One of the things I hear quite often is “So you’ve always been into sport?” It’s not even a question most of time, it’s said like a statement. Everyone who knows that I’m into running and Crossfit (and now Bikram and bouldering as well) assumes that I’ve always been a sporty person.
My friends from high school have asked me “So did you ALWAYS (secretly) like running?!?!” with a puzzled look on their faces as we all recall the horror that running and PE classes were for us in the good old Soviet Union.
My answer is always “No. I have not always been into sport but I am now. It’s not like you either are born the kind of person who’s into fitness and forever will be OR you’re the kind of person who is not sporty and will forever not be.”
I think that you can be whatever you decide to be.
After several years in my late teens / early 20s when I weighed a lot more than I should have and felt really uncomfortable in my skin, I decided to focus on my health. Eventually (over the past 15 or so years) I have become that fit sporty person I once never thought I could be (because c’mon – I HATED PE and was not good at anything sporty at all AND I couldn’t possibly live without muffins in my life!).
This is a photo of me at age 21 when I was studying in Germany. It was one of the best years of my life when it comes to the friends I made and the experiences I had, but as far as how I felt in my body it was one of the worst years of my life (I moved to the States when I was 17 and let’s just say the American way of life and eating did not do me any good, and neither did a diet of beer and bread in Munich).
From the age of 17 to about 25 my weight yo-yod a lot as I did the typical thing many young women do – go through months of limiting food and sweating on the treadmill or step machine, followed by months of not doing anything. My weight only stabilised once I made two of the best fitness decisions I have made in my life: I married someone sporty and I moved to Australia.
Good weather, daily cycling to work and fresh food did me well. I never thought I’d wear lycra and have a road bike with clip-on shoes but heck – people change and I eventually decided I was going to be that person – the cycling chick in tight lycra and the clip-on shoes.
When we moved to London I was too scared to ride on the streets so I tried out a few gyms, walked a lot, did Buggyfit and bootcamp in parks. I never thought I could be a runner, because my mentality was “I’m a cyclist. I cannot run.”
Then my husband signed me up for a half marathon and I went for a run. And then I went for another one… And I ran that half marathon and loved it. And then I became a Crossfitter. And then I got into Bikram and bouldering.
I don’t know what’s next for me. I don’t have any time for a new fitness addiction but my bike IS feeling a bit lonely in the shed. The thing is that getting fit has opened up so many fun activities for me and I’ve made so many new friends as well – I look at that picture of me above, I remember what I felt like that day (not comfortable at all, hence always black, black, black) and I am amazed that somehow I’ve gotten to where I am today.
Nothing happens overnight but just because you’ve never been sporty doesn’t mean you never can be. You totally can.