Some of us will never know the questions of self-worth and humbling experiences that we feel when we walk into a gym. Everyone seems to have a plan, to have goals, to know what they are doing. Some of the people look like they may even be able to lift me with one arm, while others have biceps that probably weigh more than me, soaking wet.
I don’t have much in common with many of these people. I am, after all, an average sized twenty-three year old, who, like many, have avoided the gym for as long as possible due to sheer intimidation. For a while, I could only run early in the morning before the sunrise, as I didn’t want to be seen sweating and huffing for breath in the daylight.
So, it is safe to say that me and the men and women that fill the gyms are different. However, it is also essential to talk about the thing that we have in common- and, no matter where you fall on the fitness spectrum, you probably have it too- and that is the mindset of a winner.
You see, one thing that took me a while to figure out is that these people aren’t born strong; they became strong. Sylvester Stallone wasn’t born as Rocky, and Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn’t born as Mr. Olympia. It took years to accomplish; and in those years, many minutes seemed like they would never end, and countless workouts routines that seemed too irrelevant or too difficult.
But they, like all of us, began with the mind of a winner. They started with the insatiable want to better themselves, to push themselves. They endured the pain, they witnessed the gain, and they became icons of the bodybuilding world.
And we need to understand that, though it may have been a brief moment or long ago time, even the strongest of the strong and the biggest of the big have felt like they couldn’t surpass the obstacles. Though I’ve never spoken to Schwarzenegger or Stalone, I am sure that they have had moments of doubt, as have I, and as have you. I am sure that they missed a day at the gym, or had a meal that they later regretted. I do not doubt that they have been intimidated, or nervous, or confused as well.
So when I think about what it takes to be a winner, to be a champion, sure, not a single person can doubt that the hours at the gym, missed dinners, early mornings, or painful muscles the day, after all, sculpt us into the winners we are. But, it is more than that too; it is a state of mind, and a desperate plea to start somewhere. It is an attitude of willingness and humility, a never-ending drive to grow and to succeed and to ask for help when it is needed to beat all of the odds and become one of the greats.
So next time you begin to feel out of place at the gym, or intimidated, as many of us beginners may, remind yourself of the facts. Nobody was born pushing the limits of human strength; instead, it was cultivated over years of hard work, discipline, and sweat. And, most importantly, never forget- it all began with the mindset of a winner.
My name is William Bauer, and I am a full time student at Sacramento City College. I have recently been admitted to transfer to University of California, Davis, for political science. I hope to work in some sort of nonprofit or advocacy field, fighting for the individuals that may not have anyone else to fight for them. I quit high school at 15, and traveled around the country doing odd jobs, where I met people from all walks of life, many who were enduring hardships. It was then that I decided I have an obligation to give back. I began community college again, instantly making straight A’s and being presented with different Honors. After several semesters at community college, I was admitted to Davis. It is an incredible opportunity, and outside of working two jobs and saving every penny I can, I need to pursue every single opportunity to receive financial aid possible.