“I learnt to love working out in my 20s. Fitness and high intensity training can often feel like an elite club, reserved for skinny influencers or 200 pound body builders. And, in fact, there is an entire industry based on making women feel shitty so they feel like they need to exercise. As I’ve grown older I have reframed my mind-set to form a positive relationship with exercise that has allowed me to form habits that stick rather than using low self-confidence to force me into working out.
When I was in my teens, I mostly viewed exercise as a way to lose weight and so it quickly became tied to my negative body image. I always felt like the athletic people at school were just built for exercise in a way that I would never be and for this reason, I shouldn’t try because I would never be as good as them. It felt like truly enjoying physical exercise just wasn’t on the cards for me.
The first time I came out of the gym feeling excited to go back was when I started attending yoga classes. Feeling so in tune with my mind and body gave me this sense of peace and positivity that I began to crave daily. I would wake up excited to go to my 9am yoga class and by the afternoon I was already planning the next one because it just felt so good to be full of serotonin and energy. So, if you are in a rut with exercise, I would definitely recommend trying out a load of different activities and finding something that lights that spark inside you.
The more comfortable I got practicing yoga frequently, the more adventurous and confident I grew to challenge myself. My love for yoga inspired me to reform my relationships with other types of exercise and things that I thought I hated. Last year, I started pushing myself to go running for the first time since the bleep test in high school, where I would literally scratch the CD before the teacher came into the sports hall just to avoid doing it. Instead of viewing it as a punishment, I gradually grew to hate it less and now I put on a banging playlist and run around my park feeling so proud of the progress I have made.
Obviously I’m still human and I still have my good days and bad days when it comes to self-confidence but I now consider working out as integral to my happiness and wellbeing. Instead of comparing myself and seeking out unattainable weights, I am building strength, physical fitness and power. I think exercising is empowering for women for many reasons but the idea of harnessing power is what resonates with me the most. Every day that I work on my fitness, I am challenging my mind to reach further, to not give up and to push past mental blocks that held me back from working towards my full potential. I think that the act of training your mind like any other muscle in your body is what allows you to grow resilient and what helps you thrive in life.”
Thank you from the Humans of HIIT community for sharing your story!