What I Learned, Earned, Lost, and Gained By Finding a Gym I Love

By Jenny Steadman January 3, 2020

In December 2018, I walked into a new gym for the first time and tried out my first 45-minute camp. I was quickly sold on not only the style of the workout, but the overall community feel of the gym. I showed up the next day, and the next, and the next... and I haven't looked back since. 

Now it is December 2019. Twelve months have passed and everything has changed.

What I've learned:

  • That I can do everything. Maybe not today, but I sure can work towards a goal and reach it. 
  • That I can find 45 minutes for myself almost every day. 
  • How to work out safely.
  • To trust myself to try new things and to trust the trainers when they know I'm ready. 
  • How to eat productively to boost a weight-training or cardio workout.
  • That numbers are simply that, numbers. The number on the scale is my gravitation pull on the earth and inches measured are the amount of physical space I take up. These numbers do not define me, hold me back, or give value to my life as a person.
  • That by taking care of myself, I am teaching those around me - including my children - that it's OK for them to take time to do the same. 
  • That it's OK to work hard and it's also OK to take a break. 

What I've earned:

  • Pride. I am proud of the hard work I do and proud of the gains I have made physically and mentally. 

What I've lost:

  • Numbers are an easy answer. I've lost 6 pounds, 8.5 inches, and 2.3 percent body fat. But, those numbers aren't very staggering when it comes to a whole year dedicated to fitness, are they? What those numbers don't show is that I've gone down at least one size in all of my clothes, if not two. They don't show my taller posture or clearer mind. They don't show that I can do a chin-up unassisted, throw a 25-pound weight around, or that I can eat burpees for breakfast. 
  • The need to rely on a scale and the number it displays. I have lost the need to chastise myself when I eat certain foods. I have lost the desire to look in the mirror and pick out all of the things I hate about myself. Instead, I look at myself and smile. If I find an outfit unflattering, I've lost the ability to blame my body. It's the fault of the clothes and has nothing to do with me. 

What I have gained:

  • The obvious answers are muscle, strength, and new skills. But there is so much more.
  • A community of like-minded gym buddies who have quickly become friends, who I socialize with outside of the gym. No one cares that we are different ages, from different neighborhoods, or at different points in our lives. We support one another unconditionally. 
  • Self-respect. This is hard for me to come to terms with because I have always respected myself as a person, but I now respect my body. I appreciate what it can and cannot yet do, on any given day. I admire its ever-changing shape, while some parts shrink, other parts grow. Our bodies are a wonder. I've gained the ability to work with mine, not fight against it. 

I want this for you. Whatever is holding you back, whatever preconceived notions you have about yourself and/or trying something new, I want you to put that all aside and wonder, "what can I do if I just try?" The hardest part is walking in the door. Once you do, and you find a community that works for you, there is no turning back. So, where do you start? Start looking online at programs in your area and talk to your friends, co-workers, family... anyone who may be able to point you in a direction! Or maybe you've had your eye on something but haven't had a chance to check it out. Now is the time! Let's show 2020 who is the boss!