The Art of Failing Commitments and Making A Comeback – Part Two
On Making A Comeback
I have started lifting, again. Just last week, in fact. I feel like this time around, I have finally waited until I wanted to go back, instead of my usual guilting myself into going earlier than I want. Now, I think I have finally perfected the “starting over” aspect of making a comeback. You see, in my experience, if you take more than 3 weeks off at a time (in my experience) and then go and lift, you will be in a world of pain – a world that is very similar to the first time you ever squatted with a barbell.
In the past, when I had to start over, I would become really eager to get back to where I was and this would cause me to go full hog in the gym. I would overdo it by a long shot. And then, because my DOMS were so bad that I was physically incapable of walking or sitting or moving more than my wrists, I would end up having to take 2 weeks off to finally become un-sore and it would just start all over again. It was a cycle until I eventually just stopped going for a while. There have been a few times in the last few months where I was able to break out of the cycle, but I was still overworking my body and after like 6-9 weeks (depending on the program I was running) or so, I would start to feel worn-down and would need to take a break.
This time around, I am making an effort to not overdo it. For my first few workouts, I only worked up to weights I would only consider to be warm-up weights. I plan on moving up slowly from there and really working on getting the motions down, especially with squatting. Squatting is not a natural movement for me (unlike bench and deadlift) and I really need to focus on hitting my reps perfectly and smoothly each and every time. I want to be able to squat perfectly in my sleep. This time around, I am not letting myself get inside my own head. I am not rushing back to maxing out, but am instead, allowing myself to ease into it.
I am not rushing this time around because allowing myself to enjoy my time off from lifting made me realize that I want to enjoy longevity in this sport and the way I have approach lifting the past few years is not a pattern that can be sustained in the long run.
All-in-all, even though I am only 1 for 3 for my experiments, I think this time helped me realize a few things, or rather, reintroduced me to the reason why I started lifting in the first place. It isn’t about being strong or competing or looking a certain way or living a certain lifestyle. For me, it is about maintaining a healthy body and life. I started lifting because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. And I must create a sustainable way to be healthy for me, otherwise, I will continue to be on the rollercoaster I have been on for the better part of a year and I am going to continue being sick and tired.. I want to and need to be in a healthy relationship with the gym and I think moderating my approach will get me there.
And while I may have lost some strength in the last few months, this time has not been wasted. I remembered what I loved about lifting, I learned to be moderate in both my diet and exercise routines and I enjoyed living a life outside the gym for the past few months. I think all of these things are key to creating a sustainable approach to my health. Life is, after all, just one giant experiment after the next. I think it is important for everyone to find what a sustainable and healthy lifestyle looks for them. So, take the time to experiment. Find out what methods work best for you. Run some tests. Look inside and outside to evaluate the results. And at the end of the experiment, do what makes you happy. Life may be a series of experiments, but it is the only one you have, after all.