I literally didn’t know what I signed up for when I joined my officemates for a session at the gym. I have never been to the gym in my entire 25 years of existence and like many non-“gymmers” I have long held the impression that going to the gym meant dealing with complicated if not heavy equipment along with the judgmental stares of gym rats and other fitness buffs.
And as much as I wanted to get some semblance of fitness into my life (years of a sedentary job that requires a lot of eating—for work, I promise—has a way of transforming the body for the worse, unfortunately), I was just too intimidated to sign up for a gym membership. Not to mention the usual excuse of not having the time nor budget for it.
I also was just too scared to work out (and fail at it) alone. So when Preen’s managing editor Jacque messaged our work chat about a class at Focus Athletics, my curiosity got the better of me and I just had to type out a response: “What kind of class?”
Me and my stupid virtual mouth.
That’s how I ended up on the list for a group workout sesh on a Monday morning. Now as I said, unless you count the mandatory physical education classes from grade school, high school, and college, I’ve never really been to a gym, let alone led an active lifestyle. The most I do is practice some form of yoga through an app (which I don’t even do regularly. I have commitment issues, sorry). So being faced with an actual trainer, being surrounded by all these legit gym equipment, and finally taking out my gym wear out of the depths of my closet, I felt a little terrified.
I soon realized though that the biggest hurdle about going to the gym and working out is getting out of your head. Being a paranoid, anxious little woman, I had the following thoughts running through my mind up until the very moment I stepped into the gym:
What if I faint in the middle of squats, like that time in CAT training? (Cue war flashbacks.)—I didn’t.
Will they judge me for my lousy “push ups”?—They didn’t.
What if I lose my breath early in the routine?—You can take a breather, no problem.
What if I can’t do some of the moves or routines? — No need to push yourself and simply listen to your body.
So yeah. I was overthinking, and you might be, too. After all—okay, cheesy quote time—“everything you want is on the other side of fear.” So I say, don’t knock it till you try it! You’ve only really failed at working out by not working out.
Muscle memory works
If, like me, you have some minimal physical activity/training (app- or video-guided workouts, for example, or even a history of intense training like CAT or ROTC), you can definitely count on your body to get you through the workout.
I found that muscle memory really does work, not only in activities like biking (which I can’t do, by the way. Full disclosure), but also in working out. I haven’t done squats for long periods of time since ten years ago—and quite frankly I thought once I had graduated from cadet training I would never do it again.
And yet there I was in the middle of the gym, hips back, arms outstretched in a squat. And the trainer just passes by and says, “Good form!” Nice.
It’s not just about losing weight
I’ve had friends who’ve been worried about going to the gym mostly because they thought people might judge them for their weight or size.
But working out shouldn’t just be about losing weight. It could be one end, but not the ultimate end of working out. Even our trainer agrees. You should work out to improve your strength and health. Reaching an ideal weight or size is only secondary.
Will I join a gym class again? Maybe. Yes. Um, okay, honestly, maybe only if I had workout friends. But more importantly, am I still scared of the gym? Not anymore.
Focus Athletics has branches in Makati and Alabang. For more information, visit their website.
Photos by Samantha Ong
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