I have always considered myself “physically fit”. By no means do I have rock hard abs or a perfect lifted butt, but somehow fitness has always found a way to nudge itself into my life. I danced for eleven years, played basketball and tennis for two, then when high school ended and the notorious “freshman 15” was floating around in my head, I decided to hit the gym.
You either love it or you hate it, and I couldn’t get enough. What sparked my addiction was kickboxing and I was literally hooked. I was able to punch and kick a bag as hard as I wanted without being judged? I’m in. Before I knew it, I could actually start to see myself gain muscle, different muscles compared to when I danced, I felt strong.
Since I was on such a fitness hype, I wanted to try nearly everything I could. I decided to drop into a Zumba class, taught by the same kickboxing instructor. At this point, Zumba was a rising form of exercise, combining latin dances with high intense cardio, I knew I would be a pro, I danced.
Zumba was the perfect fit for me (like I didn’t already predict that). So, for my first few years at school I was attending back to back classes, each an hour. I don’t know the exact moment it happened but I changed. I was no longer enjoying myself, I had pushed my physical and mental state too far.
If I missed a work out, I would feel guilty. Reflecting on it now, that’s insane! I felt guilty for not exercising?! I became obsessed with the scale, constantly counted calories and would even miss going out with friends because I was afraid indulging would make me gain copious amounts of weight. I no longer felt strong but weak, something was obviously wrong.
Then, I made one of the best and hardest decisions I had ever made, I took a break from the gym. I pressed pause on my fitness life and focused on my mental health.
Can’t say it didn’t pay off. I just finished one of my final semesters with a 3.85 GPA, I gained control over my emotions and overall feel happier the past few months. I can now firmly say, I am ready to go back, but this time it will be different.
Leaving the gym gave me a whole new perspective:
I have more time to myself . “Me time” is crucial and I now know to incorporate this time into my life. I learned to enjoy my own company, fitness isn’t everything, it’s important but not worth risking my metal state for.
I miss it. Leaving has made me miss the gym incredibly. I actually jumped back on the band wagon a few weeks ago and have never felt better.
Motivation. Not going to lie, I no longer feel physically strong, I am not out of shape but I am definitely not toned like I used to be. I have more motivation to get my physical strength as strong as my mental strength.
For me, I was lucky, I was able to see what I was doing to my body and put a stop to it. My strength grew out of my own weakness. I knew somehow fitness would nudge it’s way back to me, like it always has.