Project Comeback: The First Week Back

Hello, hello!

Welcome to the first installment of a new series here on the blog called Project Comeback. The title was inspired by SarahsDay, one of my favorite fitness YouTubers. She does these Project Comebacks on the regular, and I love the inspiring message behind them, so I thought I’d jump on the train as well.

If you don’t know, I’ve been out of the gym for the past 5 weeks. It’s been 5 of the hardest weeks of my life because, in one day, the one thing in my daily routine that made me the happiest was taken away from me.

Okay, that sounds really dramatic, but in my mind, that’s how it felt.

If you’re new here or if you don’t know what happened, here’s the backstory:

This semester, I’ve been really struggling with anxiety. Before October, I had no idea I even had anxiety, and I just thought constantly overthinking everything and being paranoid about every little thing was normal. Guess what? It’s not.

Long story short, my anxiety got so bad that my immune system was lowered. With my immune system being in such a low state, my mono decided to pop back up and take over my life once again. With mono, I couldn’t do any form of physical activity for 4 weeks. No lifting, no cardio, no nothing. I mean I was exhausted just walking to class so I really had no desire to do anything anyways.

During those 5 weeks of being out of the gym, I let myself go a little crazy. I found myself resorting back to my old high school ways of unhealthy living. I survived off all things carbs. We’re talking mac ’n cheese, pasta, pizza, burgers, cookie dough, tater tots. You name it, I probably ate it.

In total, I lost about 8-10 pounds. I would say that almost all of that was muscle mass, and I did get a little fluffy in the process.

Instead of being discouraged by all the progress I’ve lost and all my hard work that has just gone down the drain over the past 5 weeks, I’ve decided to make something positive out of it. And that’s where this series begins.

At this point, I’m practically a beginner again. I know a lot of my readers are just starting out in the gym or wanting to take that next step and begin their own fitness journey.

In this series, I’m going to share the struggles, the successes, and my overall thoughts on getting back to the gym.

Day 1 – The first push day

Alright, so here we go. Day 1. First day stepping in the gym in over 5 weeks.

I walked in, I was going to hit shoulders (aka my favorite muscle group), and I was ready. After all, I’d been dreaming of this day for 5 weeks.

I left feeling very discouraged. All of my weights had significantly dropped, I was no longer in the physical condition in which I wanted to be, and most of my muscle definition disappeared. It was a shock to say the least. After day 1, I really questioned whether or not I wanted to even get back to the gym. Quitting seemed like the easiest option.

Day 3 – back day

I didn’t want to go to the gym at all. This was the point where I said to myself, “Abigail, if you don’t go to the gym today and if you don’t give it a second chance, you’re going to give up. You’re never going to go back, and the door will be closed on your fitness journey.”

As I was sitting there doing my single arm lat pulldowns, I began to feel an overwhelming sensation of joy. I was finally starting to feel like myself again. Things just felt right.

Day 5 – leg day, death day

Day 5 was the most disheartening of all. I knew my strength had gone down significantly, and I definitely wasn’t at the same level of conditioning that I was 5 weeks ago, but I didn’t notice how bad it was until this leg session.

Usually I can power through leg workouts. Yeah I may want to puke and my legs are shaking, but that’s how I like my leg days.

Y’all. I got through 4 exercises (3 sets of each) and I was done for.

My legs were like jello, I was contemplating how on earth I was going to walk back to my dorm, and I was instantaneously sore. I only did the leg press, Romanian deadlifts, reverse lunges, and glute kickbacks. Wowowowowowow it was so much.

I’m still sore 5 days later if that means anything.

The Outcome

It was rough. I’m not going to lie.

There were times, especially on the first two days, where I really contemplated whether or not I was going to find my passion for fitness once again.

Some things I forgot would happen, like the drastic increase in being tired and the overwhelming soreness. Other things I figured would be difficult, like changing my diet for the better and being able to sit down in a chair without grunting because my legs are so sore.

I’m excited about the next week, and I hope you enjoy this series just as much as I love writing it.

I wanted to start this series as a way to show you that fitness isn’t easy, and whether you’re just starting out or you’re getting back into it after a break, it’s hard. But it’s worth it. What are your biggest challenges when it comes to fitness?

~abigail gray