After having my gym membership for nearly a month now, I finally decided to get back in the gym. I’m not going to sugar coat anything- there was procrastination, and tons of it. In all honesty, my son and I were sick, so going to the gym wasn’t going to happen. I did need a new sports bra, and the one I bought off of Amazon, needed to be returned. So those days can legitimately be counted for. However, the days surrounding those, were filled with many thoughts and emotions with getting back in the gym.
Many thoughts were about insecurities we feel when we start something new. Throw in feelings of self consciousness and judgement from others, and it’s safe to say one would stay holed up in the house. But you can’t stay there forever.
Pack Your Bags
On Monday, I had my gym bag packed and ready to go. I kept it in my car while I was at work, and promised that I was going to go when I got out. By 11am I had been on the fence with whether I was really going to get back in the gym that day or not. My nose was stuffed, my ears were plugged, post-nasal drip was trickling in the back of my throat. By 2pm I decided I wasn’t going to go to the gym. The last thing I needed to do was go to the gym and get discouraged about going in the first place.
So I made a plan to get back in the gym Tuesday morning. Afterall, I am off on Tuesdays so I could spend as much time in the gym as I wanted. I could go right after I drop my son off at school. I’ll dress in my gym clothes, grab my water bottle and never drive back to the house, but rather straight to the gym. Guess what? I did that!
On my drive to the gym, I can recount the thoughts of “get out of my way” and “I secretly hope I get stuck in traffic”. When I got there, I pulled into the parking lot and walked in like I’ve been going there every day for years. I mean, a year ago, I was going there every day! There was a guy sitting near the barcode scanner. I swiped my card and prayed that he didn’t see my bloated mugshot on my profile. Then I walked straight to the bathroom. After I got my belongings settled in a locker, I took a deep breath and made my way to the floor area.
Getting Back in the Gym
This is one of my favorite spots in the gym. I love grabbing a mat, foam roller, and 10lb plate and sitting on the floor. I spend the first 2 minutes searching for music to listen to that I know will get me pumped or at least keep my mind off the workouts.
Now we move on to stretches. I do a lot of stretching. It helps get the blood flowing to the muscles as well as mentally providing you with a “starting point” for your routine. My next favorite thing is the foam roller. The knobby tire looking foam rollers are probably the most misunderstood and least used objects at the gym, and I don’t know why. Foam rollers are so therapeutic to the muscles and really help break down the fascia that coats the muscle. The relief I get from using a foam roller on my back and buttocks is amazing.
Once the safe exercises were out of the way I picked up the 10lb plate and did twenty reps on each side of standing side crunches. I feel like I should have been sore after that, but I wasn’t. Oh! Here’s my favorite part!!! A good song came on and I felt like, “Guuuurl, you got this” so I decided to do weighted squats! Well, I was able to get to ten and then I needed to stop. Just to make it look like I meant to do them, I did another ten side crunches on each side, followed by five more squats.
I proudly decided to walk over to the free weight rack and picked up two 5lb dumbbells and did arm raises in three different styles. I targeted the tricep, bicep, and shoulder I was able to do three sets of ten. Although that move left my arms feeling like mush, I was feeling pretty good. I guzzled down some water and made my way over to the smaller cardio deck. I found my tried and true elliptical and climbed on top. Now, I’ve gotta admit, you would think I was scaling a baby rhino, because lifting my unathletic leg to climb aboard the machine felt like a was going to take the ride of my life. I don’t remember feeling like this a year ago. A year ago I would bounce on top of the machine and pep myself to a mile on that same elliptical.
I started Netflix and continued on an episode of Once Upon A Time. Oh, Netflix. If you are good for one thing (even though there are many) it’s keeping a girl occupied while she is running nowhere. I set the machine for ten minutes. I figured, I think I can live to ten, I can always go on if my stamina allows for it. Are you kidding me?! Two minutes in I was checking the timer to see how long I had done. That…. That right there, made me feel like shit. Even with no one around, or at the least having any idea what I was looking at or thinking, I was embarrassed. I can remember feeling a burst of energy after about five minutes. I struggled my way to the ten minute mark looking at the timer every so often.
Gym Session Complete
After my ride on the neverending elliptical, I grabbed my stuff from the locker room and headed to my car. I called my boyfriend to complain about my inadequacy at the gym. My failure of staying only 45 minutes, and completing ten minutes on the elliptical. His most encouraging voice rang out with a “Congratulations” and a “Way to go”. I’m driving and just thinking, “What is he so excited for? It’s not like I did anything special”. In his eyes, I did. I took the first step and dipped my toe in the water. I went back to the gym and lasted my first day back.
Since then there has been a second day. It’s felt similar to the first. There was still the pang of not being where I was a year ago. I did have a success though. I did the two extra minutes of the cool-down on the elliptical, for a grand total of twelve minutes! And again, my boyfriend had the same enthusiastic tone to his voice, this time cheering for those two extra minutes.
Today will be the third day I am getting back in the gym. And I am certain that there will be plenty more after that. Like my boyfriend says, “Every time you get back in the gym you get closer to where you were before”.
How does going to the gym make you feel?