How My “Slacker” Class Changed My Life

In order to graduate on time, I needed to take an extra 2-credit class this semester. When I signed up for a random ‘gym’ class, I had no idea what to expect — other than it would be easy (I hoped).

I showed up the first day of class in a skirt (forgetting that I had my fitness class that day) and promptly realized I’d be wearing gym shorts and a t-shirt for the rest of the semester. Having never actually worked out a day in my life, I was somewhat intimidated by many of my classmates, some of whom looked like they lived in the gym. Still, as I am not super un-athletic, I decided I try as much as I could (who wants to be that girl who sits on the sidelines every exercise or game?). I don’t think I have ever been so sore from such short periods of exercise (we usually worked out between 15-20 minutes each class). I learned I could push myself much farther than I had ever been able to before (due to pride, mostly likely).

At the beginning of the semester, we each had to develop a S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) goal to work towards over the semester. Since I was so new to working out, I chose something that has been on my to-do list for… quite a while: run a 5k. I set my goal time to be under 35 minutes. I couldn’t even run 1.5 miles at the beginning of the semester…

My “slacker” class  (officially known as Fitness for Life) turned out to be not only my most fun class (working out seems to make it so much easier to make friends than a normal class room setting) but also my most motivating and encouraging class. My teacher taught the class how to have a lifestyle of fitness, not just how to loose weight or gain muscle. As I think back to who I was at the beginning of the semester and to who I am now, I realized that I have grown in a lot ways. Here are just a few:

  • I can create my own workout. I don’t have to Google workouts to tone this or that. My teacher taught us how to think about what would be best for our body and how to strengthen not just one muscle but to include variation and multiple muscle groups.
  • I can touch my toes (most days ;)). This may seem trivial, but it is something that I haven’t been able to do. I am also not very flexible. Got to keep up with that yoga now!
  • I want to weigh more. I feel weird saying that because like most girls I can be self-conscious about my weight. I’m not saying I want to be fatter or that I am too skinny —  I want to gain muscle mass. My teacher inspired me to try to push myself further physically and out of my comfort zone.
  • I can run a 5k. In fact, I did run a 5k. A week before my race, I didn’t think I was even going to meet my goal (I considered not even going because I could barely run 3 miles). But I went. And my finishing time? 30:35. My teacher was right when she said the competition helps =P

At the beginning of the semester, I couldn’t do any of those things nor did I think I would have been able to. Fitness isn’t about weighing a certain number or being able to do X amount of push ups. It’s all about your lifestyle and setting realistic goals. Stay fit, folks.

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