Thursday, January 6, 2011

Comeback Kid

On November 17th, I publicly declared defeat at the gym. After over 10 years of being a productive gym go-er, I had just about given up. And then, everything clicked. It started off slow, and then built steam until the point where I no longer stressed about going to the gym, in fact, I enjoy it again.  Over the last month and a half I have chronicled the slow change in my behavior here, here, here, and here, but it took taking a step back to figure out what happened.

While I am no expert, I can share what worked for me.

For some reason that I still do not understand, the gym went from fun to a chore.  And so instead of getting all worked up about it, pushing myself to do something that I clearly did not want to do, and making myself crazy in the process, I took the pressure off. I stopped going to the gym for a short period of time and took that time to regroup and realign my thinking. It was clear right away that something needed to change.

Before I had met Josh, I was an after work exerciser. I would stop in at the end of the day, spend as much time as I wanted, meet up with friends, take a class, or just hang out. The gym was a social experience as much as it was a place to exercise. When Josh and I started working out together, we would go in the mornings before work because our schedules were always crazy at night. We also started running more, something I had never done before, to get fit for the wedding. Once the wedding was over, our move complete, and my new job started (allowing me a much more flexible schedule), our grueling runs in the morning were no longer top on my list. I was tired, unhappy, and not physically or mentally interested in being at the gym.

I needed a change, and Josh agreed to go along for the ride. I made 3 simple changes and could not be happier.

  1. I started going to the gym at night. I enjoyed working out after work. I liked ending my day at the gym. It helped me relax, allowed me to de-stress, and most importantly, it gave me an excuse to sleep in the in the mornings. It was very important for me to listen to my body and exercise when I was the most comfortable. 
  2. I started taking classes. I loved taking classes. They motivated me, kept me interested, and forced me to move for an hour straight. Most of all, they were fun. I was really excited when Josh said he would try some classes with me. We started spinning and both fell in love. Then came zumba, and well, you know the rest. We also added a muscle and lifting class. Adding in a few runs here and there and we created a well-rounded, very interesting, and still fun workout routine. Both Josh and I were happy with this and saw positive changes all around.
  3. I made gym friends. At our old gym I had Josh to work out with and help motivate me and didn't think I needed gym friends. I was wrong. Having gym friends and creating an exercise community was key for me. I needed to be held accountable to a group of people who were not my husband. It also made going to the gym more fun because I wanted to see our new friends. 

I am proud to say that the changes we made have helped me get back into a good gym routine. I am happy, more motivated, and best of all, we are both seeing results we did not anticipate...and we are having fun doing it!

What motivates you at the gym? Have you made any changes recently that have given you better results?

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