By Kristen Frohlich
Social Media Editor
This semester, I became the person I never thought I would be — the person who actually goes to the gym almost every day.
I have always been insecure about my body. I am fortunate to have never struggled with my weight, but I feel as though I am constantly defined by my lack of muscle and naturally-thin physique. I decided that I wanted to gain muscle mass with the help of one of my friends, a fitness enthusiast who exercises frequently.
Before my first day at the gym, I was overwhelmed with anxiety and began to wonder if I could actually follow through with my plan. I knew I wasn’t very strong and probably would not be able to lift weights. I also assumed I would not know how to use the equipment or follow along with my friend’s workout regimen.
After my first trip to the gym, I learned that my anxiety was unwarranted. The gym is a judgement-free environment, and I didn’t feel like anyone was staring at me, which was one of my biggest fears. I realized that everyone is there for themselves — no one was focusing on what I was doing.
When I told my friends that I was finally getting into exercising, I received both positive and negative comments. While many of my female friends were supportive, some of my male friends said that I was not strong enough to work out at the gym, or that I shouldn’t be sore because I only lifted fifteen-pound weights — and these comments were very upsetting.
I am well aware of my lack of strength — it is the reason I started going to the gym in the first place. No one starts off lifting massive weights, and while my starting place might not be the same as theirs, it does not give them an excuse to laugh at mine.
People have no right to decide how others should feel after their workout. I have the right to complain about feeling sore if I am using muscles that I didn’t even know existed. I have the right to express pain, as that means I am making progress and working hard to build the muscles I want. People have attempted to make me feel inferior by claiming I have not earned the right to feel pain, which is something that I will not stand for.
I am going to the gym to get stronger and better myself. I know I will not be able to reach my goals overnight, but with time, hard work and dedication, I know that I will eventually gain muscle and feel comfortable in my own skin.
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