I first set foot in a gym when I was in high school. I was introduced to the gym by my Dad, who I grew up watching go for daily runs and spend time weight training and boxing. I wanted to be part of that.
By the time I was 16 I knew my way around the weights room and ‘gyming’ was part of my every day life. I was less inclined to spend time on treadmills and doing cardio and preferred weights as this was when I spent time with my Dad.
Leaving high school, I spent more of my time at the gym as being a Uni student I had more time to spend there. I transitioned from weights to classes – pilates, spin, body attack – and I loved it! I loved the endorphin rush and the way it made me feel after sweating it out in a class. I loved seeing my toned body morph and change. It was good feeling strong and fit – plus I got to spend more time training with my Dad.
When I moved out of home and away from my local area, I quickly found a new gym and started training solo. What used to be fun and something I looked forward to started to feel like a chore. It wasn’t what I was used to. I signed up to a local yoga class which I looked forward to going to each week, but kept my gym membership because it was something I always had.
I started to skip gym sessions and it would leave me wracked with guilt. It wasn’t that I wasn’t exercising at all – I was riding my bike, taking yoga classes, going for walks – but because I wasn’t going to the gym as often as usual, I started feeling really bad about myself.
I decided to kick myself up the bum and sign up to a 12 week fitness challenge – maybe that was the accountability I needed to commit to the gym again. I took my ‘before’ photo and changed to the gym that my partner was training at, so he could hold me accountable.
I started training every day before work at 5:30am – that way I had no excuses. I had my gym bag packed the night before and even started going to sleep in my gym clothes so I could up and go! I followed a heap of ‘fitspo’ pages on Instagram and food was all lean protein, shakes, veggies and egg whites.
I became a woman obsessed. My love for the gym was back! My body was changing, people were noticing and I felt good! Didn’t I? Sure, I was tired – ALL the time – but I put it down to the early starts and not being a coffee drinker.
On top of training six days a week, I was doing my weekly yoga and walking as often as I could. I was dedicated to having my ‘after’ photo the best it could be.
And it worked! The ‘ab selfies’ were filling my friends Snapchat feeds and my body looked better than ever – I had the gym to thank for that, so after the 12 weeks were up, I kept going – ignoring the little voice in my head screaming at me to stop and rest.
I started feeling really run down and getting sick became a regular occurrence. After seeking health from professionals (including my GP and naturopath) it was advised I tone down the gym to rest.
Secretly, I felt relieved. My body had been craving sleep and rest, but I was so focused on getting back my love for the gym, that my actual health was failing and I hadn’t noticed.