OPINION: When can we accept that training just isn’t for everyone?

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I’ll say it: the gym is scary. Teenage girls in short shorts and sports bras, people hanging out with weights and shirtless Beefcake McGee standing over your shoulder waiting for the squat is not what I would describe as welcoming. It’s so easy to get intimidated by the gym – and for a lot of people, it’s not what you need right now. Let’s talk about why.

Today’s social environment puts a lot of pressure on men and women to assume a certain appearance which is at least difficult and at most impossible. Speaking like someone who grew up in the often very toxic world of ballet, I had a really bad relationship with body image and food, and I still do sometimes. Recently I ran a fitness challenge to help my friend practice her personal training program and a switch flipped that made me realize that there is a very big difference between working out because you are doing it. want and train because you want to.

Training is not a punishment.

Write this in your journal, make it your wallpaper, do whatever you have to do, but anchor it in your head. You can’t think of going to the gym as punishment for yourself for eating badly or not exercising in the past week. It is so important to understand this because the only thing you will do if you treat your workouts and exercises as punishment is you will hate to work out and spend your entire sweat session wallowing. in guilt.

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This is such an important concept that recently the National Association for Sport and Physical Education declared physical exercise an inappropriate style of punishment that was so powerful that 29 states have banned schools from use the punishment of exercise, calling it a form of corporal punishment. . If you wouldn’t want to make a 12-year-old with attitude problems do a few push-ups, then why do you force yourself to do push-ups to eat spaghetti?

If you have an unhealthy relationship with training, then you are going to have an unhealthy relationship with your own body. Eating disorder patients are almost always advised not to exercise often, as these eating and body image issues will replace compulsive workouts, reports the National Eating Disorders Association. Even if you don’t think about how you have to go to the gym explicitly as a punishment, if you’re into the mentality that you have to ‘burn’ the sandwich you ate or ‘earn’ your chocolate treat later, it is. is a problem.

Insider reported that while you must be in a calorie deficit to lose weight, training is only a small percentage of the calories you burn each day. The next time you’re wondering how many calories are in your favorite snack, think about how much energy you need to walk across campus in class, or to walk around your retail store, or even how much energy you need. energy you need just so your body can keep functioning and allow you to enjoy your life and do the things you love.

All of this isn’t to say that there aren’t definite benefits to exercising. Beyond the fact that it can help you get stronger and lose weight (although losing weight is an entirely different conversation that isn’t just about exercise), exercise has clear links to exercise. reduction in depression and anxiety; and moving around has been shown to improve self-esteem, according to studies published in the Primary Care Companion Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Aerobic exercise, including dancing, swimming and walking, has been among the most studied for its effects on mental health. The good news here is that dancing, swimming, and walking are a far cry from lifting weights at the gym while creepy men are eyeing you over your shoulder – you can get a feel-good workout. directly at home or near you in a method that’s fun for you.

The bottom line here is that for those of you who are in a constant cycle of guilt regarding diet and fitness, you are not alone. While easier said than done, the best thing you can do is stop stressing. Each of you is beautiful and strong, no matter what you look like, how active you are, or what you eat – none of those things define you. Your body does so much for you, so I challenge you to fight for the positivity in your life instead of taking it out on yourself just because you are alive. The next time you hit the gym and see Beefcake hiding, ignore it and keep doing yourself.


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Mandy (she / she) is a journalism and public relations student. She spends her free time shopping, writing and hanging out with friends.



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