I have been working out at least twice a week, with a trainer in a gym for 4 years and 9 months; the last year of that it has been 3 times a week. Two to three hours a week, lifting weights, getting stronger, more fit, so that I can feel great the rest of the week doing what I love to do. However, since injuring my ankle 5 months ago I have not taken any time off from the gym. I stopped running for a few weeks, but I still showed up and rowed or rode the Air Dyne, and did what I could in the gym while my ankle healed.
But since May I have been in pain-some kind of soreness and body pain where I would spend all week working out and then spend 2-3 days feeling sore and what my coach refers to as “beat up.” At first it was just a day or 2 so that by Monday I was ready to start the process all over again. But since I started running 3-4 times a week in addition to strength and conditioning (the month of September) it has been taking a solid three days for my body to feel ok enough for me to go for a jog or do a few pushups. And I am still sore. I am moving from run to run and session to session feeling, well, “beat -up.”
For months now my trainer has been trying to work with my schedule and create a strength and conditioning plan that works, and for months we have not been able to stick to the plan. It has been frustrating for me to feel incapable and less than my best version of myself, and I am sure I have been taking it out on him and everyone else around me.
My husband tells me I act like going to the gym is my duty and a necessity, and not something I love to do. I used to look forward to my workout sessions and now I am at the point where I almost dread them.
This weekend I had great fun running a 5k road race Saturday am, and then spent the rest of the weekend barely able to move because my back and abs were so sore.
For a few months now I have been thinking about taking a break from the gym because I didn’t feel like it was a good fit for me. The reality is, my body needs a break from the gym because I need a rest-the kind of rest that can only come from dialing back on the massive amounts of weight being lifted. Does that mean I will stop moving? Absolutely not. I have a gym in my basement, complete with squat rack, treadmill and kettle bells.
But I don’t need to be training three times a week with a trainer. I do not need to feel part of a community to work out, I do not need to get stronger, I do not need to lose weight and get in shape. I need to get back to remembering what it feels like to feel good and strong and pain free. I need to honor my body and choose a workout schedule based on what my body needs. I need to maintain my fitness so that I can enjoy my runs and hikes and all the activities I love to do.
So I am taking a break. I haven’t NOT gone to the gym in nearly 5 years; 4 years since I lost a ton of weight and started running. I am a bit scared and unsure because my biggest fear is that I will slowly start to go back to my old habits which included sitting, eating and not moving.
But if my gym’s philosophy and mission mean anything, then it means I have learned to sustain a healthy active lifestyle on my own, with no need for a trainer telling what to do and when to do it. I have made the decision to take a break on my own-that is the first step. I am hoping with a couple months rest I will feel like my old self again (no pun intended) and will want to get back to the gym to learn something new and get stronger.
We shall see. I will keep you posted. This is definitely an experiment, but that is what it is all about-figuring stuff out so we truly can be the best version of ourselves.