Returning to the gym – good intentions and affirmations!

Returning to the gym – affirmations and good intentions! 

In late April, COVID-19 restrictions lifted just enough to allow us all to get back to the gym – YES !

This last year has been extremely difficult for people like me with a semi-casual, semi-passionate relationship with fitness. I love the gym for the motivation that the environment supplies, the chance to jam to music or podcasts, and really to get a sweat on with the help of useful tools and equipment. Being at the gym offers me all of these things that a home workout or a run outside can, and allows me to be so much more productive.

The first day gyms were open, I religiously opened and closed my PureGym app, tracking how many people were there at any given time. As much as I was hungry to get back to a consistent exercise routine, I also didn’t want to mix with too many sweaty people. As much as cases are down, COVID isn’t gone completely. Yet. 

As I return to the gym, I am putting a focus on patience with myself: I’m not one for a home workout and as 2020 kept me largely indoors, I haven’t been the most active in the last few months. It’s been a while since I lifted weights and really practiced cardio, so I’m not going to expect my personal best in the next few weeks. I don’t anticipate bouncing back. 

I’m pushing myself, but not so much that I’ll burn myself out or exhaust myself and be put off from going back the next day or week. I’m making a strict effort not to set myself up for failure. Last week I was feeling ill, and as much as I wanted to go for a workout when I was feeling on the mend, I recognised that going wouldn’t have been a smart move. Not only would I have been pushing myself while I’m still not feeling 100%, but I’d be exposing others in the gym to my germs while we’re still in a pandemic.

This all being said, though, through all of my workouts I tell myself one thing repeatedly: the best way to keep going is to not stop. Might sound redundant, I know, but when I’m slaving away on the crosstrainer or sweating as I try to pull up a weight, telling myself this is what ensures I do my last rep.

What this all means is I’ll be assigning myself less reps, and I’ll be walking more than I’ll be running – but it also means that I’m going to have a higher chance of meeting my goals, which will encourage me to extend my goals and meet them again when I’m ready. I’ll be paying attention, and feeling for when my regular weights feel lighter, and when I’m not as breathless after a run, and I’ll be upping everything at my own pace.

It might be a slow process, but it helps that I genuinely like being at the gym. Seeing as I’ve gone a year without it, I have this refreshing feeling of being able to partake in something I’ve gone without. It used to be something I felt I had to do, and now it’s something I’ve missed. So, if it’s a slow process, I welcome it. That will mean more time for the podcasts I like, and more morning me time where I get to zone out and simply enjoy moving.

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