If I’m not in class, at work, or hanging out in my room, I’m probably in the gym. I lift weights around six days a week and do cardio on the seventh day.

"I'm working on myself, releasing endorphins and searching to heal my own perspective of myself all at the same time."

Some people wonder how I stay so motivated and consistent with working out, but the truth is simply that I need the gym. I won’t lie and say I feel motivated every single day, but for the majority of the time getting to go to the gym is what makes me excited for the next day. 

I grew up as an athlete. I’ve played sports ever since I was 4 years old and got placed on my first soccer team. By age 11 I was playing at competitive levels. I picked up basketball around the third grade, and even tried cross country, track and pole vaulting. 

Sports were my life. Then one day a misplaced basketball pass landed me on a journey to conquer my own brain and the damage it had suffered.  That is a story for another day, but the important part is this: I had to quit contact sports.

It was then that I fell in love with the gym, which seemed to be its own sort of sport.

My journey with the gym has certainly not always been easy. At the beginning, going to the gym was incredibly hard. I felt judged by the more experienced individuals lifting there, I got really sore, and sometimes it was just plain boring. I pushed myself to keep going because I knew it was good for me. And truthfully, without sports, I was putting on weight and my self-confidence was at a new low. 

I knew if I just went to the gym and kept pushing, I would make it. What I didn’t realize at the time was that my journey towards self-confidence would be a constant, never-ending path. The idea of going to the gym to look better eventually led to overexercising and eating disorders. Luckily, the fighter in me didn’t give up.

The reality for me is that somewhere along the way, the gym became my sanctuary — my safe haven from the voice in the back of my head. It became a place that I love because of how I feel when I am there. I’m working on myself, releasing endorphins and searching to heal my own perspective of myself all at the same time. 

I fell in love with that feeling. Hard. Harder than I’ve fallen for anything in my life. No matter what is going on in my life, the gym is there for me, and I always feel better walking out than I felt walking in. 

It snuck up on me. The gym slowly but surely found its way into my heart and my daily routine, which no longer feels complete without it. I won’t lie and say I suddenly have incredible self-confidence because of the gym — I don’t. I also won’t lie and say I no longer get scared that people are judging me in the gym, or get frustrated with my progress — I do. Yet at the end of the day, the gym has become a part of me, and that is something I wouldn’t change for the world.