Three unexpected discoveries about rejoining the gym

by Alice Dommert
April 16, 2018

I know it’s a little silly. I made a big deal about quitting the gym and then here I am REJOINING. One of the things that life has taught me is that each year, season and cycle is different. My six months working out at home with my Les Mills videos was perfect for the winter we had. I stayed committed to the BODY PUMP and also the BODYBALANCE and BODYFLOW. My daughter would laugh at me and I didn’t care. I wore outfits I’d never wear to the gym and I could yell at the instructors when the workouts were hard. It kept me at a baseline of good health and strength during the winter which was my goal.

So why rejoin the gym? It really was not on my mind but then my daughter said a friend needed a workout partner at the Y where I had belonged. What? My daughter interested in the gym?

It was sweet music to my ears. I said YES! She has not been a sports or exercise kid but prefers building stuff as an active member of her school’s theater program. She can wield any power tool there is and spends practically every afternoon building huge sets for whatever show they are working on. She gets some activity in but as we all know there is life after high school and there are kinds of activities available at the gym that could round out her activity.

Here are a few things that I’ve realized that contributed to my reconnection with the gym and a few questions to ask yourself about how you honor and nurture your amazing, miraculous body.

  1. 1. Variety of movement is critical.

If we only eat a few things the body does not get what it needs. If we only move in limited ways, the body does not get what it needs. Researcher Joan Vernikos and her work at NASA shows us that when we don’t use our bodies in all the ways it was designed to be used, those attributes begin to literally reduce themselves. When we use our muscles, with the help of gravity, they get and stay strong. When we do a lot of sitting for extended periods our bodies get the message they do not need the muscles, blood flow and bone density that more movement requires.

I realized I want to be on my bike a lot more this summer. That means building some more leg muscles for the hills, with some much heavier weights than are part of my home gym and some serious time on a training bike. I had some variety but wanted the full range the gym offers.

How much variety are you getting in your physical activity?
What might you do to spice it up this week?

  1. 2. A room with a view.

I have a small space in my home that is in front of a large window with a lovely view of a beautiful tree and where I watched lots of snow falling. Doing yoga there and my workouts with small weights was perfect. For cardio, I planned to use the treadmills and weight machines in a small room in the lower level where I live. The room, however, has one very tiny window and is shared with several washers and dryers. Even when I was inspired, I could not drag myself to that space to work out. (They even repainted it recently!)

At the Y there is an entire glass wall. They have a real training bike and it looks right outside. I had noticed this before but even more so in my absence from that wall. Even if I am not outside, I like being connected to the outside when I am on those longer sessions on the bike or treadmill when it is raining or I need to do a shorter High-Intensity Interval Training session.

I realized for me, and most of us, the view matters. Connecting with a view of nature is even better for us to be in the rhythms of natural daylight, the seasons and our lives. It is a way to connect with the larger community of pulsing life energy around us.

What are you looking at while you move your body?
Could there be a better space/place that might be more inspiring for you to choose so you’ll be more inspired?

  1. 3. We’re all in this together.

I realized I missed seeing the older ladies in the aqua aerobics class, the babies and everyone in between. I liked being part of the YMCA community and all it stands for and does to support Wholebeing for all ages in the neighborhood where I live. I like saying hello to the gym friends I had made and missed over that six month period that I was away. I too, like my daughter, have a friend who I’d go to the gym with, and that was something I missed doing together.

I ask in our programs after we have discussed some new strategies for enhanced wholebeing, who will support you. We all have the best chance of making changes and staying engaged with our goals and intention when we have support. Having a tribe to help inspire and support your best health is one of the components that Blue Zones found to be important for people who live long, healthy lives. Community and the support that others offer matters.

Who is supporting you to make the change or progress that you want in 2018?
Do you have a tribe of fellow Wholebeing Warriors?
If not, who might you ask to join you?

I must admit it feels good to be back at the Y. I am not abandoning my LESMILLS or home workouts. They have their place on Sunday mornings and when I need some quite time or just want some alone time or need a workout when I am traveling or have less time.

I am enjoying the exercise dessert the gym offers, (a few required minutes in the hot tub after my workouts) getting out of the house and the wider array of possibilities. Spring always brings me new energy and inspiration. Like the seasons, we too, as humble balls of energy, are part of the grand rhythm, ups and downs, in and outs. I’m ready and open for this next segment of the ride.

Alice Dommert

Alice Dommert

Founder, Wholebeing Architect

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