Why that burning feeling in your legs is a good thing…

Last September, I signed up to a gym with the promise that I would be there everyday until I rocked some toned legs and a flat belly. I have this image of myself of what I will look like, if only I commit to self-torture at least three times a week.

The first month, I was there almost every day and I could see some results. October was not bad…but certainly my motivation drifted towards going to the movies instead. November was sort of steady, going twice a week. Then came December, my birthday, friend’s birthdays, Christmas and snow and I told myself that I was burning more calories sitting in my living room without heating than at the gym.

A year has passed and I haven’t stepped foot on the gym the last three months. Yikes. The toughest thing is getting there. If I ride my bike, my gym is five minutes away. Yet, it seems that the effort that takes to leave my house is overbearing. I find every possible excuse not to go. “I didn’t eat too much this week, so it’s ok.” “It’s raining outside.” “I’ll go tomorrow.” I also think about how awkward I feel every time I’m in the locker room and I see all this naked women walking around. One time, I kneeled down to tie my shoe and when I lifted my head I bumped with a whole lot of nakedness. Too close for comfort. Ok… not such a good excuse to not go, I can look away… I know. I’m terrible.

However last night, I packed my bag. Today I went straight there after work. Commitment is so difficult, but at some point you have to commit to yourself. I was just in time for the Steps class. The class is all about getting on and off steps, easy right? I recall the trainer asking us to hold a squat and go lower and lower. “If it BURNS IS BECAUSE IT’S WORKING”. Sweat was dripping down my forehead, holding it… holding it…as my face turned the colour of tomatoes. My legs were burning. Somebody HELP! After 50 minutes of intense jumping, holding my tummy, crunching, and especially squatting, I must admit, I felt pretty good. The soaking wet t-shirt, and my disgustingly sweaty face to show for it.

No pain no gain, had never been truer. All jokes aside, going to the gym is important for me. I have had a very unhealthy history with myself. I used to have an eating disorder. It took a lot of years, to learn to eat again, but also to began learning how to love myself. Now I like to take time making smoothies with yogurt, basil and berries. I take time to make myself diner: fish with cilantro and lime, salads, whole-grain pasta with tuna, sometimes I’ll devour a burger and sneak a chocolate or two. Am I comfortable in my skin? Not always. Sometimes I look at my belly or the size of my thighs and wish I looked like Jessica Alba or Halley Berry. However, I know that it wouldn’t be me. Can I make me, feel happier? Yes. Taking the time to go the gym, is as important as taking the time to do other things that are good for my brain, body and soul. Going to the gym is a way to love my body. Even if my body burns!

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