So first off, when i began at the gym in spring/summer 2012 i first dd a whole bunch of swimming, and then i began doing a whole bunch of running on the treadmill, then a whole bunch of time on the crosstrainer. Sometime i began doing a whole bunch of core work, still having no idea what a squat or a deadlift was. Then sometime i began doing the gymclasses such as bodypump, circuit training and even tried bodycombat. Then i began doing both cardio and and gymclasses (i.e too much for my poor body to handle). Eventually i began to progress into using weights and did less gym classes and started trying to do my own strength training... a whole bunch of bicep curls and tricep dips. I stayed in the "girls strength training" area for a long time and still did a whole bunch of cardio until i decided to try going into the bigger strength training area where i began to use machines and heavier weights and decided to cut down and limit cardio to just HIIT or walks. Overtime i progressed with weights, tried new exercises, felt more confident and found that i loved strength training alot more than hours of cardio. I felt stronger and more capable, but i still loved running so still did that regularly. And over the years i have done functional/outside training and boxing, tried crossfit, changed gyms several times, tried new exercises, felt more confident in the gym and know that it is my passion.
I first began strength training around the start of 2013 roughly a year after joining the gym, and my main intention was to get bigger arms to balance out my body as i felt both weak and sort of unbalanced, i.e i still had very thin arms compared to the rest of my body. After that i have never really had any goals with my exercise or workouts, they have been therapy and anti stress for me. They have been fun and something that i love doing and love getting better, but i have never put 100% into reaching a goal not a physical goal or a progress goal. But also i have pains in my hip, lowerback and knees that flare up at times which hinder me from doing certain exercises or progressing as much as i can/would like to have. But also that i love doing a mix of cardio and strength training so i have never wanted to give up cardio completely (and when i did try that my CF health declined quite a bit as i was just doing very low intensity strength training to build muscle... so i realised after that, that i couldnt actually leave out cardio, but i have times where i do more and times where i do less of it). Also considering that i eat roughly 3000-3500kcal a day just to maintain my weight ive never really eeaten that huge surplus of calories which my body might need to really gain muscle/make progress. But like i have written - and mentioned plenty of times - i have never had the intention or goal to workout just to gain muscle or to change my appearance. I love the way i look and i workout for fun, because of enjoyment and gaining strength and being more capable are just positives and benefits of doing what i love.
HOWEVER, i am only human so i cant deny that a small part of me is a little saddened that the amount of progress strength wise - and physical muscle mass i have gained - over my almost 5 years (4 years of strength training, however only really 3 of "actual" strength training) is pretty much the same progress some girls make within a year. Its silly to feel this way because the progress i have made is MY progress and based on the factors in MY life and due to my body and how it works. I am sure if i had decided that i will go 100% in for a goal whether it was to change my appearance or to reach a certain goal such as deadlift 100kg i would reach it, but i have never done that.
Where am i going with this post? Well, the more i thought about this - and how i was feeling - the more i realised how silly and worthless it was. To feel sad and to compare myself to others? That is a waste of time and energy and not something i want to spend my thoughts or energy doing. However i know that MANY others do this type of comparison, and some struggle with it daily, and all i can say is that it is NOT WORTH IT. Everyone is different and you should not compare your progress - whether its workout progress, recovery progress, school progress, work progress etc - to anyone else. Just like you shouldnt compare your life to others. I know many think they should have their life together by the age of 25 or have a great job by the age of 30 or to have had a first kiss by the age of 16 or first boyfriend/girlfriend by 18 etc but thats not how life works. Everyone has different lives and things happen at different times.
So what am i going to do now? Well i am going to be happy over the progress i have made. Happy over the fact that i have found balance with exercise and do it out of joy, not out of compulsion, compensation or hate for my body. And i am going to be thankful that i CAN exercise and hope that i can continue exercising for the rest of my life and most of all be thankful for my body. And of course, not compare myself or my progress to anyone elses, instead just be thankful and happy for what i CAN do and the progress i have made which is both physical and mental!!!