My Gym Story

My first job was at a gym daycare. I watched the kids of members who were working out. At the time, it was my first year in community college, and I declared my major as Early Childhood Education. This was a great first job in the childcare field. However, it seemed so ironic that of all places, it was a freakin’ gym. It was almost embarrassing to tell people that I worked at a gym. I would quickly follow up with, “But watching the kids!”

My coworkers consisted of personal trainers and gym enthusiasts. And then… there was me. Don’t get me wrong though, I made friendships with some old coworkers that are friendships for life! But it really seemed like I was the only one who wasn’t about that gym life. So… I tried to be about that gym life 🤦🏻‍♀️.

When I first got the job, I was fresh out of a toxic relationship. The gym really helped me cope and deal with my inner turmoil. I used my anger and hate to fuel myself for working out. My inner demons and insecurities were my own personal preworkout. I was listening to aggressive “fuck you” type of rap break up songs, and embraced the anger inside of me.

I worked out everyday after my shift. It felt good to be care-free and dealing with the breakup in a “healthy” way. I started working out with my sister and my friends. It was like a new hobby. I dropped weight, this time without starving myself. But sometimes it was really forced. I felt like I was working out to fit in with my coworkers and felt like everyone’s eyes at the gym were on me, because I worked there and was totally not fit.

Even though I was working out consistently, I was embarrassed to do workouts out in the open. You know that feeling when you feel like all eyes are on you, and people are judging your every move? That’s exactly how I felt/feel. To this day I still feel insecure to do lunges out in the open! It’s so dumb because in reality, most people aren’t even paying attention to you, and pretty much don’t care if your form is wrong, etc. But we believe that this is the case, that all eyes are on us and we’re secretly the butt of somebody’s joke.

When I met my boyfriend and we started dating, I didn’t care too much about the gym anymore and just wanted to hangout 24/7. I lost some of my motivation to workout because now I was happy. Remember, I was using my hate and breakup as motivation for revenge body mentality, and after almost a year of that, I finally met someone who made me happy. It’s like I lost motivation for the gym because I wasn’t angry anymore. My only source of motivation was my anger, and with time, when my anger faded, so did my interest in working out.

But I look back at how I was back then, and when I wouldn’t workout, I would beat myself up about it. I would workout, then fall off for a bit, then get in the habit of working out again, then fall off. I was never consistent for long periods of time, and I always beat myself up over it. When I didn’t see progress fast enough, I gave up. When I was feeling shitty about myself, I would give up. When I didn’t go to the gym after consistently going, I would beat myself up over it and make myself feel bad. At times working out would feel like a chore. Like I knew I had to do it and I just wish it would be over with.

It’s so crazy because before meeting me, Christian was all about the gym and hardcore working out. And since we’ve been together, he kind of fell off the wagon for a bit, because we spend so much time together. But now, he’s finding his way back to the gym again, trying to get back to how he used to workout before he met me. And I’m all for it. I know it makes him happy and I know working out has always been an outlet for him. But what I love about him is that he encourages me to workout with him, because he knows I want those booty gains, but doesn’t put me down or make me feel bad if I don’t want to workout – whether that be a week straight or 3 months straight. He’s supportive of anything I choose. He’s hard on himself about being consistent in the gym, but never puts those standards on me. I’ve gained weight since we’ve first got together, and when I’m feeling insecure he always reassures me that he doesn’t care what weight I’m at. Bigger or smaller, I know he’ll accept me no matter what size. And that’s a breath of fresh air to feel secure.

In the past, working out was an outlet to release anger and hate. Then it became a chore. I was kind of over people telling me how to workout. I mean I’m all for tips, but you’d be amazed how many people believe you should take their unsolicited advice and their routine is the best routine.

It took a few years, but I think I found my balance. Its not always a consistent balance, but I’ve come to a place where I enjoy working out. For no one else but me. If I’m at the gym, chances are I’m 100% doing cardio and booty workouts. And I’m no longer fueled by anger, or forcing myself to workout, but more so as an outlet to relieve stress. And I’m also aware that I’m only getting older and there’s no shame in being body positive but still striving to be healthier. I no longer beat myself up for not being consistent. There’s times where I’m consistent, and then there’s times when I’m not. And either way, it’s okay! I can go a month or 2 without working out and still bounce back. I’m no longer going to make working out a chore, but more so make it a positive experience for myself where I want to workout and want to be consistent. But if for whatever reason I fall off the wagon and stop working out for a period of time- that’s ok too.

Don’t let other people tell you how you should stay active. It’s like that once commercial where this lady is trying yoga, the gym, and all these other forms of activity, and she’s just not feeling it. And then she finds her fitness niche, and it was taking walks around the neighborhood. Different things work for different people.

Before I wanted to skinny and petite. Now I want to be strong, lift heavy, and grow this peach 🍑. I’m not scared to be quad-zilla. These Cabillo-calves can get more buff and it is what it is. I also learned that I can’t pick and choose the body parts I want. If I’m working on butt workouts all the time, I should expect my thighs to get thicker as well. And I should love my body at any stage. Thick thighs, fat ass, flat ass, you name it.

My gym journey has been a rollercoaster, but I’m happy I’m at a place where I am content and at peace with my routine. No longer am I obsessing and beating myself up over working out. Anger and hate used to fuel me. And now, working out is my stress reliever. A workout to me now is an act of self-care, as I juggle all these things in my life.

Find your balance 🏋🏻‍♀️

The Workout

Chris Barous is a Skyline student that frequently works out at the gym. His love for fitness originated after the break up with his long time girlfriend.

After Chris’s deployment in the Army, he moved to the Bay Area to be with his girlfriend. He left everything he knew in Florida, the place where he grew up. Chris told me that he didn’t know anyone else in the Bay Area besides his girlfriend, who then turned into his ex girlfriend.

Chris thought the gym would be a great outlet to let out all of his stress and get his mind off of the break up. He thought the first step would be to work on his appearance, to build his self confidence again.

Working out not only makes him feel good health wise, but also on the outside. He stays and works out at the gym on average from 1-2 hours everyday.

One word of advice that Chris had to offer me was: “Don’t move anywhere for anyone. Make sure it’s for you and not just for the other person. Don’t make the same mistake I did.”