The Challenge of REstarting

Remember that feeling when you first stepped into the gym? It was a mix of excitement and nerves, with a dash of determination thrown in. You were a blank canvas, ready to embark on a journey of fitness and self-discovery. But what happens when life throws a curveball, and you find yourself needing to hit the reset button? Getting REstarted can often feel like an uphill battle, sometimes even harder than starting from scratch. Let’s dive into why this is the case and how we can conquer the challenges that come with REstarting.

1. The Weight of Expectations

One of the biggest hurdles we face when REstarting is the weight of our own expectations. We compare our current selves to our past selves, reminiscing about the days when we were at the peak of our fitness journey. But here’s the thing – dwelling on the past only sets us up for disappointment. Instead of fixating on what we used to be able to do, we need to embrace the present moment. Let go of those expectations and focus on what we can achieve right now, today. Every step forward is a victory, no matter how small.

2. Punching Above Our Weight

Another challenge of REstarting is the temptation to dive back into our old routines at full throttle. We remember the movements and exercises we used to excel at, and we want to pick up right where we left off. We’ve practiced them enough in the past that we can probably knock out a few reps. But here’s the reality check – our bodies may not be ready for that level of intensity just yet. REstarting requires a gentle approach, one that prioritizes safety and sustainability. Scale back the intensity, even beyond what you think you need to. Start with the basics, focusing on form and technique before ramping up the difficulty. It’s better to progress slowly than to risk injury by pushing too hard, too soon.

3. The Comparison Trap

Finally, one of the most demoralizing aspects of REstarting is seeing others surpass us in fitness levels. Whether it’s old gym buddies or social media influencers, it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap. But here’s the truth – everyone’s journey is different. Just because someone else seems to be miles ahead doesn’t mean you’re falling behind. Remember, life happens in cycles. Your time will come to shine again, just as theirs may dim. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on your own progress and celebrate every milestone along the way.

Fighting the REstarting Blues

So, how do we overcome these challenges and conquer the REstarting blues? It all comes down to mindset and strategy.

  • Live in the Moment: Discard those expectations and focus on the here and now. Celebrate your victories, no matter how small, and embrace the journey as it unfolds. Think only about the class you are in, or even the movement you are currently doing, and tune out thinking about the past or the future.
  • Scale Back and Progress Slowly: Don’t be afraid to scale back movements and exercises, even beyond what you think you need to. Build a solid foundation, and the progress will come. My own strategy is to “earn” my own permission to do a full movement. After a layoff I don’t “let” myself do any advanced movements until I’ve done at least 2-4 exposures of a scaled variant to prepare (even if I can technically still complete the more advanced movement.) For example, if I haven’t done Toes to Bar in a while, my first workout back with T2B I will do Knee Raises, then the next I’ll do Leg Raises, and only in the 3rd exposure will I try some T2B (and I’ll probably scale the volume.) This keeps things feeling easy and gives me the confidence that I can do more next time.
  • Avoid the Comparison Trap: Remember that everyone’s journey is unique. Focus on your own path and trust in your ability to make progress at your own pace. We will all go through challenges, layoffs, injuries, and life events, but we will NEVER go through them on the same schedule or in exactly the same fashion. There are no guarantees or absolutes about what you should accomplish in a given time period or how long anything will take you to learn or RElearn. Patience, grasshopper.

In the end, REstarting is not about comparing yourself to your past self or others. It’s about embracing the journey, one step at a time, and rediscovering the joy of movement and self-improvement. So, lace up those sneakers, take a deep breath, and dive back in. You’ve got this!