Fitness is one of today’s most popular trends. It seems almost everyone is becoming a fitness model or online trainer on Instagram. Everyone has a different motivation for going to the gym. A lot of people want to lose weight. Some want to compete in body building competitions. Others want their “revenge body.” Many people just want to live a healthier lifestyle.
Me? I fell into the fitness trend a bit differently.
The gym is my escape.
Without putting too much of my personal business out there, let’s just say the past couple of years have been filled with a few hardships, things that left me feeling very broken, sad, and alone. Battling with anxiety and fear were constant, and having absolutely zero confidence in myself.
For me, my motivation to work out isn’t going down a pant size or looking “hot.” I am not putting down anyone whose motivation is to look better. But for me, I use the gym as a place where I can channel my pain, and make something good come out of it. I use it as a place to prove to myself what I am capable of.
I wanted to write this post for anyone who might be struggling with depression, anxiety, self-confidence, and fear. If you don’t see a way out, if you can’t imagine the day you escape from these emotions, try the gym.
Literally – lift. Weights. For me, running works too. When I run, I run with my thoughts. I think about the things that are bothering me in my life, and I imagine overcoming them. This is what pushes me to finish, to not give up when I’m tired, and to run as fast as I can.
I could cite scientific evidence that proves how exercising improves mental health, but I thought sharing my personal story of how the gym is helping me overcome those feelings would be more powerful.
Some people might say the gym is just a distraction, and that it doesn’t solve your problems. I’m here to tell you, those people are wrong. What the gym will give you, is empowerment. And confidence. And these two things, are what you need to overcome your problems in life. The same way you prove to yourself you can get stronger physically through lifting weights, you can also prove to yourself you can get stronger mentally.
Through the process of going, you will build from nothing. Parallel the process of going to the gym to your life. At first, you are weak and not able to finish a simple workout. You look around and see weights and machines, but have no idea how to use them or what to do. It feels so challenging, to the point it is discouraging. You look around, and see people much stronger and in better shape than you. The whole experience getting started is overwhelming. This might be how you feel in life. You feel weak emotionally, and depressed. You struggle to get through each day. You feel lost, and don’t know where to turn. You feel like nothing is improving, and some days you just want to give up. You look around, and see happy people smiling and laughing, and wonder how they are so happy.
It is in this moment, where you turn to yourself. When you are tired of feeling sad, you stop making excuses and you stop letting your emotions defeat you. Nobody is going to pull you out from under them, but yourself. When it comes to the gym, it is up to you to show up each day, it is up to you to learn patience, and trust the process. It is about staying committed, and pushing yourself. Even if you slip up a few times, you don’t give up for good. Over time (if you are consistent), you become much stronger, and much faster. The same is true in life. It is ok to feel sad and depressed. It is ok to have anxiety and fear. But eventually, you need to gain control over these emotions, and make the decision that you are going to fight back.
It doesn’t matter if you can’t run a mile, or can only bench the bar. What matters is you start, and you keep going. Prove to yourself that you can start weak, but finish strong. You will have this same confidence in your life. Confront what’s troubling you. Defeat the negative emotions, don’t let them defeat you. Going to the gym, getting stronger, getting faster, is empowering. It will empower you to never give up, to never back down, and to never let your emotions keep you down for too long.