One Year of a Gym Membership

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I hope you have found something that excites you, motivates you, and keeps you active. I know the gym isn’t for everyone. It hasn’t always been my first choice to stay active. A year ago, I decided I wanted to try to run a longer race and maybe even lose some more weight. I joined a gym and started strength training. In the past year, I haven’t lost any weight according to the scale but I have lost inches and ½ of a shoe size?! It has been a year of learning about what my mind and body can do, how to be persistent and resilient, learning when to rest and when to push through, and being supportive of anyone who does anything active.

“We generate fears when we sit. We overcome them by action.”    Dr. Henry Link

Lessons Learned

  • Being stronger builds focus and confidence throughout your day. When I started I quickly realized I couldn’t do a sit-up and could barely do a pushup. I can now do V sit-ups and decline pushups. I have kept up the strength training because I am stronger and faster and the consistent workouts keep me more balanced and focused. I have shifted the focus away from trying to lose weight and focus now on giving 100% to each workout and then doing my best to give 100% to everything else going on in my day.
  • Resilience is learned. Sometimes my body wants to quit (particularly with anything that uses my triceps). Sometimes my mind says stop. Sometimes my lungs scream stop. Every minute of a workout is a series of decisions. Every workout I have to decide if I am going to quit or keep going. Some days I have to remind myself I am capable of so much more than I used to be. Sometimes I have to remind myself to take a deep breath and try again.
  • You can use gym equipment without knowing how to pronounce it correctly. Gym equipment is less intimidating and menacing than I thought. There are a lot of great resources and websites out there to help you figure out how to use things like a Bosu ball, TRX ropes, medicine balls, boxes, and pretty much anything you see at a gym. I will be highlighting some of my favorites this year in future blogs (and maybe even a vlog or two).
  • I found out like lifting weights. In the last six months, I have worked more on weight lifting techniques than other types of fitness. I can do a clean, deadlift, squat and all sorts of other movements like skull crushers and one-handed rows. I still can’t believe I own a pair of weightlifting gloves. I never thought I would be that person at the gym. People who lift weights seem intimidating and terrifying. But I have learned that most people who lift weights are not the person you think they are. Most of them are there to workout, have a routine, and want to be left alone.
  • Sometimes it is best not to fight your body. There is usually more than 1 way to perform most movements. I used to do a lot of burpees but my hips don’t have great flexibility. So I have had to modify them. I still work hard but I feel like I am working out, not trying to contort myself into positions that don’t work for me.
  • I still sweat a lot. I thought that if I got stronger and faster I would sweat less. Ha Ha. Some days I am dripping sweat from every part of my body. Going to the gym has been about pushing myself as hard as I can and walking out feeling exhausted but proud. So if you have something that makes you do that- keep it up and then make sure you hydrate afterward!
  • Other people can push me harder than I push myself. I have worked with a trainer part of the year. It is amazing what I have attempted to do because someone else thinks I can – even though I am pretty convinced I will die trying.  In the beginning, my goal was literally to be able to finish a workout without collapsing on the floor/turf/yoga mat. This past month I have been doing box jumps. It was a pretty incredible feeling the first time my feet land squarely on the box.
  • My weakest parts have to work the hardest. This has been a fascinating lesson. I sprained my left ankle about 10 years ago and this year has taught me how weak it is and how much harder it has to work every time I do something active. Every time I add weight, change the number of reps, change the form on an activity, or try something new, my ankle is so sore. It is getting stronger. I still can’t do certain yoga poses balancing on my left foot. But I am more grounded on the other poses.

I plan on continuing to go to the gym. I can’t do a pull up on my own and that is probably next on the list. I am going to a sprint spin class with a friend this week. I have a 10 mile race coming up next month. This Fall, my husband and I will be doing some hiking out west. I don’t know what is next after that but I am going to make sure that my body and mind are ready for the adventures. And for now, that means I will keep going to the gym.


You might also like:

My Strength Training Success Story

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17 thoughts on “One Year of a Gym Membership

  1. Awesome! And just so you know, many of us actually sweat more and more, the more fit we are! I forget the real science of it, but it has something to do with your body better recognizing when you start to heat up with exercise, so it automatically goes into that cooloff mode.

  2. Hi Sarah, I love your story and it is motivating me to not go to the gym but to head upstairs to my treadmill for a bit each day. I needed to hear what you said! Thank you and keep up the great work!

  3. Thank you for encouraging me to go back to my boot camp and stop procrastinating and making excuses. Yay you!

    1. Valerie- Go for it! I know I had to change my schedule around some to make it work but any workout you get in anywhere is a good thing. Bootcamp is intense! Have a great workout!

  4. Thanks for sharing, Sarah! You are a real inspiration. I’ve been “toying” with the idea of a gym membership and reading this has tipped the balance even more in favor of actually pursuing that idea. I’m old but sitting isn’t making me younger, and since I want to be stronger and healthier, now is my time! Thanks again.

    1. Dianna- my biggest piece of advice is that most people working out aren’t looking at you and judging you so don’t stress out about that. Go into the gym and focus on you and your goals! The gym staff should be friendly and show you how to use equipment when you need help.

  5. So awesome! Thank you, this motivates me to continue on my journey. I’ve also had to remind myself to not watch the scale, but how I feel, how my clothes fit/how I look in them.

    1. It can be frustrating! But working hard and seeing success in other ways can be just as motivating!

  6. Way to go, Sarah! The confidence that comes with challenging ourselves in fitness has immeasurable impact on our lives. After 17 years lifting and eventually becoming a personal trainer, I’ll tell you it still gets better. I love the positive attitude and goal setting; it’s so inspiring! Keep it up =)

    1. Reggie- thanks for the encouragement! I have a lot more respect for anyone who lifts now! Thanks for helping others along their journey.

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