A Year of Fitness

A year of fitness Pure Gym South Leeds
As my gym kindly reminded me that I’d been a member for a grand total of one year (apparently all I was getting was an email, not an anniversary present), I thought I’d write a post about the things I’ve learnt in my first year a gym member.

I’ve had gym memberships in the past at a fair few different gyms. Despite not having a fantastic relationship with exercise growing up (being the fat kid in PE was never going to be a joy), as an adult, it’s not something I’ve avoided completely. But as the last year has actually changed my attitude towards exercise, this post is a little list (as we all know how much I love lists), of what I’ve learnt. Enjoy :)

1. Learning to not be self-conscious is the hardest part. When I first started, I covered up as much as I possibly could because I felt like if I turned up in a vest and lycra leggings everyone would stare at me. In actual fact, nobody gives a shit what you’re wearing, how much you’re sweating or what level you’re working out at. It took me until I’d been a member for over 6 months before I wore a vest and leggings and I soon realised that I looked no different.

2. There are no comparisons to be made. Nobody in a gym is someone you can compare yourself to as everyone is really different – likewise, everyone has different goals. It took me a long time to realise that it’s unrealistic to compare my chapter one to someone else’s chapter twenty.

3. Asking for help is a good thing. In the past, I’ve always felt too embarrassed or self conscious to seek out advice, but when I joined Pure I decided that as I was pretty clueless about exercise, that having a personal trainer would be beneficial. Admittedly, I know I’m in a privileged position to be able to have that kind of luxury, but weekly sessions over the past year has kept me focused and taught me one hell of a lot.

4. Lifting weights doesn’t make you bulk. Before I started PT sessions, I was of the opinion that every girl who lifts weights will bulk, lifting weights is for men and the only way to get good results is by doing cardio. Yes, I know, let’s all laugh at that now. Lifting weights doesn’t make women bulk and actually, the style of weights training I do has changed my shape to tighten my waist and has made me curve in the right places. So there’s that.

This top is current season and from Primark. FYI.

5. Working out by yourself is hard to get the hang off. It’s taken me until the last few months to pluck up the courage enough to put routines together and get into the gym to do them by myself. Again, this is something that’s come from having both my sister (who’s like an exercise-y cheerleader for me) and my PT teaching me different exercises and workouts that I can complete by myself.

6. The weights room isn’t just for men. When I first began to lift weights, I had zero confidence with it but practice makes perfect. It wasn’t just getting the exercise that I was learning, it was things like setting up a bar, getting the right weights, putting the clips on it (the struggle is real) and putting it all away whilst in a room full of massive blokes. Now I’ve done it so many times it’s second nature and the last thing I’m bothered about is being the only girl in the weights room.

This is my deadlift PB - 107.5kg.

7. Having an open mind is key. I’ve tried so many new exercise styles in the last year it’s unreal and I’m still learning. Only last week I tried a class and left hating it so much that I burst into tears on the way home (that wasn’t a good day), yet this week I did a PT session which incorporated boxing that I absolutely loved. It’s swings and roundabouts.

8. Strong not skinny. After being reminded by my PT, Dom, on more than a few occasions that being slim doesn’t automatically make someone fit, strong or healthy, I realised that ‘skinny’ isn’t something I should be aiming for whereas fit, strong and healthy are. Obvs being ‘skinny’ is fine if that’s your natural body type or the way you want to be, but personally, my mindset has changed. My goals have stopped being entirely centred around being ‘skinny’, and I’ve come to realise losing weight is a bi-product of a better lifestyle.

9. Some people in gyms are twats. #SorryNotSorry. Whether it’s people who go and take a shitload of selfies in-between sets or guys who rock up in a hat and a hoody (just, why?!), there will always be people around who are there for reasons other than to work out. I guess if you’re paying to be there, why not? Oh no, wait.

10. You can wear makeup to the gym. Hairspray to the face and no matter how sweaty you get, your eyebrows are still intact. Life skill right there.

What do you think of everything I’ve learnt? Think I’ve missed out anything? Let me know in the comments :)

1 comment

  1. Fab post and well done for sticking with it! :)
    I can completely relate to all your points. When my friend wrote in the squat rack and weighted leg press into my training plan, I freaked out, as that meant I had to go into the 'manly' section.. the leg press didn't really bother me, but the thought of squatting in front of a mirror AND blokes still daunts me a little, but I just get on with it. As one male friend said, it probs makes them more insecure than you and them looking at what your doing.lol
    I've always worked out by myself. In younger years I went with a friend now and then, but it became more of a mothers meeting and catch up than workout. However, now I'm there to train. I know people in the gym and chat and say hi before, after or briefly during sets, but its generally just a nod or 'hi' of acceptance.
    I too had the misconception of lifting. However, this is something that I'm totally fine with and if I do bulk a little that's OK too. I'm definitely team #strongnotskinny