When I was a teenager I was really not good at any sort of physical activity and I hated it. My parents made me practice music and dance, but sports, nope. When I was in school I was avoiding as much as I could exercise: I was feeling stupid, clumsy and didn’t wanted to sweat. I started to swim by myself when I was 17 because I didn’t like any other physical activity and being in the water is one the things I enjoy the most in my life.
In London the swimming pool was expensive and far from home, so I started running in the park next door because it was free. It took me 6 months to start to enjoy it. The first times I ran, I was with my ex-boyfriend and I cried, I swear I cried because it was so hard, and I was feeling ashamed of my level. It’s been a pain in the ass process but without more money on my account I had to get better at it.
Which led me in a year to run between 8 and 10 kilometers per day, 6 times a week when I was in Spain. I also bought a bycicle home to do some cycling in front of the tv and started a Pilates class twice a week.
I learned a lot about the resistance abilities of my body but in a stupid way and for stupid reasons. I also hurt myself a lot, had no idea about the importance of rest and recovery.
When I got back to France, I had to slow down the intensity and amounts of my workouts. The purpose was to gain weight progressively but most importantly to learn how to enjoy exercize and not use it as a punishment to myself.
I started to go to the swimming pool again, run less and started some indoor fitness group classes.
The gym was a weird and scary place to me. I felt I was the only one not knowing how to use the machines and why. With time and experience I have come to learn that most of the people that go to the gym don’t know what they are doing.
I didn’t like the group classes, so I hired a trainer and asked for a personal training combining weights, machines and bodyweight exercises. After a year, I decided to change of gym: the atmosphere and the team are really important when you choose a place to exercise. I needed a place with people more focused on their training.
In the new gym I spend more than a year before going to Canada I have learned so many things about fitness. Good and bad. How you can start with good intentions and end up hurting yourself for a « perfect » reflection in the mirror. How you are supposed to adopt a healthy lifestyle, but you don’t balance your life, focus only on the gym, your look.
In this gym I have met incredible athletes, with knowledge, work ethic. I have also met frauds, with empty heads because there were too busy taking care of their biceps to read a book once in a while. I met people, trainers and members, who would spend all their money, time and energy on drugs to look a certain way but then would say « I am healthy, I eat vegetables and chicken and only drink water ». I met men and women scarifying their health in the medium and long term to win a trophy.
It’s interesting to look back because it was not a long time ago, but fitness and bodybuilding had already reached an incredible impact on the population, and not only my generation.
Nowadays it is a huge industry, making millions per year and everybody as a reason to go to the gym, even the people that would laugh about it a couple of years ago.
Of course, there are all kinds of people with different tastes for sport, but I am pretty sure almost the majority of our generation has at least, tried it.
Aaaah fitness, the shaped oiled bodies, sponsored products and “athletes” getting out of nowhere with incredible one or two-year body transformation. I felt deep in the trend: kicking my butt in the gym, trying to calculate my macros (even if it was counter-productive for my anorexia recovery), following fitness gurus, going to the Paris Body Fitness Salon, surrounding myself with gym people who could only talk about their diet and their previous/current/next workout …
I got even so passionate and interested that I studied at home, got a personal trainer certification and when I arrived in Montreal, I worked as a personal trainer in a gym for a couple of months.
I can now say after almost three years of practice that my approach is really different.
When I first went to a gym it was to recover anorexia, try to gain some muscle and mobility back. Then, slowly, with the results coming in, I started again to be obsessed with my body image but this time, I wanted to look like a fitness model, without fat and a shredded body all year around. Well, not everybody can do that, in a couple of a month and for a life time period.
First of all, it was really dangerous for me according to my previous and not so old illness. And second, it is very stupid to put all your energy JUST in the way you look.
I started to feel depress again because despite my efforts, my body wasn’t like I wanted too.
Getting obsessed with fitness took me in the same place I had left when I was anorexic: unhappy with my body, obsessed with my body image, dysmorphia syndrome and with social and family life damages. Because let’s be honest, whatever your passion is, fitness or cars or specific collections, it is very time-confusing of the rest of your life.
You focus all your time, energy and money on this passion and it has consequences. With fitness it can quickly kill your social life: you don’t eat out, don’t drink alcohol, have to sleep at least 8 hours and you have to spend countless hours in the gym instead of doing anything else.
It took me a couple of months to understand that what I wanted of my body AND the life I wanted wasn’t compatible 100 %.
Yes, I want to have the most beautiful body as I can. But I also want to spend time stimulating my mind with expositions, movies, readings, expositions. I want to spend time with my close friends and the members of my family and don’t say no to a restaurant once in a while for the scale. Once the persons you love are gone, you can’t do anything to have them back.