This applies to life in general in my opinion, not just the gym. Sometimes we can get caught up with people that we think we should like. We’re drawn to something about them, and it might be good or it might be bad. In the past, I was constantly worried about “looking like a dude” if I had muscle. How did that thought get in my head? I had some of the wrong people in my life.
Full disclosure, when I started doing strength training, it was purely for vanity purposes. I wanted to “look good” and have people think that I was attractive or whatever “looking good” entailed. So, when people I was close with started to tell me that I should stop working out because I was starting to look like a man, it really hurt my feelings, and only made me workout more and eat less. What they could have done instead was mentioned that they cared about my health and wanted me to be healthy and happy, OR just not commented on my body that I was so clearly uncomfortable in.
The cool thing is, I have no hard feelings towards those people. I now see that they were just very unhappy with themselves, and were threatened that I was trying to make myself “better,” while they were perfectly okay with staying unhappy. I didn’t realize at the time those weren’t my people; even though I was wearing dresses, low cut shirts, 6” heels, a full face of makeup, and pretty much anything screaming for attention, I just thought I had to be uncomfortable and eventually I would get used to it. Now that I have amazing individuals in my life, I am wearing what I like and what I am comfortable in, which is workout clothes and Vans/Chucks, or if we’re going somewhere that that is not acceptable or I am feeling “fancy,” it’s jeans, a shirt or tank, and nicer Vans/Chucks.
Now that I have found who I am, I can confidently build relationships with the people that I chose to have in my life. The gym has been a key part to this process. If I hadn’t started lifting, I would never have left that toxic environment. I would never have moved to a new city I had never been to, never got a job at a gym, never made great friends (including my now husband,) built confidence in myself- mind and body, and I would not have the wonderful network of positivity in my life. Now I have people who think it’s cool that I like to pick up heavy stuff, and understand that I do it for fun (because they do too!) Now I have people who say that I am “strong” instead of commenting on the size of ANYTHING on my body (unless it’s in a good way #hamstringgoals.)
If you are starting to work on your health and fitness, and you have people making that seem like a negative thing, take some time to think about if they are worth having in your life. If so, call them out on it! Tell them how important your health is to you, and why what they are saying makes you feel negative. I say “health and fitness” because my journey did not start out as healthy at all. Your “people” will support you, ask questions and check in, and maybe even go to the gym with you. They will snap you out of “a funk” when you start to say negative things about your body, strength, confidence, ect. (shout out to my husband, Adrian, for working on this with me for years! It’s our anniversary and the photo is from our wedding!) Your people should add positivity to your life and care about you, and in return you will add positivity to their lives. You get to a point where you keep bringing each other up to the next level and growing as individuals and together. IT IS SO COOL!
If you’re not sure who your people are yet, work towards your “why,” and it will just happen. (psst-> https://ownfitnesspnw.com/2019/07/31/why-why-why/ ) Find your people that make you want to O.W.N. the day, the week, the year! Find your people that see you O.W.N. your life, and get inspired to do the same!
P.S. If you’re reading this, I consider you some of my people!