Showered with Knowledge

As much as I would love to say I hit the gym every morning and kill a workout, that is not always the case. You can find me working out in the evenings struggling to get through my workout, and on some days, those planned workouts never even happen.

So if I am not working out in the mornings, then why am I showering at the gym? My roommates and I all established a showering schedule, but unfortunately, I am rarely home during the allotted times. As a result, I’ve gotten in the habit of showering at the gym before my morning classes. I have come to love showering at the gym: never-ending hot water and great lighting for applying makeup. I usually arrive at the gym just as a group of strong women finish a group exercise class and are getting ready for work. 

During the time I’m there, I have witnessed many amazing women of all ages and backgrounds sharing stories and taking pride in themselves and their bodies. I have learned more about womanhood from my time showering in the gym than at any other time in my life, here is some of the knowledge I have learned:

 

1. Love your body

Let me ask you a question, what do you tell your girlfriends when you dress up and go somewhere nice, wear a swimsuit to the beach, or pose for a cute Insta pic? You tell your friends how amazing they look, and you absolutely mean it. I love my girlfriends, every single part of them, and the only thing I want for them is to be happy, healthy, and strong. 

Often-times when I get dolled up for a date, get ready for work, or look at the mirror in the gym, I body shame myself. The typical, “I need to lose ten more pounds” and “this outfit would be perfect if” enters my mind.

Take a moment and think about all the ways you have “body-shamed” yourself. If you have time, write them down. By recognizing our imperfections, it’s easy to say that we all have things we wish we could change or be better about our bodies. We often hear the idea of body positivity, but implementing it is a new challenge within itself.

By seeing other women work through the same thoughts I’ve held, it has taught me to love my body. Instead of negative self-talk, these strong women are loving their bodies by treating themselves with the utmost respect not just by taking time to exercise, but by realizing they are beautiful the way they are. There is a commonality amongst all of the women: they take pride in themselves and who they are. They recognize the strength their body provides to live their best life; instead of being negative they embrace it and build themselves and each other up. 

My new mantra consists of the following: My body is powerful, strong, and helping me live for today and my future. Your body allows you to express yourself and your personality. It enables you to make memories with friends, to attend college and earn that career you have always dreamed of. Think of your body as a girlfriend: build your body up with positivity and kindness. When you go to that negative comment, ask yourself if you would tell that to a friend. Treat your body with respect and grace, because my dear, your body is your life-long friend, and from personal experience, I love my life-long friends. Love your body, because your body is amazing. Do not think any different. 

 

2. Imperfections are beautiful 

Imperfections are beautiful; this directly correlates with loving your body. Every woman that has ever lived has possessed some imperfection. 

Think of an imperfection as a signature beauty style. For example, I have a dimpled chin that I inherited from my dad (thanks Dad). Growing up, I despised and hated my chin. Now I have a niece, and guess what… she too shares the same trait of a dimpled chin. Today, my dimpled chin isn’t something I wish I could change, it is a part of me and defines me. 

Imperfections are beautiful. Don’t just accept your imperfections, embrace them. They are yours, and yours alone making you unique and special.

 

 

3. Carry yourself with confidence 

Noticing the women around me, their shoulders are back and their heads are up, fully embracing themselves and who they are. They speak with conviction. They know exactly who they are. 

The phrase “confidence is sexy” holds truth. Why? Because, it means you are in love with yourself. When you are confident, you shine and allow other people to do so by sharing your energy. 

Every morning I leave the gym refreshed, not from my shower, but from the aura and confidence I receive from these ladies. They empower me to live confidently and push myself out of my comfort zone.

 

4. Styling tools are your best friend 

If you are in a hurry and still want to look fabulous, here's the secret: hairstyling tools. My go-to hairstyle is a side braid because, frankly, it requires minimal effort and time. However, the women at the gym outdo my side braid, not only in looks, but also in ease of styling and time. I noticed a lot of them use blow-dryer brushes, which leaves their hair looking lush and voluminous – I would definitely recommend!

 

5. College is just the beginning: there is a world waiting for you to discover

As a college student, I feel like I am an adult, but not yet a full-fledged adult. I am capable of things, except, I am not always fully aware of those capabilities. 

Listening to the women in the gym discuss their careers and families, I have realized college is merely a stepping-stone to success. There are so many things we have yet to experience. Say humble in your endeavors, always try to learn, and enjoy life. As cliché as it sounds, life takes you where you are meant to be, so enjoy the ride.

 

6. Stick with it, all things in life take time and work

One morning, I got curious and asked a very sweet lady what class everyone had just finished. She let me know that it was a cycling class and invited me to join. In all reality, I love to think I have the physique of Super Women, but frankly, I struggle running a couple miles around campus, and the stairs in UHall are my arch-nemesis. I proceeded to ask how it would be for a beginner. Her response taught me a significant amount not only about fitness but life. 

"I was a beginner and struggled at first. I still struggle, but I kept going, and I have progressed so much.” 

Some days, I struggle with my classes, asking myself if I am smart enough for my major (mechanical engineering). I’m just a beginner. I am the new girl at the cycling class trying to progress so I can be better and work towards harder things. Do not be afraid of being the beginner and asking questions or for help. When you struggle, stick with it, because progress can’t occur unless you put in the work. Try to have fun every day, and when it gets hard, keep going. It’s in those moments of struggle where you are truly developing and growing. Results take time and work. 

 

7. Women support other women

There is always so much laughter and love in the locker room – it leaves a positive impact on my day.

Never underestimate a quick smile, text, or kind words given by another woman. I can promise you a small gesture can leave a greater impact than you can ever imagine. 

 

8. Friendship in Fitness

Fitness is about self-care, and part of self-care is friendship. The ladies at the gym have developed such great friendships from taking classes together, they genuinely enjoy each other’s company – It’s rewarding to workout and spend time with their friends. You can meet your life-long friend, or even make your friendships even stronger by hitting the gym together. Whatever it may be, I have learned you can truly connect with people during and after workouts. 

 

9. If amazon shopping makes you happy, do it! #Selfcare

This is by far my favorite advice I overheard in the gym, and frankly, I think this one is self-explanatory.