I’m officially maxed out on the home workouts. I’ve exhausted my entire source of inspiration/motivation — within, and online — and I just miss the gym.
I miss running far. I miss lifting heavy weights. I miss mixing things up.
I realised on the weekend that because I’ve only been doing hard cardio and interval training, and absolutely no stretch and conditioning, I have gotten lean some, but I have lost significant amounts of strength.
My legs and core feel much stronger. Probably stronger than when I was regular at the gym. I see this in how easily I am doing things I dreaded even at the beginning of the lockdown when I began working out at home. Like burpees, like mountain climbers, like knee tucks. Easy-peasy and I have gradually built up my reps.
But, I can no longer do a push-up. I was never good at them to begin with, but the weight training and conditioning at the gym helped me stay in touch. I can’t even sustain a plank for as long as I used to. I feel a definite loss of upper body (arms and shoulder) strength. This, I feel in just lifting regular shit. Like groceries. And water cans.
And I feel sad about that.
This whole loosening the grip on exercise — rather the grip the need to exercise had on me — and shifting the focus from cosmetic and appearance-based outcomes, to performance and health has been good for how I am able to go with the flow, it has meant getting in touch with the true nature of my energy. Which is not uniform. Neither is my motivation. It made me realise that all these years of regular exercise was only sustained because I had an unnatural standard that required going against the grain of my intuitive energy, my instinct, to make myself do it.
It’s interesting that at one time I was naive enough to consider some years in Goa, when I surrounded myself with a lot of fit, badass women, to be my fittest. Because I worked out super hard, six days a week. And didn’t see even half the results I have seen after I relaxed and found my own rhythm. It was terrible for my mental health and sense of self. The ideals and notions of fitness I absorbed weren’t the best.
Now, I take days off when I need to. I eat with balance. I have found what works for me by listening to my body. Most importantly, I allow myself to fall off the bandwagon. And somehow I am leaner and healthier than I have ever been. Even more than when I went on a massive shred.
I find different ways to exercise, because I have realised I need a new form every 5-6 months. Accepting all this has made a huge difference to where I am mentally. Because it means I have had to come to love the natural ups and downs that come with it. The jumping off and on the bandwagon when it happens naturally. Being okay with the effects that has and how it shows in my body. Managing the health implications of it all.
And being in agreement with that.
Because whatever I was seeking from working out the way I did, is now being fulfilled elsewhere. In a healthy way. And I feel more in tune with myself, with what my body needs in order for it to work for me, as a result.
I am at home in my body.
I feel like we are allies, where earlier I had to hack my body and be at war with it, beat it to shape ad make it do things I couldn’t do.
That same intuition is what tells me now that I am done with working out at home. I need a treadmill. And a rack of weights.
Two years ago: What good is it to live, with nothing left to give
Four years ago: About home