As a teenager, I ran angrily to Limp Bizkit and hated it. The elliptical during college to Blink182 and Something Corporate was monotonous. Endless sit-ups to Marilyn Manson seemed futile. Growing up, I always thought working out had to be awful and un-fun and painful. Plus, I always compared myself to other girls’ bodies and in their pink spandex and sleek swinging ponytails, I thought I could never compare. It always felt more like punishment than something healthy.
As a 30-year-old with a penchant for all black, tattoos, and piercings I have removed from my skin, it has taken me a long time to find my place in the world of fitness. My past involves a lot of expensive, well-lit gyms and anxiety attacks in locker rooms. As a girl who was never really considered “athletic”, it has taken me a long time to feel comfortable in my own skin while working out. Here are my tried and true secrets.
Find your tribe
I always think that I am going to walk into a studio, and everyone is going to have perfect bodies and perfect little outfits and they’re going to judge my stumpy body and sassy black wear. I feel this way because it has happened – despite a lot of it being in my head. You have to find the right combination of vibe, people, and exercise to make you feel comfortable. For me, sweet and supportive yoga studios and gothfit spin studios are what make me feel accomplished, but also accepted. It’s what keeps me coming back.
Wear what you want
Just like how I was trying to make the wrong environment work for me, I was trying to make the wrong clothes work for me too. Because I didn’t see myself as an athletic person, I was trying to fit into the stereotype of what I thought one looked like, instead of just being myself and making it work for me. I felt awkward in bright, tight pieces and spandex, and therefore wasn’t pushing myself as much. Once I just started wearing black leggings and cut off band tees, I relaxed into myself and felt more like myself around others. The more I felt like myself, the more results I saw.
Make playlists your best friend
If you really want to make working out in a gym, or outside, work, then Spotify Premium is your new best friend. I can’t handle listening to the tiny sounds of Katy Perry or grunting dudes while exercising. If you have any like-minded friends, challenge each other to make collaborative playlists of music that actually motivates you, rather than what people think will motivate you. Add building abs to things Marilyn Manson never knew he was good for.
Make it work
At the end of the day, it’s about making fitness work for you rather than the other way around. There is literally nothing I hate more than running outside, so you know what? I don’t run outside. I hate the idea of being in fluorescent lighting with barres and a former ballet teacher, so I don’t do that either. For years, I told myself I wanted to work out in the morning, but I never did. It’s just not in my DNA. If you push yourself to do something you hate, or that makes you feel bad about yourself, you’re never going to do it and you’re never going to see a change in your body. Be honest with yourself about who you are, and you’ll always feel better about yourself.
Rock on, little goth babes. You don’t have to be a Lululemon-loving, Katy Perry-playing barre aficionado to feel your best!