When I started my 'fitness journey' it was definitely to lose weight. I've already talked about my own body confidence issues and how I struggled when I first started exercising but through exercising more I changed my priorities. Exercise for me today isn't what it was a couple of years ago, I don't do it for aesthetics anymore and I don't think you should either.
Don't get me wrong, if you are one of those people that have chiseled abs that could cut apples or look like a Greek God -that's fine- and if that's what you want to do I'm not here to judge. I know how much motivation and dedication that takes to do and honestly kudos. My point is that there are so many reasons to exercise and maybe trying to look like someone else isn't the most important reason to do so.
Especially with the rise of social media and influencers, we're often bombarded with "how to look like this person" or "workouts to get you abs" or "how to get shredded in 30 days" but what about if we started exercising for a different purpose than to look good in a bikini for one month then go back to our old self because these plans are unsustainable?
I used to exercise because I wanted to look a certain way, I wanted a flat stomach and teeny tiny thighs but now I exercise because I love to feel strong.
I could never aspire to have the rock hard abs because I love too many things. I love wine and cake and chocolate. Guaranteed if you put a rack of ribs in front of me it will be demolished with absolutely no remorse, same with any form of chips or tortillas, or a glass (bottle) of wine.
Honestly, I don't want to give them up so that people can gawk at my abs and compliment me on them, I also love making memories and would rather go out with my friends than be in the gym. I would rather start stories with, "this one time I was so drunk I got turned away from the club and broke into first year flats" or "I was so drunk my friend had to crawl on the club floor to find my heel" rather than "this one time, I had abs" (both true stories, by the way, may elaborate one day, probably won't).
The point is, yes the gym is fun, having a great body is fun, but there is much more to life than the way you look.
I work out about 5/6 times a week so I'm not bashing on the gym, I'm saying there's an array of reasons to exercise. Personally, I love the feeling of exercising and improving myself. There's nothing better than finishing a spin class and being drenched in sweat but feeling like you accomplished something or upping weights and feeling yourself getting stronger. I can now lift my body weight which I would never be able to do when I was exercising for weight loss and not fuelling my body properly.
I also get energy from exercise and clarity, it really is therapeutic if you're having a bad day and I genuinely enjoy it (90% of the time), I just blast my headphones and get lost in it, I'm actually one of those annoying people that ends up singing to themselves on the treadmill. If you ever see me in the gym, feel free to join, I can always use a dance partner, just be aware that my music taste is questionable... I almost always revert back to the Mamma Mia soundtrack or Spotify's 80's workout playlist.
I would be lying to you if I said that it isn't good to see your body transform and that I don't get self-conscious and wish there were areas of myself that were flatter or more toned but whenever I find myself complaining about myself I'll go and deadlift and remind myself of my body's capability. I don't have the worlds best body but I know that I'm strong and I know that I'm healthy and I know that I'm happy. I've taken my friends to the gym before and whenever they say "you're so strong" it feels a million times better than "you're so skinny" because it's more of an achievement.
Also, I think people place way too much encouragement in the idea of feeling better once you're thinner, I've already written about this so feel free to check out my ideas on that in my other article but it's way more fun to be strong than to fit societies narrative of beauty. My friends, family, and boyfriend don't love me because of the way that I look and I would be genuinely offended if they did- I would like to think I have way more attributes that make me fun to be around.
The point is, fitness is about much more than aesthetic "goals", it's about clarity of mind, self-improvement, finding a hobby! It doesn't even have to be the gym, per say, I know that for some people the idea of a spin class or weights sounds like torture…but there is so much to get involved with, group classes, running clubs, walking with your friends, sports, it's about finding what you enjoy.
Yes, there's going to be days when you can't be arsed, lord knows there have been times I've walked into a gym, picked up a weight, thought, "nope" walked home and ate an entire bag of candy. That's going to happen. And the pain after you first start will feel like someone's set your entire body on fire but I promise you, in the long run, it's so worth it, because of how you feel not look.
So, grab your headphones, pick your favourite Mamma Mia song and go at it- or sit on the couch and eat Cheetos, honestly whatever makes you feel good.