Life can be down right irritatingly, frustratingly, devastatingly hard. But that’s life – or so I’ve been told ever since my parents noticed what an anxious, somewhat melancholic human I can often be. And they are right, life is life, more often a struggle than smooth sailing. I’m not complaining, I am very lucky to sit here, where I am and do all that I do – but let’s not beat around the bush, okay? Life feels hard sometimes. Now a disorder I don’t have but I do suffer from stomach-swirling, sleepless anxiety – not all the time, but in waves that drown me in doubts and worries that layer up like a mille-feuille. I seem to get stuck underneath them. At (almost) 27 , I am convinced of only one cure: exercise. I am devout to exercise. You see, even on my very worst days, if I make it to the gym or for a run, I succeeded at life. I win. Exercises evaporates my anxiety. In a lot of ways, I owe exercise to a lot of the woman I am today. I’m self-confident, healthy and generally, pretty damn happy. Exercise is what we, as humans, with limbs and muscles, are built to do. So if I do what my body is made to do everyday, then not much else matters, not money, not dating, not the clothes on my back. I cannot understand people that don’t exercise, people that shrug or laugh at the idea or at worst, label me as uptight because its a priority. Now, I won’t sit here and dictate what kind of exercise you should do. As long as you break a sweat and accelerate your heart rate as often as you can (at least a few times weekly) than you win at life. Am I offering the simple secret to success? I ‘ll confidently vouch for yes, but then again, this advice is hardly innovative. Nothing makes me feel as accomplished as my shower after a workout. The good dozen or so pairs of running shoes I have quite literally run down to shreds, they make me proud. And as for this chaotic mind of mine? It is far better to let my body beat the incessant mental worry away. Exercise makes sense of my life, is that corny? It definitely is, but I’m too zealous to care.
my very general exercise advice
applicable to however you choose to sweat
Come up with a plan, seek the help of a trainer or simply do some reading online. Devise an achievable plan – setting yourself impossible goals is so disheartening and the perfect excuse to beat yourself up. We as women seem to love to do that, so don’t.
Music is key, for me at least. I have an abundance of playlists, most of which too embarrasing to share with you as when I exercise, my taste in music seems to take a beating. I like all the fast tempo junk. Some genuine and not so cringe recommendations, Got me Good by Ciara, Jealous by Chromeo, Nonsense by Madeon, Count on Me by Chase & Status, No Enemiesz by Kezsa, Changes by 2Pac.
Caffeine, I gave up trying to give up. It’s not such a bad vice to have – and one day, I’ll just get my teeth whitened, I guess. I always drink a cup of coffee an hour or two before the gym, it gives me a boost to get going.
Nutrition, regardless of your exercise goals, eating right is key and while I have an entire post planned on this, for now, let me just say this: you need protein! If I don’t get sufficient protein, I feel weak when I try to do anything intense in the gym.
Make Up, I have seen an alarmingly amount of youtube videos listing the sorts of makeup ideal for the gym. While it might be hard for some to go bare-faced, you simply cannot wear makeup when you work out. This is so bad for your skin. Sweating releases toxins in the body and blocking the pathways for those toxins to get out? You know what that does? It clogs and causes blemishes. Do like me and wear sunglasses if you run outside or in the gym, wear a baseball cap. But really, you are beautiful without it, so please, just do not wear it!
While exercise is a good way to lose weight, I believe making ‘being slim’ your exercise motivation to be a bad idea. That is merely a secondary benefit to exercise. Exercise because you have to, because your body needs you to. Working out will make you powerful, forget ‘skinny’ and go for strong. We cannot all be stick thin but we can all be strong.
I find most women prefer gyms, I too prefer the gym, I suck at sports. So, join a good one! The cheaper gyms always seem to be full of bouncer type men that are more-often-than-not, intimidating or at worst, pervy. Finding the motivation to work out is already hard enough, do yourself a favour and splurge on a nice place to sweat. It will make it all the more enjoyable and as women, it is crucial to feel safe. Sexual harrassment is a huge problem in a gym environment and one I have sadly experienced all too often, which is why I am a member of the most expensive gym in Barcelona. It’s all nice old rich people and men too serious about their workouts to notice me, I love it! I prefer to feel invisible when I am red-faced, panting and probably smelly too.