What happened when I went back to the gym…

I became a pretty steady gym goer starting in October of last year. (By pretty steady I mean, I wasn’t going one week and then waiting six months to go again.) I was going 4-5 days a week, every single week. Aside from when I’d have my period and be crippled over unable to move for 1-2 days. Thankfully most of those days aligned with the days the gym was closed. For me, the gym became my comfort zone. It became this sanctuary where I could go and release every ounce of stress or discomfort from the day and go home feeling fresher before going to sleep and waking the next day to do it all over again.

I know this doesn’t sound like much to those gym goers who have gone every day for 5 years, but for my own personal life, this is a lot. I went for two months without missing many days of training, and then the New Year came. The downside to the New Year and even a little of Christmas is all of the family visiting and cooking. That’s where my diet slacked quite a bit, was when holidays hit and everywhere you turned food loaded with butter or cooked in grease or sugar loaded was staring you in the face begging to explore the inside of your stomach.I still managed to keep up with the gym through Christmas, and even most the time after New Year’s. (We went out of town to visit the boyfriend’s family, which helped me rationalize taking unnecessary days off from the gym- even though I did walk a few times down there.) The idea of the New Years crowd at the gym gave me anxiety, but I still went as I had already faced so much anxiety by getting back into the gym in the first place. It’s still amusing to think back on the New Year’s crowd and compare it to now.

Now my gym that I go to is actually a (really nice) fitness center inside of the local High School. This means that it operates on school days. If the school is canceled, or after school activities are canceled then the gym gets closed. I live in the North country and the last few weeks of January and many days in February we had some crazy weather. The High school was having snow days or closing after school events left and right. I started slacking once that started happening. On top of that, I was rationalizing not going for a couple of other reasons.

  1. The supervisor of Tuesdays and Thursdays is a certified PT. I paid him to write me up a program that I could use to start really working on my fitness goals and get to where I want to be. I’m grateful beyond words that he was willing to do this, but I have to admit that his program makes me very anxious to do around other people. He has me using a foam roller for a few stretches at the beginning and end of it, and that alone gives me anxiety because I’m almost embarrassed doing it. Plus I fear doing things wrong and having him see that. Even though I’m well aware that he would help me and that’s the point.
  2. I added this man on facebook to follow his fitness page and just to be friends with him. It was this way that I found out he’s also friends with my rapist. Who I’ve gotten more comfortable being around as I was forced to be when HE started going to the gym. My place. Though seeing my PT friends with him just gives me anxiety that I can’t even understand myself.

So for these two reasons I’ve been rationalizing not going to the gym basically every day of February (and the last few days of January). It’s been bad. However, on 2/19 I started to get my healthy eating back on track. It was a difficult thing to do as my mindset had gone to shit when I stopped going to the gym. It was more of a depressing thought to give up all this fatty, greasy food I was devouring (and somehow still not gaining, just maintaining weight) every chance I got. I knew I had to just force myself into it and then I’d be good to go. I was right. All last week I ate very clean and healthy and have barely had any kind of splurging snacks. Last week the gym was also closed every day as the school was on February break, so it gave me a chance to put all of my energy directly on my healthy eating habits.

I had posted a blog explaining where I’d been from wordpress for nearly four months, and in that, I had mentioned that I planned to start back at the gym today. Only 4 or 5 people ever saw that blog, but for some reason the fact that I put it out there made me feel incredibly accountable for my words. So tonight at 6:20, I drove my ass right to the gym. It’s times like that when I feel as though I’m more or less on autopilot because I’m just sort of doing things before my brain has a chance to argue against them. It was a relief that it was indeed a Monday so it wasn’t the Tues/Thurs supervisor so that alone settled some of my anxiety. When I walked in I had this insane wave of peace kind of come over me. I felt like I had deeply missed that space. It helped to not see the rapist there tonight, I’ll admit, but even had he been there I probably would have felt a part of me just settle back in.

I was able to realize that my anxiety was controlling too much of me. It was taking such a hold on me that I was turning away from things I knew I could do. The nly thing is that I didn’t bring my gym bag in because part of me wasn’t 100% sure that I’d gotten the dates right and that it was open, so I didn’t want to look silly (thus making me anxious). I just grabbed my shoes and went inside.

The problem is that I’m essentially starting over, I’m taking a week to sort of remind each muscle group what it’s like is to use them again. This means that I’m going to not be doing my plan the PT had written for me at the gym. That plan is easier to do at home, than at the gym anyway. I’m incredibly anxious about going in tomorrow when he’s there. I’m also hoping that I can go in tomorrow because currently, my lady parts aren’t being all too friendly. It would appear they’re prepping the house for Aunt Flo to arrive and she’s just a cruel bitch who doesn’t like me to go to the gym when she’s in town. Tonight at the gym I started getting some cramps and nearly passed out. My throat tightened up and my vision got spotty. So I spent some time readjusting myself and resting, then finished up on some stationary bike cardio instead of continuing to weight train.

If I manage to be well enough to go tomorrow, my plan is to talk to the PT about how I have been absent from the gym due to anxiety.. and why. I’m going to discuss alternatives to my plan and see if I can find something else that will work for me. The good news is that going tonight reminded me of why I was going in the first place, and how good it feels to be back. So regardless of what my body does- once I’m well enough I’ll surely be returning 100%.

As always,
Peace, Love, and Light.


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