Fitness Interrupted: How I'm Finding My Way Back To The Gym
By Jess Vetter
After taking a year off (for absolutely no good reason) I have decided to re-enter my relationship with the gym. Prior to my year of slack, I had spent seven years with a regular fitness routine centered around lifting three times a week and getting cardio by doing several-mile runs or walks in my neighborhood. I invested a lot in my fitness: for several years, I had a personal trainer who came to my house twice a week to get me in shape. I loved feeling strong, I loved feeling somewhat coordinated, and I vainly loved the ridges I would see in my legs and arms when I flexed.
It seemed like a lifetime habit, a commitment I would always have. I mean, it would seem that something you’ve done for so long would be difficult to give up, right?
Then, one day I just quit. I had lots of little reasons—missing gym shoes, an unbearable winter, a really sick husband, a new house, a flare up in my elbow from overdoing it at burpees one day… none of those were real excuses. I kept thinking, it’s no big deal, I’ll get back into it. But as time stretches on, I find that those ridges I so loved are gone, I feel clumsy and awkward, and I’m weak. I hate feeling weak most of all.
So I've decided it's time to get back to it. With zero excuses, a lot of ‘saddlebag’ to lose and muscle to gain, I’m hitting the gym three times a week and slowly, but surely getting myself back in shape. Beyond just feeling better, I’ve set a few goals I want to hit to keep me motivated:
- Do a triathlon in 2015
- Fit back into all those pants at the far end of my closet
- Get ‘Michelle Obama’ arms
I’m no longer at my old gym with the awesome trainers monitoring my form as I execute the researched, tested routines centered around hypertrophy, power, and strength. That gym is now nine miles away and totally out of my teeny-tiny budget. My new gym is the local YMCA, an inexcusably convenient three blocks from my front door, where I am finding that there are some things you never forget about working out.
Some of them are awesome; like automatically using the proper form for a deadlift (even if you’re lifting 40 lbs less than you used to). Some of them you just have to cope with; like the people who forget to clean equipment after they’re done.
What I’m absolutely loving though, are the things I had forgotten about. I had forgotten just how amazing it feels to complete all your sets and step outside to the next part of your day. I didn’t remember that it was possible to have sore muscles that felt awesome anyway—because you knew you did something that would translate into more strength. How could it be possible that I just stopped doing something that felt so amazing?
I hope I’ve found it back. I guess the only way is to just keep doing it. Three times a week. Lift. Recover. Repeat.