Last week I went back to my gym. It had been a long time since I last stepped foot in the doors – almost exactly six months. Time flies when you break from routine!
Here’s the back-story…
During the winter I had gotten into a good groove of consistently attending group exercise classes at my local community center. A typical week included four days of classes broken down into: two cycling, two yoga, one each of pilates and strength training. (The other three days I did cardio at home and strength training with my mom and our trainer.) Then came a planned hiatus for a Spring Break ski vacation. But the little break became a long break thanks to a bone break.
And my gym membership lapsed as I languished at home. I was unable to lift my arm up high enough to even type on my keyboard, let alone reach for bike handlebars in a cycling class. My doctor told me no weight bearing for at least the eight weeks it would take for the bone to heal, and then until I was pain-free. And those eight weeks grew into several months as I started physical therapy to gain back mobility and strength. No point returning to a gym when you can’t lift your arm, let alone weights.
Fast forward a few months… I was well on the road to recovery. It was time to start spreading my wings again. But not at the gym. Because while I was sitting home recovering, the seasons had changed and my window of opportunity for outdoor biking was passing me by. So with my arm and shoulder almost healed, and my doctor’s okay, I cautiously climbed on my bike and began pedaling. And my almost daily rides took precedence over exercise classes as I made up for lost mileage with my husband by my side. I kept telling myself there was no point returning to the gym until I was ready to get off the bike and back to several classes a week. I wanted to wait until the timing seemed right to get back in the groove, whatever the groove might be. Maybe that was an excuse; maybe that was logical thinking.
It is hard to restart. Hard to go back to something I haven’t done in so long. Hard to walk into a place where I feel like people might be looking at me and wondering where I had been. Hard to find the mojo. Hard to remember to watch the clock and get out the door at a certain time each morning. But mostly, hard to start over again, especially that first time back. Hard to just get there.
But I finally got there… and I was so glad I did! Once I got over my initial few moments of discomfort and awkwardness, it was great. My instructor saw me in the hall and immediately asked after me, concerned but not judgmental, clearly having wondered where I had gone and why. The class was more crowded than I remembered with very few familiar faces. (Where did all the other faithful participants go?) The music was new; there had been no Lady Gaga blaring last winter! But the rest was like a familiar old friend, picking up after time apart like we had never left off. And I was glad to be there and glad that I had finally returned. Just like with most things in my life, just getting started is the hardest part, then momentum builds. Holds true for me for dieting, working on family scrapbooks, cleaning the house, lots of things. The hardest part was behind me – I had made it back to the gym. Rebooted. Started over. And the second time was easier.
What have you put off doing? Do you find it hard to restart when you have taken a break or been away from something?