Last updated on February 24, 2020
With hiking season coming up, a rather long absence from strength training and the benefit of a humbling lesson while climbing some peaks in the Smoky Mountains last year, I decided it was time to go back to the gym. It’s funny though, most people have the motivation to do this, then lose it, then struggle bus it back into the weight room. I have the added benefit of a negative mental association with lifting weights as that’s what I was doing the night before my heart attack around five years ago.
Hell, I used to love it. The feeling of soreness, a little bit of pride when I stuck with it, and the camaraderie you almost always find in the gym with other people who share mostly the same goals. But after my event, I not only lost all that motivation but I sort of got re-wired in a way that I was afraid to pick up the weights again.
But yeah, so close to the end of last year I worked with a couple of trainers to see if I could find a match. I found that match up at a tragically named, well honestly — it’s a fine name, it just feels odd when I walk into the studio every time, but it’s an awesome little studio called Chiseled Gym. It’s quasi-private and pretty great for 1:1 sessions with a certified trainer. The workouts have been humiliatingly small but hey, I haven’t done this in a very long time and you have to start somewhere.
I asked Juan, the trainer I hired, to focus mostly on things I could do at home with dumbbells, a bench, and just bodyweight. So far it’s been a pretty rewarding process. I’m learning what it’s like to work out with an older body and building my routine back up slowly. I need to add running and biking back into my mix but that’s winter for me. The months where my motivation just dies. It’s always been like that for me hence the constant battle. Probably for a lot of us. Still, one thing that helps is setting your sight on a goal you want to achieve in a given year’s time span. Nothing huge but something like, for me, hiking the Dolly Sods or the Smokies again.
Also, give yourself a break. It takes a lot of effort to course-correct and make it through the day. Be kind to yourself here and allow for failure. Don’t be your worst enemy here. I swear if I could audibly hear what my brain says to myself I’d think that someone was out to pick a fight.
Track your results but don’t get overly obsessed either. Like wearing a fitness tracker, use it but don’t become glued to it. These kinds of articles remind me that, while I love my Garmin, I don’t have to wear it every single day to get benefit from it.
Allow yourself some treats and make rewards a priority. Some of mine have included some short camping trips, getting my ears pierced again, possibly getting a PA, continuing the tattoo work I started a couple of years back and so on.
Schedule some time for self-care beyond working out. Mine has included monthly massages with a guy named Bruce Weeden in German Village who I highly recommend. These aren’t make you feel good sessions. This guy has iron fists and basically beats your muscles with a hammer until they untangle like knots.
Finally, have fun and don’t make such a big deal out of this part of trying to live a more healthy lifestyle.
Next up, the worst part for me, diet. To be continued!