Getting Off the Couch Isn't The Reason I Won't Go To The Gym

Getting Off the Couch Isn't The Only Reason I Won't Go To The Gym

Being a woman at the gym can often feel as if you're a small fish in a sea of sharks.

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The hardest part about working out is getting your ass off the couch to go in the first place.

But oftentimes it's not just our own laziness that's holding us back. In fact, there are many other factors that can feed this hesitation: not knowing how to work machines, being intimidated by number of built regulars, or maybe not even having a way to get there.

A big fear for some of the women (including myself) that regularly go to the gym, is being some creepy sweaty dude's eye candy.

My worst fears came true last week, when I started working out again at one of the on-campus gyms, the Lyon Center. Unlike its newly-built sister gym in the Village, the Lyon Center has a seemingly 6:1 ratio of guys to girls. Yeah- you're practically breathing in testosterone. Regardless, I choose to work out there because they have my preferred equipment and utilities, and it also quite closer to my dorm.

So last week, two men on two separate occasions decided it would be a fabulous idea to ask for my phone number. When these encounters first happened, I initially just brushed it off. But it became an issue when I realized that these incidents made me feel much more vulnerable and uncomfortable during my future gym visits. I also found myself coming up with more and more excuses not to go to the gym.

Whenever I went back, I felt an utmost sense of paranoia. If a guy made prolonged eye contact with me, or if I caught him staring in my direction in my peripherals, I'd feel uneasy. While nothing has happened since I am constantly on edge that something will happen.

Through my newfound gym hyper-awareness, I've also begun to notice how some guys look at other girls at the gym. Or rather, parts of girls. This realization has only made the prospect of the gym more uncomfortable.

All of this has also made me come to realize that there must be a correlation between these disturbing phenomena and the low numbers of women at the gym.

In general, I believe that women are often intimidated by the dominant presence of men in the gym. Not only do men rule in numbers, but also by size. It doesn't make girls any more comfortable that men generally can lift heavier weights, and are also more physically built. Of course, not all men at the gym check out girls out or ask for their numbers. But that doesn't mean that girls don't feel uncomfortable.

The gym is as much of a woman's space as it is a man's. We go there for the same reasons: to get in shape, look better, and feel better. What we don't go there for is to find a lover, or be someone's eye candy. Bringing this issue to light will hopefully make the gym a safer space for everybody. I hope that one day, more girls will feel comfortable enough to traverse their way from the outlying treadmills and ellipticals to the bench presses and squat racks.

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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11 Reasons Why Hiking Should Become A Pivotal Part Of Your Life

It's good for the body and soul.

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I was lucky enough to grow up 10 minutes from a national park. This meant that some of my earliest memories were riding on my dad's shoulders through miles of beautiful trails. As a got older, the simple joy of enjoying the fresh air and getting away from the craziness of life that hiking offered only made me fall in love with it more. Now, whenever I have a rough day or just need a break from stress, the first thing that I want to do is hit the trails.

1. Fresh air

Emily Smith

Being cooped up inside for too long can take a toll on anyone. Being able to get out and breathe the fresh air and feel the sun shining can instantly boost anyone's mood!

2. Exercise

Emily Smith

Hiking is a great way to get those extra steps in, and many areas have different paths you can take depending on your fitness level.

3. No electronics

Emily Smith

I am so guilty of going on my phone way too much. Being outdoors allows a break from social media and time to focus on being in the moment and enjoying the amazing world we live in.

4. Scenery

Emily Smith

Hiking allows us to see some of the most gorgeous untouched pieces of nature. It is hard to not be amazed by how beautiful our earth is.

5. Vitamin D

Emily Smith

There is nothing that a little bit of sun can't cure. Being outside in the sun not only gives you a nice summer glow, but it can be so beneficial to our health! Vitamin D helps boost our immune system and gives us energy.

6. Way more fun than going to the gym

Emily Smith

Going to the gym and using the treadmill and other machines provide a workout but can become more of a chore than fun after a while. Hikes are an amazing workout that hardly feels like a chore. So, the next time you are getting tired of the same old routine at a smelly gym, think about taking a hike instead.

7. Stress reliever

Emily Smith

Being out in nature can be such a great break from the "real world."

8. Great way to spend time with friends

Emily Smith

The next time you don't know what to do with your friends, consider going on a hike! There are so many fun things to do, like bring a picnic or watch the sunset. It's a great way to switch up your typical routine of watching T.V. or Netflix.

9. Perfect way to exercise with dogs

Emily Smith

Instead of taking your dog around the neighborhood, switch it up and take them on a hike! It's a great workout for them, and oftentimes, a lot more enjoyable than the daily neighborhood route.

10.  It's free!

Emily Smith

What more needs to be said? Free fun is hard to come by nowadays, so going on a hike can help your bank account too!

11.  It's fun!

Emily Smith

What's not to love about the endless ways to enjoy hiking?

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