How Working Out Changed Every Aspect Of My Life

Not just my body.

To me, there is no better feeling than after a workout. My head is never clearer, and I genuinely feel like I can take on the world. I haven't always been motivated in the gym, and definitely have not always considered myself active. Actually, up until last January I couldn't commit to any workout plan. 

I have always had a smaller frame, and in high school I never worried about my weight. To be honest, I've never 'worried' about my weight. My entire family is small and I have a fast metabolism–I genuinely thought that was enough to ward off any physical activity. I didn't realize up until a few years ago how it would make me feel, and how exercise doesn't just give you a nice body. 

2016 was a really, really rough year for me. I can easily say it was one of the worst years of my life, but it seems like it happened to everyone. No one liked 2016, and I am lightyears ahead of where I was at this time last year. However, I know that 2016 would've been different if I would have just focused on myself instead of focusing on other people all the time. 

Last Christmas, my dad got me a FitBit, which is something I didn't ask for (I didn't ask for anything) but was so excited about it. Little did I know that having something on my wrist 24/7 tracking my steps and my exercise would be exactly what I needed to get motivated. Ever since then, yes, ever since I got that FitBit, I made a promise to myself that I would get in at least 5 days of working out a week. This is what happened after making that promise to myself: 

I stuck to it. I decided to purchase Kayla Itsines' BBG Guide. I had done it a few times before, would be so sore after the first leg workout and wouldn't touch it again. After feeling down on myself for what felt like forever, but it was only a few months, I was going to make myself my #1 priority. From January to July, I made sure I got in at least 4 workouts a week. 4 was my minimum (of course, I was sick in February so I only did 3 but that's life) and usually made it to 5 or 6 days a week. Not only did my body changed dramatically, my entire life changed. I say to July because I took off a week after feeling like I needed it, and then got right back into it with a little more leeway, anywhere from 3-6 days a week now depending on how busy I am. 

Most people start working out because they want changes in their body. They're either not happy with their stomach, their legs, their arms, etc. Of course I had my insecurities, but that wasn't my main goal. My main goal through all of this was to get rid of the beast of anxiety that I always had in my head. I had this feeling every morning when I woke up of just dreading the day ahead. That's not how I want to ever live my life, and I was sick of it. I had heard from my doctor that working out for 30 minutes a day was like taking an anti-depressant. I decided to test that and since Kayla Itsines' workouts are only 28 minutes (or 40 in my case for trying to catch my breath), it was a perfect fit. 

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From January to around March, I had never noticed so much change in my own body, mind and soul. I was so happy. I am so happy now that I have discovered a passion for something that is actually good for me. I rarely get anxiety now, I am finally seeing a naturopath to figure out what foods my body reacts to and even more has changed in my life. I feel like I lost a lot of people last year, and have finally come to the conclusion that that's life. Did working out change my friend group, who I interact with, and who I tell my life secrets to? Not necessarily, but it did change how I see some people and forced me to get toxic people out of my life. 

I even developed this huge need to be a health freak, but in my own way. I now don't consume any gluten or dairy, and my body has never loved me more. I used to get bloated, have acid reflux and migraines all the time. I don't get any of that anymore. I now don't see working out as a punishment for anything, I see it as something that I have to do to be able to live my best life. It helps me focus at work, it helps keep me calm, it helps me live. I always wanted to try other options before my doctor put me on medication for anxiety, and I was so close to starting it. Some people do, and that's totally fine and nothing to be ashamed of. Thankfully, working out is my anti-depressant. 

I wish I had taken my health this seriously throughout my whole life, but I can't change that. All I can do going forward is keep living my life the way I am–and not punishing myself for when I can't work out. If all you can get in is a 30 minute walk, do it. If you can get in a 40 minute HIIT session, do it! Your body, your mind, and your entire soul will thank you later.

The thing that changed the most when I started working out is how I didn't feel bad for taking 30 minutes to an hour for myself a day. Self love is the most important love in the world, because if you don't have that then you can't be happy when something goes wrong. From friends, to my job, to my health, to my awful anxiety, nothing is the same as the worst year of my life. 2016 is a year I don't really enjoy looking back on, but I would have never felt this great now if I didn't experience that. 

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Courtney Lundy Advertising and Marketing graduate. My personality is a mix between David Spade and Kourtney Kardashian. My nails are never not painted and I don’t trust people who like Monica more than Ross.