Over the past few months, my fitness regimen has all but fallen apart and I’m shamelessly blaming my decision to move home!
When I was in Dallas full time, I was never more than a 15-20 minute drive from my favorite studios. I’d use my CorePower membership and ClassPass package to schedule weekly workouts, even visiting multiple studios a day. I had systems and routines in place that made getting to class on time and with everything I needed.
Then I moved back to the neighborhood where I grew up, in Queens, NY and completely fell off.
Well, two weeks ago I made the decision to fully jump back into action with a “no excuses” approach to working out.
*cue the most humbling fitness experiences I’ve ever had*
After taking so much time off from my consistent schedule, I couldn’t believe how much my body had changed—my strength, definition, and stamina have really taken a hit! If I thought getting in the mindset to working out like normal was hard, pushing past feelings of defeat after an extended break is even harder! With my struggle in mind, here are four key lessons I learned from recommitting to my fitness regimen.
Lesson 1: Some workouts are easier to jump back into than other
While my body has always reacted to different workouts in different ways (i.e. levels of soreness, exhaustion, stress) I quickly learned that some workouts are easier to jump back into than others! On the first day I committed to working out, I got up and ran 4 miles with no problem. A week later, I attended a weight lifting class and couldn’t lift nearly as much as I could when I was in my best shape. And, to be honest, I was really disheartened (and, for some reason, embarrassed) by my regression. Like, why am I struggling to lift the same weight I could a few months ago?! Why am I having such a hard time getting into this pose?
A hard stop to my level of physical activity, for even such a short period of time, has impacted my body in a variety of ways. While I was able to jump right back into running and hot pilates, working back up to the same strength and flexibility levels that carried me during CrossFit and yoga classes is going to take a bit more effort.
Action: Continue to diversify my fitness schedule, but dial it back a notch in the areas I’m newly struggling in. As much as I hate it, it’s important that I take it easy in those tougher classes to prevent injury and strain.
Lesson 2: Keep the blinders on
Ok, I know this is incredibly obvious, and something that kind of goes without saying, but comparison is seriously the thief of joy…and workout progress!
When I made it back to classes that first week, I had the HARDEST time not watching other people and using them as a benchmark. And, of course, my Instagram has not made that any easier!
That girl is so much stronger than me! Oh my gosh, she is so much more flexible than I am! She can lift XYZ weight so easily! WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?!
Since picking up where I left off, I’ve been caught myself using other people’s progress and ability as evidence of my own inconsistency and failure. There are so many people who are better/further along/more developed than me because I’m CLEARLY not working hard enough and don’t want it bad enough.
Self sabotage is real y’all! And if I’m not careful, focusing on how far I am from where I “should” or “could” be, I’ll talk myself into believing there’s no point in trying to workout at all!
Action: Remember why I’m working out—not because I want to be the strongest, most toned, most ripped person out there, but because it makes me feel good! And beating myself up about my body and comparing myself to every stranger in the gym does not make me feel good.
Lesson 3: Making it is a reason to celebrate!
Making my way to a workout class is not nearly as convenient as it once was. There are so many days when I fail to coordinate all the details that go into making it to a fitness class and end up frustrated and disheartened. So when I do make it happen—successfully squeeze time for a workout on my Outlook calendar, pack a bag with gym/yoga clothes and shower essentials, and navigate public transportation to make it class on time—it’s important to hype myself up!
Acknowledging the effort that goes into showing up, and celebrating myself for putting in that effort has made a consistent fitness regimen seem within reach. If I made it to a 6:00pm Pilates class last Tuesday, what’s stopping me from making the same class tomorrow?!
Action: No matter how tough the workout, show myself some grace for showing up! Make a point of sharing my small wins and needs for motivation with my accountability partners, who will happily cheer me on.
Lesson 4: Just get started…and keep going!
Every day I wake up, mentally stable and able bodied, I have an opportunity to work toward my goal. Instead of thinking too deeply about the missed opportunities of yesterday and last week, recognizing each day as a fresh start helps me move forward without guilt or regret. So whether it’s been two days or two months since I worked out last, I’m going to jump on every opportunity to take ownership of my health and wellness.
At the end of the day, I don’t have a fitness “destination” or timeline to work toward—I just want to be the best and healthiest version of myself every day! My desire to be fit is a commitment to my future self and family. I want to be around to see them, of course, and I’m willing to sacrifice sleep, convenience, and self doubt to make it happen.
Action: Do what I can to make today count. Be sure to mentally “check” myself when I get down about missed classes or opportunities to stretch, run, or lift. My regimens and routines won’t ever be perfect, so get rid of expectations of perfection.