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PHYSICAL FITNESS JOURNEY PART 2: THE COME BACK

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As I mentioned in my previous journey article, there were literally 11 years during which I did not exercise. But everything changed in my fitness journey one summer a couple years ago when I had my come back.

I was writing my thesis for my Master’s program and was extremely stressed out. I spent my days, nights, and weekends working on perfecting a document full of difficult psychological theories and complicated statistical analyses.

The First Come Back Of My Fitness Journey – Zumba

As I was “working” (i.e., procrastinating), I found a Groupon for a Zumba studio. It’s worth noting that this was at the height of the Zumba craze. I sent the link to a few of my classmates. One classmate had done Zumba before and based on her rave reviews, she convinced us to check it out.

I told myself that it wasn’t really exercise. It was dancing. And dancing is fun. So during that first class, I waved my arms, shook my booty, and sweated out about a gallon of water.

I may have looked like a crazed monkey and god knows, I didn’t have an ounce of rhythm.

But I loved every minute of it.

After that, my friends and I created a habit and started going to Zumba twice a week. The best part of that hour was that my mind was finally at ease. I finally had a break from thinking about how my thesis intro was currently sitting at a measly 7 pages.

The come back had begun.

The Fitness Journey Continues – Bootcamp

After a couple of weeks of Zumba, my friend found a month-long deal for an outdoor Bootcamp. She asked if I wanted to come along. The idea of having someone bark at us to do a million push-ups (not even sure if I could two in a row?) made me hesitant.

But then I thought about how she had been right about Zumba. Maybe I should trust her opinion after all.

The night of the first class, I had a pit in my stomach. I cursed myself for signing up. But at the same time, going with my friend made it more comforting. At least we could be embarrassed together and laugh about it afterward.

However, I did feel like a fraud, dressed in my highlighter pink workout gear that I had picked up on sale at Old Navy.

But it was too late to back out.

First Bootcamp Class

The first Bootcamp class started with some warm-up stretches. While other girls were touching their toes or extending their hip flexors, I was hunched over with the tips of my fingers at knee level.

The instructor worked us through different exercises. The ones that were especially “traumatic” were crab crawl (I came in last every time) and plank holds.

By the end of the hour, I was muddy and sweaty.

I was by far the worst in the session.

You would think that I would decide to give up, then and there. I mean, that’s what I had done 11 years ago.

But This Time Was Different

I don’t know if it was 11 more years of maturity or if I was finally no longer obsessing over what others thought of me. Maybe it was that this time I had friends (allies) at the session with me. But I told myself that I didn’t care if I was the worst. I didn’t care if everyone could hold plank for the full minute whereas I had to put my knees down every 20 seconds.

I was determined not to give up on myself just because this didn’t come naturally to me.

This was a big step in my fitness journey.

I left that Bootcamp class with my head held high.

The come back kid strikes again!

The next day, I couldn’t walk, couldn’t laugh, couldn’t get out of bed without feeling excruciating pain. The soreness lasted for four full days.

It was a struggle to push myself to go back. I mean, who wants to return to a torture chamber? But I convinced myself to attend the next session by reminding myself how proud I was of myself last time.

I started going to Bootcamp 3 times a week while also continuing Zumba. After a few weeks, I was comfortable with this arrangement.

The Come Back Trifecta – Running

After a couple of weeks, my friends suggested we run laps after Bootcamp. I thought they were crazy! I mean, we just worked ourselves to death and now you want to do more?

Even more concerning, my mind kept flashing back to that grade 9 cross-country try out. Every part of me was saying that I couldn’t do it.

Nevertheless, I started running at my own pace. Although they were lapping me, I actually didn’t care. And you know what? They didn’t care either! We were all just focusing on ourselves.

Once I realized I could maybe actually “run,” I started running on my own. Nothing big, just up and down my street. The first run lasted about 7 minutes. But each time I went for a run, I went a bit further down my street until one day I made it all the way to the end of the street and back.

No word of a lie, after each run I had to put my head between my legs for a solid 5 minutes to help with the serious nausea that ensued.

New Fitness Regime

But, without even realizing it, I had started an intense fitness regime. It was working out 5-6 days a week doing Bootcamp, Zumba and running.

My runs slowly got longer and longer and within a month, I had worked my way up to running 10K. I was in shock.

My whole outlook on life started to change. I started telling anyone who would listen about how fitness is amazing!

Not only did I lose about 10 pounds, I started seeing muscles appear on my body that I didn’t know existed.

I was hooked.

Check! The come back was now complete.

What next?

But then, the summer came to an end and it was finally time to defend my thesis and complete my Master’s.

After this, I moved to Toronto and began hunting for a job. At first, I welcomed the new found freedom but over time, the lack of structure started throwing me off balance. 

Would I be able to maintain my fitness habit even though I was going through a period of transition in my life? Stay tuned for next week to find out what happens next in my fitness journey.

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4 Comments

  1. Maria Maria

    Good for you Stephanie!! Your story is inspirational!!

    • Modern Flourish Modern Flourish

      Thank you for reading! I appreciate it! -Stephanie

  2. Mary Clare Mary Clare

    Loved reading this!!! So real and honest. Thanks for sharing, it’s very motivating 🙂

    • Modern Flourish Modern Flourish

      Thank you. That’s so nice to hear! I’m glad you enjoyed reading! – Stephanie

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