Editorial Notebook

How working out changed my life

We all have that one activity that keeps us sane when work or school gets difficult. For some, it might be baking. Others might find comfort in an instrument. Some people choose to journal or meditate. For me, that activity is going to the gym and strength training.

When some people think of working out, they grumble and groan. They dread that hour they force themselves to spend on the treadmill, or that workout class they waited too long to back out of. Earlier in my life, I have been that person. I tried time and time again to get into working out, dreading every minute I forced myself to spend in the gym. Now, my perspective has entirely changed and there is nothing more I look forward to than my daily workout.

I was introduced to the idea of working out, specifically strength training, because I was involved in sports. In middle school, I looked forward to it every single day. I found I excelled at it and I liked the challenge it offered. I liked improving and getting new personal records, or “PRs,” for different exercises. However, as I started high school, my opinions about working out changed. I began comparing myself and my body to others around me and my focus shifted. I wanted to lose weight and be thin instead of challenging myself and getting stronger. My performance declined rapidly in the sports I played, and I ended up quitting them altogether after high school. Through my freshman year of college, I continued to struggle with my eating habits, motivation to work out, and mental health in general. I started to see my grades decline but had no energy to put in the work to improve them. When I returned home after my second semester, I knew I had to make changes in my life.

Since I had an obscene amount of free time on my hands, I started going to the gym. Slowly, that old love I had as a 13 year old girl came back and I started to look forward to my lifting sessions every day. By the end of the summer, it became an integral part of my daily routine. In addition to my progress in the gym, I progressed as a person. My mental health improved by leaps and bounds, and I felt so much more productive. Last semester, I would not have woken up on a Sunday until about 2 pm. This past Sunday, I woke up at 8 am, cleaned my room, and studied all before my previous self would have woken up. While this may seem like just a simple change to a simple routine, it means a lot to me. I had the energy and the motivation to start my day instead of spending it in bed like I had times before.

I know that going to the gym and lifting is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. Each person is different. Each person has their own activities that they look forward to everyday. I encourage everyone out there to find that part of their daily life, and relish it. School is stressful, and there is absolutely no shame in taking time out of your busy schedule to do a little something you love every day.