Being Scared of Starting Over

We’ve all done it.

We take a break from exercising for any number of reasons. Maybe we go on vacation, or have to leave town on business. Maybe we got sick or injured, or maybe it’s because the holidays rolled around and we were too caught up in the spirit of the season to make it to the gym.

It happens, no big deal. This doesn’t make you a bad person, it just makes you an average human living in today’s society.

But here’s the problem. We take the break and when it’s time to go back, something gets in the way. How’s that saying go?

“Life got in the way!”

It’s true, life does get in the way. But then it gets in the way again… and again… and again, until the next thing you know, you haven’t been to the gym, or the yoga studio, or  running for a long time, long time.

If you’re lucky, it’s only been for a month or so. But for some folks, it may have dragged on to be three or four months, maybe even six, or dare I say over a year!?!

Relax. You’re still okay in my book. It happens to us all, in fact I am in no position to throw stones at you because I live in the biggest damn glass house on the planet! In fact, here I am again. I haven’t run or been in the gym for a few weeks, (I’m being conservative in this estimate), and now I’ve decided that it’s time to get back to the program.

I’ve been in the gym once or twice in the last few weeks, and I did do a ruck march with my reserve unit last weekend, but all of those events had a significant amount of rest days in between them, and I’ve yet to create any type of solid fitness schedule yet.

Because of this, and because I’m not entirely new to the whole fitness thing, I know that It’s going to kick my ass for the first few weeks. So now,  I’m not only dreading going back to exercising … I’m downright scared.

Of course, this makes me an easy target for our old friend the Excuse Fairy. This bitch can see that I’m apprehensive and she’s all over me. She’s given me more reasons to sleep in, or go straight home after work instead of going to the gym, than I could fit in this post. What can I say? She’s good at what she does, it’s what she does for a living.

So how in the hell are we supposed to combat this? You know that those first few minutes on the treadmill is going to kick your ass. You have a mental image of yourself, not being able to feel your legs after your first CrossFit workout, lying in a puddle of what you hope is sweat. Heck, you can almost hear people laughing as they see you  walking like a zombie for three days after your first Pilates class.

I get it. These are all real fears and to be totally honest, they are legitimate. These things are going to happen when you start working out again. I’d like to tell you there’s a trick to avoiding this kind of pain and discomfort, but there isn’t. You’re just going to have to deal with it.

Here’s the reason why. If you don’t you’ll have to deal with another reality. Picture some hairy dude trying to give you mouth to mouth in the parking lot of a shopping plaza because your heart decided it was pissed off at you.  Imagine how much fun it will be to not be able to walk up a flight of stairs, or climb a hill with your grandkids. Better yet, get an image in your head about how cool you’ll look toting around your own personal bottle of oxygen, not because you were afflicted with some rare disease from the dark continent, but simply because you didn’t take care of yourself twenty years earlier.

Am I exaggerating? Sadly, no. Sure, some of  the lucky ones will dodge a bullet and live a long healthy life smoking a pack a day and never having to work out, but not many. The fact is there is no magic genie that is going to keep you in the same state of health you are in now. If we don’t take care of ourselves now, our health will continue to deteriorate with every year we get older. I’ve said it a hundred time before, but if you let the Excuse Fairy win now, today will be the healthiest you will be for the rest of your life.

So how do I beat this? It won’t be easy, but my plan has two parts:

First, I’m going to pick a day to start exercising  and build a schedule from that day forward. I have to schedule my workouts into my everyday routine, just like I do with my job. Most of us don’t  have the luxury to say “I’ll try to get to work sometime around 4:30 on Tuesday, maybe Wednesday if that doesn’t work out,”.  I know I don’t, so I  have to treat my workouts the same way. Set up a time every day and make a point to be there.

Next, I’m going to get others involved. I’m going to put my plan out there and let people know what I’m doing. This should  help hold me accountable. And not just folks that will support me, but I’m going to tell people who don’t think I can do it, just to prove them wrong. Sometimes I think I react to criticism better than I do support. In fact that’s kind of what started this blog. Regardless if I tell someone who supports me or someone who doesn’t, telling a real human is important, otherwise the only person I’ll be talking to is the Excuse Fairy, and she sucks.

So here I go.. out on the interweb for the entire world to hear. My new and improved fitness plan begins on September 15th, the anniversary of the day I joined the Army. It’s the perfect choice, since I got my ass kicked 33 years ago that day, I may as well do it again.

This is going to hurt, but I’m kind of looking forward to it. I’m still a little scared, but the thought of not being able to play with my granddaughter scares me a hell of a lot more.

Sometimes the biggest reasons to stay healthy are the smallest.


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