It has been a roller coaster of emotions the last couple weeks, and now that the dust has cleared, I can honestly say I think I have been experiencing withdrawal. I have not worked out with my trainer at the gym in 16 days; 5 days short of 3 weeks. Our next scheduled appointment is 3 days from now.
It all seemed okay at first, since week 1 was a vacation week; I golfed 4 days, ran on the beach, and ran a 10 mile road race, so I didn’t miss the weight training at all. I expected to get back to the gym the Wednesday I returned from vacation. Because of scheduling conflicts we could not work out a meeting time and that’s when things took a very bad turn. I had resumed my running plan, and just 3 weeks out from my half marathon you would think that would be enough, but I wanted to get back to strength training, and it just didn’t happen. I don’t go the the gym unless i am with my trainer.
I was an emotional wreck. I wanted to go to the gym, but I had no idea where to start. It suddenly was very apparent that I depended on my personal trainer for everything and I was paralyzed without him. By the time he sent me a generic workout to do I had lost interest altogether. What was happening?
In retrospect, looking back at my workout addiciton, I realized I was going through withdrawal. I was mean, short tempered, and not very pleasant to be around. Instead of going to the gym by myself and working out with the plan he gave me, I went home and sat on the sofa and watched television. I thought to myself, “This is it then, this is the end of that period in time I will look back on as my running years.”
I could not get motivated to do anything. I finally managed to get off the coach and do my tempo run and then decided to run a 5k race and tack on 8 miles after it. I felt better about my week, but realized how much I depend on my routine, and how I need to stick to it-trainer or not-in order to be my best.
Some empiracle research says it takes 21 days for a new habit to form and this may be true; it also seems to be relatively easy to forget about any benefits gained if the routine is broken, The brain is very happy to go back to old habits, even if they are not good for you. My brain seems very content now, to do nothing. It is as if I had never stepped foot in the gym.
After 3 weeks off, muscular strength starts to decline rapidly. Great. So the feelings I experienced of having wasted my time building my strength are not unfounded. By the end of week 2 I was over it. It has been so long I don’t even remember what the gym feels like.
I will head back to the gym again tomorrow on my own, 17 days since my last strength trianing session; just 4 days shy of 3 weeks. In my mind I am starting over. I am back to square one. I now know I need to honor my routine and not let someone else’s schedule dictate when I work out. I believe I will be better for it, but it was a hard lesson to learn.