I was a gym snob.
For the last 14 years of my aerial skiing career I have rarely set foot in a public gym other than the ones I’ve used when overseas. I have been fortunate enough to work out in the privacy of the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) amongst the best minds in strength and conditioning, sports science, nutrition, physiotherapy and some of Australia’s best elite athletes…the list goes on. Needless to say, I was a massive gym snob.
My experience of using public gyms in the past had left me with undesirable images. Guys staring at their chests and biceps in the mirror, forgetting that their legs were the size of toothpicks. Or of women in full make up cleverly coordinated in the latest gear. Trainers asking me why I do certain exercises. Regular people sipping on protein shakes and amino acids. My thoughts were always, why? What for? I couldn’t understand why non elite athletes were so obsessed with working out? What drove them?
I’ve always enjoyed exercising, but it’s always been part of the process of being an athlete…you have to do it to keep the body in check. Thinking back over the years, I can’t say I’ve worked out for the pure enjoyment of it or to ‘look good’ for that matter. It’s been part of my routine for as long as I can remember. A necessary means to achieve a sporting goal and I had no problem training my heart out because there was always a goal in sight.
After Sochi Olympics in Feb, I had zero motivation to work out in a gym. I was exercised out. I’d been religiously doing my prescribed exercises to keep on top of niggles so that my body could withstand the load of being an aerial skier.
After a couple of months of post-season blues and intermittent outdoor activity, I forced myself back into an exercise routine. I started with running and yoga. The first run hurt. – particularly my knee which I had injured in Sochi. I didn’t enjoy it at all. Funnily enough though, the next time I went, my knee felt better and actually kept on improving with each run. After about 4 runs, I started to enjoy myself, cranking the tunes and entering into that familiar escape of exercise.
Not long after that I dragged myself to the gym – this time a local public gym only 30 meters from my house. I know. Shock horror. I committed and bought myself my first ever gym membership. It was pretty strange at first. Not knowing anyone and not seeing the familiar faces I’m used to. Not having my VIS family around or my trainer Harry watching and coaching my every move. But as I moved through some of my favourite exercises, I started to get into an enthused groove. It felt so good to move and challenge my body again. I felt the endorphins kick in. I had missed that feeling.
It occurred to me in that instance that for the first time in my athletic career, I was working out because it felt good.….not to make a gain or get an edge but for the first time ever, I was working out for pure enjoyment. I love it and feel crap without it. Turns out a lot of other people feel the same way! I get it now. xx