Last weekend was one of the most remarkable weekends for me in my fitness journey. I completed a 30-day yoga challenge on the Saturday; and finished my first half marathon on the Sunday. In just 2 days, I achieved two things that I would never expect myself to do if you were to ask me 2 years ago.
Growing up, I was never a sporty or athletic person. My family was never a huge fan of physical activities; my elementary school was the typical Chinese school that uses P.E. class to teach Mathematics; and my secondary school was an all girl school that also focuses more on academics rather than extracurricular activities. “Exercise” was a foreign word to me. I wouldn’t do it unless I was forced to, which explains why I had a bad stamina and wasn’t exactly fit when I was growing up.
I started exercising in freshman year when I gained some extra pounds from all the late night snacking and junk food inhaling (if you insist to know, the verdicts were two-bite brownies, spicy cup noodles, Klondike ice-cream sandwiches, Domino’s pizza, bacon and cheesy omelette from the cafeteria to name a few. ?). Some of my friends were hitting up the gym at my residence, and they motivated me to do the same. I would cycle for around 40 minutes, follow some YouTube videos and do some lunges in my bedroom. Although there wasn’t a fitness plan or routine, this was how I slowly eased into the fitness lifestyle.
It wasn’t an easy transition, mainly because it was hard to justify spending time, money and effort into something that I was not familiar with. I mean, let’s be real, you don’t feel good when you are working out, especially when you are starting out as a fresh tender piece of meat like me. There were a lot of out-of-breath, sore, and “why the f— am I doing this to myself?” moment, and I wasn’t confident that I would stick with the routine. In fact, it took me about a year to slowly invest in gym passes and workout gears, and a good pair of running shoes.
And then there were those really fit people around me, either the super muscular guy in the gym or my girl friend who’s running twice my speed or distance. At first, I was intimidated and embarrassed of myself when I compare myself to them. But I slowly learned that we are all on a different fitness journey. We all have different physical builds and lifestyles, and it is not fair for me to compare myself to someone who’s been running and playing sports since he or she was a child, or with someone whose legs are 2x the length of my legs (which is very common btw ?). It was when I came to this realization that I started enjoying my workouts.
I loved how I was doing things at my own pace for myself. I pushed myself through my limits and celebrated every little milestone. Every little celebration made me happier and want to work harder to go further. And this little push day after day, step after step, was what got me to where I am today. I won’t say that I am super strong to the point that I can lift a car with an index finger, nor am I stronger than many of my peers, but hey, I finished a half marathon last weekend when I couldn’t even run 1km a year ago, and I survived a 30-day yoga challenge without feeling terribly sore and wanting to give up. I am proud to say that I am way fitter than how I used to be, and that’s all that matters.
There is still a long way for me to go to achieve my personal fitness goals, but today, I would like to take a pause and share my journey. Hopefully by sharing my experience of easing into this fitness life from level zero, it will motivate those of you who are too intimidated to take the first step. Trust me, you’ll never regret your decision to start being active. ?