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The gym can be an intimidating place, especially around the new year. Although we are in February, the gym is still a hot spot for women and men of all different shapes and sizes to congregate to better themselves. This sounds like a completely positive atmosphere, but truth is, it can be intimidating — enough to not even walk in. Feeling conflicted about going into a gym is completely valid and so many people feel like this on a day-to-day basis, but now, we are going to break that pattern and show up for ourselves and be proud of who we are both inside and out. 

First things first, joining a gym or any activity in an effort to better yourself is nothing short of amazing. So don’t forget to praise yourself for all sorts of accomplishments, no matter how big or small! Second, the hardest part about getting to the gym is actually showing up. Show up for you! If starting your journey in the gym is a goal you’re setting for yourself, you owe it to you to show up and work for it! Gains and progress do not come overnight and do not come easy, if you put your heart into it, you’re destined to succeed. 

Walking into a gym can be sort of nerve-racking. Seeing people who have been going to the gym for years, the bodybuilders, the powerlifters, the crossfitters, all can be a lot to soak in, but the important thing to remind yourself in that moment is that no one is looking. Someone might glance your way or make awkward eye contact, but just like you, everyone else there has a goal they’re trying to reach as well. This plays into another factor of how to keep doing you within the gym. It is and always will be you versus you. There might be a speed walk battle to the closest bench press or the dumbbells you want, but there will never be a moment that you will have to compete with another person in this area. In today’s social media driven days, it is super easy to compare yourself to someone else. How your physiques differ, how much stronger someone has/ hasn’t gotten, and the crazy thing about this is it doesn’t matter and it is not healthy for our brains to compare every aspect of ourselves to another. Although this is hard to avoid at some moments, reminding ourselves to be kind, patient and proud is essential. We are all so unique and differentiated by varying characteristics, and although the grass may be greener on the other side, it’s even greener and healthier where you water it. 

As you spend time bettering yourself within the gym, falling in love with yourself is inevitable. Starting to be amazed by what your body can do, being grateful for what you’re given and your journey, and realizing society’s standard of beauty cannot define you is when you’ve truly mastered the art of simply doing you; in the gym or out in society. Although this is not a straight path, the overall increase will eventually make itself known to you. Getting out of a toxic mindset and being kind to yourself is a learning process but taking time out of your day to put effort into you is more than useful to any journey. 

With this being said, there’s no one particular way to “do you” in the gym. It’s just all about growing and loving yourself throughout your journey, no matter how long it might take. While fulfilling a more positive mindset, surrounding yourself with what is going to uplift you will assist in creating this positive atmosphere around yourself. The little victories will add up and celebrating those can promote even more self-love and acceptance. Every path is different, but one common denominator is that you are the only person you’re doing this for and they’re proud of you too. 

Jackie Ailstock

George Mason University '23

Hey! my name is Jackie! I'm a junior studying Global Affairs at Mason! I love being outside and being active. Also always down for a spontaneous road trip!
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