Last week I went to the gym and did weight training for the first time in over a decade -- and after that day I decided to change my work schedule slightly so that I would have more time after work for working out, and set up paycheck deductions for my first ever gym membership. I went three times last week and twice already this week, each time spending about an hour.
I am lucky that my gym is literally a 3 minute walk from my work, and that I have a 1.4 mile walk to the bus stop and hate the trolley (which is the other option besides walking). It's easy for me to get started and once I am started it is hard for me to stop because rapid context switches are so unpleasant for me. Working out has become a normal part of my work day.
I had forgotten how much I enjoy weights -- so much more so with the very fancy weight stack machines at this gym! I love pulling and pushing against the resistance of weight, when doing so doesn't hurt my hands. Free weights are just so horrible on my hands.
My gym has like 14 weight stack machines, half of which are for arms and shoulders. (these are machines where you push or pull while sitting in a certain position, and the machine resists using suspended weights, which you can easily adjust) Each machine is designed to focus on a specific set of muscles. This is perfect for me because I can change machines quickly enough that I don't get bored or lose count. I do 3 sets of reps on each machine that I like, and try to keep the weight low enough that I can do all the machines but high enough that it's not too easy.
I'm excited about developing more muscle! I am already able to increase the weight on some of them (partly because I started out below my absolute max so that I could get more of a sense of momentum). One of my favorite things about my body is how fast I build muscle. I was worried that now that I am older that wouldn't be true anymore but it still is -- I can already see a slight but real difference in my arms! I can't wait to see more definition in my back and shoulders too.
I feel like I am moving into my body in a way I haven't since I took bellydance lessons in 2004. I think I had to do the walking regularly for a while first, both to get more stamina and heart health, and to get comfortable with how much I sweat. I have never before been okay with getting sweaty, but I have ALWAYS sweated a lot and easily so it had always been a barrier to exercise. Now I'm okay with it. It's still a little annoying but not horribly frustrating.
I feel much more myself when I am strong -- that was the one part of my old body that I missed. I had to have a gap in my work outs though because originally it was fueled by self loathing. Now, it is fueled by self love: I am not going to be mean to my body or try to make it do things when it says no. I'm listening, and working with it.
I'm actually feeling grateful for that anxiety attack because I dunno when/if I would have started weight training if not for needing strong physical activity as medicine. I am so glad that I broke that barrier.