When I wander away from it for a while, I forget how much I love the gym. I tend to be rather various and inconsistent about fitness unless I have a routine, a plan, and a place to go. No matter my access to workout DVD’s, fitness channels, or muscle magazines, I can never seem to get into a rhythm that works for me without the gym. I seem to need the structure of a place to go, the inspiration of an expanse of machines, racks of weights, walls of mirrors. 

I was in a good routine, just starting to plateau, and considering what it would take to increase my intensity when I fell down and dislocated my tail-bone in a “I can’t tell if I was having fun unless I got hurt” episode. After that it was very difficult to get back in the swing, since I took so long to heal. Once I was recovered, I had moved to Eugene where there were, to my shock, no 24 hour fitness locations. This was most distressing, since I had a lifetime membership there. Trying to find a new gym was sort of a pain, and I couldn’t commit until it had been so long I barely remembered what it was like to lift on anything approaching a regular basis.

And this arm is not what it used to be

But with my Christmas bonus, and a bargain membership offered through the Gold’s gym here, I was excited to get back at the rack.

I have a tendency to overdo things after a long absence, so I tried to take it super easy the first day back. Minimal weight, short sets, only 2 of each. I stretched for at least as long as I had lifted, and apart from some chicken wing tightness, I felt pretty good. Second day back, I tried to maintain my plan, but pushed a little harder on the lower body than I had on upper body, just by virtue of the greater capacities of the muscle groups in question. I did some of the harder lifts in my repertoire with minimal weight, but despite my caution, I could still feel the strain even before my second set was over.

Today, I attempted a recovery workout. I tend to alternate days lifting focusing on specific areas: arms & abs one day, legs & ass the next. For a recovery day I do an all over workout focusing on movement, stretching, and simply creating bloodflow to the areas I think might need it. I usually come away from this feeling great and much less stiff and sore than I am if I just rest completely. When I left the gym today I felt pretty good, but by the time I was done with my chores…. mercy.

Now, I know they say “No pain, no gain” but today I feel like I was beat with sticks. It’s pretty clear I haven’t done myself any great injury, which is certainly an improvement over other starts, but every time I stand up, sit down, twist, bend, move or breathe, it hurts. I’m trying to take this as a sign that I activated all the muscles I wanted to and I’m well on my way back to super-buff status, but right now all I know is that I’d give my bad eye for some Ibuprofen, Aspercreme, a hot tub, and a massage. And the thing is, I don’t even need to, I have access to each and all of these things, it just hurts too much to move enough to get them.