Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Why I Took A Break From The Gym

When I first moved to Norway the first things my parents wanted me to do is join some kind of social 'club', making it easier for me to make friends. Only a few months after I moved and I was part of a basketball team and it was something that I loved doing. I would spend three to four days a week practicing and one day a week playing games against others teams. For over five years I played basketball but has everyone got older and found new interests, the team sort of collapsed and that was the end of it. Three years ago when I moved to London to study, I quickly realised how much time I suddenly had on my hands. Going from having a full week at college to having only two days of lectures was a huge contrast, and the days quickly become dull. So I decided to see if any gyms were within walking distance of where I then lived and found one within a 10-minute walk. I joined the same day and for six days a week, I was at the gym. This actually surprised me when I thought about it because I never saw myself as being 'sporty' or 'athletic'. I know I had been playing basketball, football, and handball for a few years, but never thought of it as being the 'sporty type'.

In my second year of university, I made the decision to move to Canning Town as I did not want to continue living in halls for another two years. So, on again I went to find a new gym nearby, but this time it was harder. I lacked the motivation to go to the gym and no longer saw the point in it. This time my then flatmate actually had to encourage me to join the gym, and so I did, and by the minute I started working out, the same old routine was back on track. Four days week for 1.5 hours and I loved every minute of it. I loved how it made me feel, how it cleared my head, and how good by body responded to the workout routines I was doing. After a few months, it was as if I lived at the gym but I never really gave much thought to why I had suddenly become more and more 'obsessed' with going to the gym. Looking back now and reviewing my second year, there were a few reasons to why the gym become my second home. First, after moving in with someone I thought was my good friend turned out to be a very unpleasant experience, so all the stress and anxiety was released at the gym. Secondly, my second year at university had to be the toughest year so far! All the assessments and tight deadlines made me feel like a zombie, so hitting the gym after long hours was like going to a therapy session which calmed and distressed my mind.

Fast forward to summer 2016 and back to Norway, I was. Having to work every day for three months, making time to go to the gym was not easy as my work hours could vary quite a bit. So, for three whole months, I didn't go to the gym so when I moved back to London I thought my motivation levels would be sky high, but they were nowhere to be seen. Was I bothered by it? To be honest, not at all and I think that was something that surprised me as I went from going to the gym almost every day to not going at all. I must admit that after a couple of weeks I did start to feel guilty about not being motivated, but when I thought about the reasons I actually went to the gym it all made sense.

I have always been quite self-confident and rarely wish that I looked like a celebrity or Instagram model. Not to say that I don't have any flaws in someone else's eyes, but I love my body and have happy with the way I look, which to me is all that matters. In a world where we daily are bombarded by blogs, magazine covers, and Instagram pictures of women around the world with 'flawless' bodies, hair, and makeup, it isn't easy to feel that 'I am great that way I am'. But this has never been one of the reasons I decided to hit the gym. To me, the gym was a haven I could escape to, a place where my thoughts were silence, and a place where I could improve both mentally and physically. So, when all the stress and anxiety factors were gone from my life, I no longer had a reason to go to the gym. I was happy with the way I looked and I didn't need the gym to distress anymore as I could easily to so my going for a walk or listen to music. It is not to say that I haven't gone back to the gym or never will, but I have by having the right mindset and doing it because I enjoy it. This is something I think a lot of young girls that I have met don't realise that putting time into the gym should be more than just to get 'beach ready' or to look like that girl from Instagram. A healthy and encouraging mindset is so important when working out. You might think that achieving someone else's dream body is going to make you happy, it's not. Because whether you like it or not, you are you, and no matter what lengths you go to, you will never be someone else. So, always do what is best for your and do what feels right for you and you will be happier in every way.


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