Beginning at a very young age, I was always a sporty child. I started dancing at 3, playing basketball at 6, added soccer at 7, and softball at 8; then in junior high, I started volleyball and track. I never liked to slow down, and always had a totally crammed schedule with sports, dancing, and theater groups. Naturally, in high school, I had an athletic body and was able to eat basically anything I wanted and not gain any weight at all. During basketball season, I ate dinner twice most nights, and it never affected me.
During my freshman year of college, I was absolutely terrified of gaining weight and getting out of shape since I no longer had a coach year-round. I spent freshman year teaching myself how to de disciplined without anyone forcing me into the gym six times a week, and I pretty much resented every minute of it. In the beginning, it was easy to make myself workout, especially second semester when I had a few workout buddies who were always willing to drag me out of my loft when I was feeling my laziest.
That second semester, I even took a nutrition class for one of my Freshman Seminars. Not only did I learn that you should eat an array of colors when picking your veggies and that 4 ounces of meat is a whole serving (seriously, blew my mind!), I also learned about the most common reasons for weight gain. In college, the #1 reason for weight gain in men is alcohol consumption, but for women, the #1 reason for weight gain is a busy schedule. I had always been the kind of person who argued that everyone has time for a 30-minute workout 4 times a week if they just make an effort.
Then my second year of college rolled around. I was living on my own and paying all of my own bills for the first time. I was working 40+ hours a week and balancing an 18-hour course load in order to graduate early. That’s when I learned that not everyone can fit a 30 minute workout in 4 times a week, especially when a 30 minute nap seems like it’ll do more good for you than a 30 minute run ever will.
My second year of college, I allowed myself to get more out-of-shape than I’d ever been in my whole life, and now I regret every second of that. During that second year, I maybe worked out a total of 20 times – the whole year!
Over the past month, I’ve made working out a priority for the first time in over a year, and I’ve spent the entirety of the past four weeks hating myself. I used to think that the worst part about not working out on a consistent basis was the gaining weight part of the whole deal, but now I know that it isn’t. Gaining weight is just a crappy side effect. The absolute worst thing about allowing yourself to get out-of-shape is that someday (if you’re like me) you will have to force yourself to get back into shape. And it will be the most anger-inducing, tear-filled, want-to-give-up-so-badly-and-just-be-chubby-forever time in your life.
Just a couple weeks before I decided to get in shape again, my best friend had decided to make the same change (she’s the one who inspired me). So everyday, after my workouts, I wound up texting her about how much I hated myself and how much I wanted to quit. The first week is always the worst. Everything hurts, you can hardly move, and finding the motivation to work out everyday when you feel like your legs literally may fall off your body when you have to climb stairs again is the most intense kind of self-discipline.
I found myself actually yelling out loud at the workout video because it was easier to release my anger through yelling than through the 47 squats in my near future. Sometimes, halfway through, I would have to give myself a pep talk in which I promised myself coffee if I just finished the stinkin’ lunges.
Afterwards, I always messaged my best friend to let her know that I’d actually finished the whole workout; usually, we spent the rest of our nights comparing who was going to die first, but in general, we were both pretty close to death even if our messages were a tad dramatic –
When ab workouts made me feel like I’d rather shove needles in my eyeballs than finish them: “honestly, 6 fat rolls instead of 7 would make me happy at this point.”
When my best friend told me that sometimes she forgets to breathe: “I don’t forget because my lungs are in a constant cycle of reminding me that I could die at any second.”
When she couldn’t even lift her coffee mug to her mouth without at least crying a little bit: “I can’t even do a pushup because I’m weak and my arms are always dying and everything is horrible.”
Today, I’m halfway through the 5th week of working out, and my life has improved 200% from the first week (that’s an actual statistic that I figured out with real math). Over the last month, I’ve vowed to never let myself get that out-of-shape again because if I do, I may never workout another time in my whole life.
I’m a recent University of Iowa graduate who just moved out to the Seattle area. I’m an avid reader, adventure addict, and coffee connoisseur. Also, I like to write sometimes: https://kaellywelsh.wordpress.