By Jamie Walsh
I used to consider myself very active. I played sports all year round during high school and that’s all I needed to stay in shape. After coming to college, I stopped cold turkey. I couldn’t find the ambition to go to the gym or join an intramural sports team. My lack of activity allowed the freshmen fifteen to sneak right up on me and with little to no motivation moving forward, I continued to gain weight throughout my sophomore and junior year. This is exaggerated, but it reflects how I felt every time I looked in the mirror for a while.
I’m not happy with my body but I’ve accepted that it’s a challenge for anybody to love their body. This school year, I thought that if I was able to go the gym every day just to stay healthy and not focus so much on losing the weight, I’d be more motivated to go. In case you’re wondering, that motivation lasted two weeks.
Temple offers great fitness classes that I unfortunately did not take advantage of my first two years here strictly because I hate to exercise. I decided to change that, or at least attempt it. I challenged myself to attend a different fitness class every day until (maybe) I found something I liked.
Monday – Cycle Core
I’m not even going to pretend I enjoyed any part of this. This is a 35 minute cycling workout followed by 25 minute core workout. Halfway through I decided that this was a stupid idea. While I was dripping in sweat, the girl next to me was smiling as the course got increasingly harder. I’m not sure how anyone smiles through that much pain but I can confidently say cycling is not for me.
Tuesday – Full Body Toning
As much as I hated Monday, I found myself back at the gym on Tuesday. Tuesday actually ended up being a lot better. Full Body Toning is a 50 minute class with a mix of weights and endurance building exercises to build muscle strength. These felt like the longest 50 minutes of my life but I felt amazing afterwards which brought me back Wednesday.
Wednesday – Core and More
I decided to take it easy Wednesday and chose the shortest class offered, Core and More for 30 minutes. “Easy” was clearly not in the workout description for a short session that’s designed to target your midsection. I knew after a 30 minute workout I would be sweaty but I thought I would at least be okay to go right to class after. Again, I was wrong. The class was certainly a challenge and while I’ve come to accept the fact that I will never be able to do a plank, it was worth it.
Thursday – Hip Hop
I have taken one Zumba class in my eighth-grade gym class. I was a cheerleader but I wasn’t very good. Dancing has never exactly been my forte. But I found myself front row, attempting to roll my body in ways I’m still not sure are possible. This may have been the easiest workout but it was by far the most fun. I’ve found myself returning to this class every week with my roommate. It was by far the most I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone during this week but the most rewarding.
Friday – Tabata and Yoga
Since I don’t have class on Fridays, it usually turns into a day of ultimate procrastination so I made sure my exercise challenge wouldn’t change my preferred pace. To avoid doing my homework like every other Friday, I attended two classes today. I started the day off with Tabata. I really should have Googled what Tabata was before taking the class. A 30 minute class with a 2:1 workout to recovery interval, it was an intense class full of BOSU balls and of course, complaints. I survived with minimal injury (only dropping the ball on my foot once). I’d call this one a success.
To end the week off right, I took my very first yoga class. I’ve heard so many stories of how calming and centering yoga is for your body. After a week full of fast paced, loud music workouts, I was not prepared for how slow the class went. I wish I could find all the benefits yoga has to offer but I don’t think I’ll be attending another yoga class for a while.
There you have it! I survived a week of long journey in the gym at Temple University. Unfortunately, I haven’t caught the fitness bug yet like I thought I would. By the end of each day, I felt great but exhausted.
This journey, although only a week long, taught me amazing things about my body. I learned I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for. My body can take so much more than imagined, making me understand that being tired isn’t an excuse. I can’t keep selling myself short and feeling bad for myself. I’m capable of so much more, I just need to put my mind to it.
By Jamie Walsh
Growing up, it's uncommon for a little girl for to skip the princess phase. Walking around the house in crowns and poofy dresses, pretending I ruled the vast and mountainous land that was my living room. The idea of a princess, particularly in Disney movies, is a girl who is beautiful but helpless and weak. That is until Moana.
Thursday night, instead of running out of house late at night and regretting the decision Friday morning as we try to get up in time for class, my twenty year-old roommates and I snuggled up on the couch and turned on the newest Disney princess film Moana.
We found inspiration in the little island girl that went out to save the world.
“She’s trying to find herself, she’s not trying to find a man. I think that’s why people were thriving over it,” said my friend Katie. “It’s not like any other Disney film where the princess is in need of a man to fix her problems.”
“I’m trying to do both. I’m trying to multitask,” joked Liz.
I think it’s important to note that in order to be an independent woman, it’s not necessary to reject a relationship. However, Moana represents the woman who does not rely on a man to fix her problems.
In most princess films, the message is based solely on the fact that women are in need of a man to protect and provide all essentials of life. Moana turned the basic timid princess into an empowered and powerful woman.
Everyone, even her father, attempted to tear her down but nothing stopped Moana. The only person who pushed her to her full potential was her grandmother. Women empowering women is a critical storyline that we need to see represented more to combat the negative stereotypes of women in competition, either for love or power.
With her grandmother’s support, Moana’s determination and courage soared. After facing defeat and faltering, her grandmother reminded her of her heritage, her strength, and her innate power. The culminating line “I am Moana!” as a personal rallying cry is a rare of example of a woman’s pure existence as being the source of her power.
Together, we also highly noted how Moana was portrayed as an average sized woman. It was refreshing to see a woman confidently stand in her body and did not have a waist like Tinkerbelle. It’s harmful for young girls to see only little waists and thin legs and unrealistic expectations of what a woman’s body should look like.
I never really enjoyed animated movies and ignored all the hype surrounding Frozen and decided to do the same for Moana. Until now, I had not seen the movie and didn’t imagine it could have this much effect on society as a whole. If Disney continues to put out movies such as Moana, society has a chance to change its perspective as a whole. If we teach children from the beginning that men and women are and should be treated equal, slowly society can change its ways, one mind at a time.
Jamie Walsh is a junior at Temple University and a lover of toaster strudel, beluga whales, and all things Joe Biden. She has a passion to write and explore the all possibilities Philadelphia has to offer as a student, a woman, and a dreamer.