questions about how I accomplished such a feat and what my secret is. The truth is, I did what any doctor would tell you to do when you ask for weight loss advice. I ate healthy foods, I counted my caloric intake and I worked out regularly doing exercise that I enjoyed.

This seems so simple, but in today's complex society of Instagram fitness gurus and "experts" telling you that the secret to weight loss is wrapping your stomach in a wrap, it's difficult to know who is genuinely trying to give you good advice and who just wants to sell you something. I've fallen prey to these people too, so I know how difficult it is to decipher between sound advice and a sales pitch.

So as you embark on your health and fitness journey, remember that the end goal of any workout regimen or diet plan is to be healthy and increase the longevity of your life. It's about seeing your grandchildren graduate high school and go on to succeed in life while swinging on a porch with your husband or wife of 50 years, all because you took care of yourself instead of eating fast food and drinking every weekend of your 20s. It isn't to have slimmer thighs or a bigger butt, though those are nice benefits. What these people won't tell you is that if you simply eat healthy, exercise regularly and take overall better care of your body, you will see results without having to buy some stupid weight loss tea or crazy diet plan.

Believe me, the journey to being a better and healthier you is worth the consistent effort and work it will take to get there.

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