primary gym gear
sports bra

I first joined a gym when I was 16 and wanting to do something pro-active about hating my body. I got really into it and enjoyed lots of the different machines, but alas, as with most girls that age, I got distracted by boys and the prospect of a summer filled with long days and late nights spent in the park. The gym wasn't ~cool~ (neither was I, but you gotta try, right!). I did work out more at home, when we had a cross trainer, a sit-up bench and a lot more motivation. But I get bored easily. And so I cancelled my membership because it wasn't proving to be worth the money.
When I was in my second year at University, I wanted to get back into working out, so joined the uni gym with a friend and we were going twice a week, along with swimming once a week too (the only club I joined, even though I didn't ~fully~ get into it). But uni gyms are full of testosterone fuelled guys and I was very shy and intimidated; thus resulting in me going less and less. When I graduated, my student membership was up and I wasn't forking out for a full price one when I didn't like the atmosphere, especially when I had to first find a job! 
But now I'm at a new gym and finally getting into a workout routine that I enjoy, in an environment that doesn't feel intimidating, and it is working WONDERS for my mental health. There's nothing quite like just powering through on the step master with an episode of The High Low Show playing through my earphones (current favourite podcast, in case you were wondering!) and switching off from everything else in the world. 

I've never been a sporty person, but differentiating sport from exercise makes a massive difference. I used to hate PE with a passion, it was the only class that I wasn't in the top set for (geek, I know) and when I was in a car accident in Year 11 and got a doctors note excusing me from lessons for 6 weeks I was ecstatic. The pain of my whiplash was worth it ten times over to get out of PE, and I actually extended the sick note because my teacher forgot when it should've ended and I certainly wasn't going to be the one to tell her! In addition to this, during Year 10 a group of us actually chose to do extra maths lessons to get an additional GCSE (in Statistics, my fave, cos y'know, top geek!) which just happened to conveniently clash with PE! I only remember one time which I enjoyed PE and that was the short period in which we were allowed in the school gym (it was tiny and pathetic really) and basically just let loose on the machines. Rowing, running, weights, it was the most work I'd done in a PE class ever. And it was that feeling that made me first want to join a gym.

As I've mentioned in multiple posts before, I suffer with a lot of anxiety, a lot of social anxiety in particular, and I have a tendency to isolate myself away, convinced that people don't actually like me. When I get deep into this headspace and am convinced that everything in my life is a mess, I take myself off to the gym, put my headphones in and sweat it all out. I do a lot of cardio, but I enjoy some of the weighted machines and doing free weights on the mats too. I like rowing but it blisters my hands when I do too much, the step master is my favourite! I try to go 3 times a week, two evenings after work and once on a weekend, and that's enough for me. It works well! I want to try a class, in particular a spinning class, but I'm still a bit nervous about doing that. I also know that getting a personal trainer would make me work even harder, but for now I'm happy doing what I do and continuing to push myself to try new machines and come up with new routines each visit. There's nothing like the feeling of coming out of the gym, sweaty after a good workout, because you never regret a workout. Even if I've had a long day at work, sometimes I have to force myself to go because I know that I need it and I know that after, I'll be glad I went. 

outdoor workout

Do you enjoy working out? Have you found it helps your mental health?

Loves. Emma.