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Don’t let the gym bros weigh you down

By David Song, September 25 2014 —

I work out.

Am I physically robust? Not really. Do I lift? Well, right now I’m working on being able to lift my body weight on the assisted pull-up machine, but I need the assistance for a reason.

At 5’3” and 135 pounds, I’m what you would call a little guy.So it’s definitely intimidating for me to see all the big, muscular men and the tall, athletic women when I step into a gym.

And yet, that hasn’t stopped me from taking advantage of the University of Calgary Fitness Centre. I’ve been hitting the gym on a regular basis since last year, and while I still don’t have a six-pack, I’ve learned to embrace exercise as a part of my routine throughout each semester.

Some of you reading this are where I was last year — new to university and considering the gym as a new habit. Any number of things could be holding you back. Laziness, too much homework or maybe embarrassment. But exercise is a valuable part of any lifestyle, and in some ways, it’s more important during university than  any other time.

At university there will always be an emphasis on the classroom. It’s too easy to let yourself get swept up in academic work, sacrificing sleep in the name of handing assignments in on time. Exercising is a great way to shift gears during the week to work your body and give your mind a break. Afterwards, no matter how sweaty and sore you are, you’ll feel physically refreshed. Even just a few hours of exercise during the week can make a difference in maintaining your health, ensuring that your body doesn’t wear down while your mind is trying to operate at maximum power.

Of course, the gym isn’t for everyone. Playing sports and running are excellent ways to exercise.

And if you’re interested in exploring what the Fitness Centre has to offer, don’t let a lack of expertise or confidence stand in your way. There are gym orientations held on a regular basis that teach newcomers the basics of working out.

Hitting the gym with a friend is also a great way to make exercise more fun and approachable, especially if your friend knows his or her way around.

Even if you go alone, there’s no reason to be hamstrung by a lack of confidence. The staff at the Fitness Centre are ready, willing and able to help you out. If anyone makes fun of how little you can lift, remind yourselves — and them — that you’re only there to train yourself.

You don’t have to be naturally athletic to benefit from regular exercise and you don’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. What are you waiting for?

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