Everyone has the right to better his or her body, and to feel strong, capable and confident regardless of where they are in their fitness journey. So why, when I walk in to the gym, the mecca of people seeking to become better versions of themselves, don’t I feel like there is a place for me? Why don’t I feel like I belong?
As a plus sized woman, I’ve never really felt at home in the gym. I happen to be pretty athletic, and enthusiastic about fitness. I know my way around the equipment well enough, and I usually show up with a plan and work hard. I show up to workout, just like everyone else there….so why don’t I feel like I’m part of the club?
Belonging in the fitness world?
Maybe it’s from the long list of bad experiences that ranged from slightly awkward, to uncomfortable, to just plain awful. There were the trainers whose assumptions about my capabilities, goals and motivations made me feel like I was a failure; like I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. There was the feeling of judgment as I bumbled through a new exercise and struggled to get it. I wanted to feel welcomed, invited, encouraged and what I got was just the opposite.
There wasn’t a trainer I ever felt really comfortable working with. The classes weren’t designed for my body and where I was in my fitness journey. I just felt like there was nothing for me at the gym. So I didn’t go. I put off fitness because I didn’t feel like I belonged in the fitness world.
Mind your own fitness
When I was blessed with my daughter, everything changed. It forced me to evaluate my attitude towards my body and my life. How much of my life had I spent battling against my body instead of embracing it? How much time did I waste focusing on all the things I wasn’t, or used to be, instead of focusing and building on all of the wonderful things I already am. I knew that my daughter was doomed to repeat those same patterns, unless I taught her a different way to view health, fitness, strength and her body.
I knew that in a few short years, like it or not, she was going to be exposed to these fitness stereotypes and unless I actively intervened, she would spend her life holding herself up to and comparing herself to those beauty standards, never quite feeling good enough. The mindset change had to begin with me.
Courageous enough to hit the gym
It takes courage to begin working out. As you attempt new things with your body, you open yourself up to the disappointment that comes when you start to realize your physical limitations: things you thought your body could do that it doesn’t, and the things you used to do that just don’t happen anymore. Don’t let that stop you. Don’t let that discourage you. Adapt your movements, adjust your mindset and keep on moving forward.
Fitness is for you
Contrary to what the fitness industry would have you believe with their images of young, scantily clad babes with shredded abs and bulging biceps, true strength, health and fitness comes in all shapes, sizes and ages. You can be strong and capable at any age and any size. You have the right to love and respect your body for where it is right now, and for what it can do right now. You have to believe that fitness is for you and that it can work for you. It will make you a better you. It doesn’t have to be a reminder of everything you can’t do anymore, or of things you wish you could do, but aren’t there yet.
If you have ever walked into a gym and thought, “I don’t belong here,” it’s not you. It’s not your fault. So many gyms are set up to cater to one type of athleticism, to one type of goal. It’s the fitness industry that pushes people away from fitness!
For most of us, our motivation to be healthy is much more than a desire to just “lose weight” or get a “bikini body”. We want to be able to get down on the ground and play with our kids and grandkids.
We want to have the energy to get through our day with something left in the tank.
We want to be capable and independent as we age and travel when we retire. It’s about the positive effects on your quality of life! Fitness opens up so many doors for us to grow and enjoy our lives in new ways! Fitness is for you, no matter who you are or where you are. You belong.
At Strand Fitness – you always belong!
Contact Pam (630-653-8152; firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule your complimentary, no-obligation fitness consultation. Get the energy you need for your day to day and feel good while keeping up with fitness!
Strand Fitness is a personal training studio in Downtown Wheaton, serving Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Winfield, & Chicago Western Suburbs. To learn more about how Strand Fitness can help you reach your fitness goals, contact Pam (630-653-8152) and schedule your free fitness consultation.
You can also learn more about our fitness solutions here: Fitness Solutions