Begin with the self

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Illustration by Terra DeHart

What a time to be alive, right? With everything bad going on in the world right now, it’s no surprise that a lot of us have given up on society. Despite this extreme loss of hope, it might be a relief to know that there are actually some things happening in the world right now that deserve a round of applause.

Take the rise of female fitness enthusiasts, for instance. For the longest time, men have been dominating fitness society by leading perfect examples of active and healthy lifestyles. Now, more and more women are starting to work on their health, and the numbers are remarkable. Even a simple scroll through Instagram or Facebook will show you this.

The question is, when did this all start? It’s possible that celebrities who’ve started to embrace the fitness lifestyle (like Kim Kardashian) might have influenced this progression. It is also possible that the media has something to do with it. The real answer? It doesn’t matter.

If Kim Kardashian’s body motivates you to work out, let it! If the model on the front cover of the latest Vogue issue persuaded you to sign up for a gym membership, that’s great! There is truly nothing wrong with wanting what’s best for yourself. As a fitness enthusiast myself, I took a long time to truly understand why I’ve got nothing to lose.

The first part of my journey consisted of running on the treadmill at the gym and signing up for Zumba classes because, according to society, that’s how women should exercise. However, if we keep putting that in our minds, we are missing out on a lot of great opportunities, such as body-weight exercises.

After craving something new in my workout routine, I began weight training and ignoring everything society had to say about it. Did I turn into the Hulk? No. Was I ever unwelcome in the weight area at the gym? Yes. Though that didn’t stop me from taking advantage of the benefits body-weight exercises provide other than muscle building.

If you’re one of the women who is part of this fitness movement, keep it up! And if you ever get bored of the usual cardio, yoga or whatever your workout routine is, don’t be afraid to do body-weight exercises at home or hit up the weights area at your gym.

I definitely don’t have the perfect body, nor am I suddenly a health guru, but I can honestly say that I feel 10 times better since I started this fitness journey. My only regret is first doing it to have society’s idea of a perfect body.

I’ve had days in which I wanted to give up because the process was too long and too hard. There were times when going to the gym was the worst part of my day. Then I realized that it’s almost impossible to work on yourself if you’re not happy about doing it.

Since then, I switched up wanting a perfect body to just wanting to be healthy. After all, it is impossible to have a real idea of what’s perfect in a world where each and every single person is different. Perhaps working on ourselves and our health is the first step to becoming better members of society. How are we supposed to help the world we live in if we can’t help ourselves?

We can keep complaining about how messed up humanity is, or we can start making differences and begin with ourselves. Because we are all different, it is important to note that being physically healthy is not the only way we can become better people; it is simply one example. Some might prefer to work on their personalities. Others might prefer to change their habits.

What matters most is being capable of making a difference within ourselves, so we are then able to make a difference in society, whether big or small. And then maybe, just maybe, it won’t be such a bad time to be alive.

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