I started going to the gym regularly in February 2018. It was a decision I took because of my health. I have been working out off and on for the past 10 years.
I took a long break after I had a major surgery done in 2013. After my surgery, I struggled to get back to my fitness routine to no avail.
I somehow told myself that I would exercise at home and still lose weight but I was lying to myself. I started adding weight in 2015 because I relaxed and left my fitness lifestyle to chance. I went from a size 12 to size 20 in three years.
I kept buying new clothes to fit my current size. My face was blowing up. I didn’t think much about it until I couldn’t climb a flight of stairs without panting.
I weighed a 110kg. I started feeling pain in my knee. If I sit for a long time, it was a struggle to stand up. I stopped snapping pictures because I didn’t like the way I looked. People who know me well know how I love posing for pictures and making videos.
It was a dark time in my life. One day, I tripped and fell. I nursed that wound for a long time and that was when it hit me. If I don’t go back to the gym, watch what I eat, and live a active life, I would die gradually.
Nobody told me to hit the gym. I just woke up one morning, walked to the gym I have always used in my area and paid for three months. It was one of the hardest things I have done in my life.
I struggled to exercise. I got up every morning and reminded myself why I had to do what I was doing. It was hard seeing how other people easily did their exercises while I was struggling with the treadmill.
Gradually, my body started getting used to the new routine. I started feeling lighter. I started smiling again. I started looking at myself in the mirror again without hating what I saw.
I slowly gained my confidence back. I took time to prepare my meals and calculated my calories but I still noticed that I wasn’t losing weight the way I should.
I started researching on the topic and did a body type test online. I found out that for people with my body type, it was easier to gain weight than to lose it.
I read about the kind of exercises I should be eating, the kinds of food I should be eating and those I should completely avoid. It’s not easy learning that I must stop eating white carbohydrates when hot eba and rice are my favourite foods.
I was determined to lose weight though and six months down the line, I started seeing a visible difference in my body. I started feeling lighter. My clothes started getting loose. I had to change my wardrobe again because my previous clothes looked like sacks.
My confidence level was over the roof. I felt beautiful again, heck, I am beautiful. It made me feel good to lose over 20kg of my body weight at the gym in one year.
Right now, I weigh 87kg and I am still working hard to get to 80kg, that is if hot eba and rice plus chilled Pepsi will allow me be great.
You can imagine my shock when some men who knew me started telling me to stop going to the gym. They told me that I was okay the way I looked and that I shouldn’t overdo things.
One guy in particular who was my friend told me one day that he was sure I was going to the gym five times a week to look for men to seduce. According to him, a woman doesn’t take exercising at the gym so seriously if she doesn’t have a lover there.
To say I was dumbfounded was an understatement. These men who are supposedly educating believe that women both married and single go the gym to look for men to have sex with. It sounded strange to me because my own mission at the gym was to lose weight, look better and live a healthier life.
Does this mean some ladies don’t come to the gym to look for guys? No. It is not every woman who goes to the gym regularly to exercise that is looking for man to ‘gbensh’. This generalization is hurting relationships and marriages.
I met a woman at the gym back in 2018 when I took my fitness serious and she kept complaining about her husband and how he kept accusing her of cheating on him because she works out at the gym. He would lock the door and tell her to stay at home to exercise.
He would complain about her gym wear about how tight it looked and how she had a mission to seduce small boys in the gym. He would accuse her of eating healthy foods and preparing junk for him so that he would die young and she will be free to run around town with small boys.
One day, he trailed her to the gym to come spy at her. He said he wanted to catch her red handed but he was disappointed. It was even one of the instructors at the gym who saw him when he was peeping through the window and asked if he could help him. He told the guy that he was spying on his wife who was cheating on him with a small boy at the gym.
The instructor asked him his wife’s name and he mentioned it. He went and called the woman to take her husband home so that he won’t chase away prospective clients from the gym. It was a shameful thing to behold.
This woman broke down in tears when she saw him and started asking him many questions. She made a scene in front of the gym because she was tired and frustrated about the way the man accuse her of cheating with someone in the gym.
The only thing she wanted to do was to lose weight, keep fit and take care of her children. That was the last time I saw that woman at the gym. This happened in 2019. I pray and hope she is okay wherever she is. It is not easy dealing with an insecure man.
I met another woman at the gym this year who kept complaining about the same thing. I do most of my exercise routines with this mother of two but her phone won’t stop ringing. Her husband keeps calling her every 15 minutes to know what she is doing at the gym.
Most times, I record her exercises so that the man won’t kill himself with high blood pressure thinking someone was sweating heavily on top of his wife while the innocent woman is just busy working out. Lately, she stopped picking his calls and told him to join her at the gym if he’s convinced she is coming to the gym to cheat.
I have met and interacted with different women who have embraced the fitness lifestyle and many of them have the same story. Their husbands continuously complain about them spending an hour in the gym four to five times a week.
These men claim women who go the gym are whores who are looking for men to sleep with. Some married men buy gym equipments at home so that their wives won’t go to the gym to exercise and this makes me laugh. It’s not the same thing.
Working out at home alone, everyday is boring. Doing the same thing over and over again alone is not fun. It’s not the same as going out, feeling the morning breeze on your face, interacting with people when you work out and seeing people who encourage you when you feel like giving up is pure bliss.
For someone who doesn’t have an active social life, going to gym is the only time they have to meet and interact with other people, so why would a man take that away from his woman because of his own issues?
If a woman is fat, problem. If she loses weight, problem. If she starts going to the gym to lose weight, stay well toned and fit, problem. What do men really want? Some tell their wives that they love them fat but secretly loathe their body sizes. But because the voices in their heads keep telling them that married women go to the gym to cheat, they emotionally blackmail these women into remaining fat, unfit and unhappy.
Because of their own selfish reasons, these men tell their wives not to exercise. They don’t care about the many health challenges that accompany obesity, they just want to control their women.
Dear married Nigerian men, why do you think women who go the gym regularly, go there to cheat? Is that what you guys do at the gym? Is this a case of reverse psychology or are your fears valid?
I need to know why you people think this way because I don’t understand it. For me, nothing will stop me from exercising at the gym. I want to look and feel better until I leave this world.