I reflect quite a bit internally; it’s how I process. Lately, I’ve been glancing at my past year of life looking at things I’ve achieved, choices made and the lifestyle I’m living now. Most of the time it’s just a moment to be grateful for everything I’ve been through, and everything that’s come from it. One thing that’s been weathered through many of my storms is working out – it’s a vital part of my life.

I began working out properly about four years ago, I had moved away from home and moved into a country that thrived on fresh, organic, wholesome food. I was inspired and also totally motivated. I had just finished some intense exams and moved across the world, and I realized I had gained a bit of weight. Personally, I wasn’t comfortable with it. It wasn’t the gaining weight that was my problem, but how I did it – I realized I put so much rubbish into my body, I emotionally ate, and I also ate what was easy to find and cheap. I never exercised and had every excuse in high school for not doing the scheduled physical activity classes.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago…I was in a gym class called body pump, which aims to work on your upper body. Listen ladies, my upper body is weak. I feel like every time I’m in that class I’ll leave and never come back. That day I think the instructor could tell the class was struggling and she yelled something along the lines of “when it burns it’s not time to stop, how do you expect to see results.” I can tell you my arms were burning and I probably dropped the weight – however, that sentence has not left my mind for weeks.

I think mentally, working out was becoming a pinch mundane for me, but at this moment I was reminded of how much I have learned in life through it. The grit and strength produced mentally and physically, and that it was so much more than losing weight or having a fit body.

1. When it hurts, it is not time to stop.
My workout instructor was completely right. The going may get tough, but you push till the end of the song. That’s how results occur – when you challenge and push yourself out of your comfort zone and you work out the weaker parts of you.

2. It’s consistency that counts.
Regular attendance: keep showing up even when you feel like there’s nothing to show up to, or even if you feel like you don’t wanna show up anymore. That may look like continuously sowing into someone’s life when they give you nothing in return, or praying for promises and dreams to be answered

3. Don’t always do it alone.
90 percent of the time I want to workout by myself, headphones in and just power through. But what I realized is that sometimes having people around you sweating together and struggling together is way more enjoyable than doing it yourself.

This is what working out has taught me, and I probably would never trade working out for a body that never fluctuates, because it has taught me discipline and strength and grit in ways I couldn’t imagine.