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i’ve made it 6 weeks into a 12 week strength training program, so i’m ready to talk about it

the last day i stepped foot into the gym was on february 24th. it was the second week i was “back in the gym” after a 3-month upper respiratory infection took me out. i did a HIIT workout and ran a mile, i felt good, and took a selfie after as i usually did.

selfie of me at the gym

i don’t remember thinking that would be my last day in the gym, i don’t even remember if the pandemic was even on my radar - it probably wasn’t. looking at other photos on my phone from that day, all i could gather was that i was on my usual bullshit: watching music compilations on my phone with dangerously low battery.

youtube screenshot of a music compilation called "songs that get white people turnt"

i hated working out at home. the gym was nice and cool, had all the equipment i needed. it had a SAUNA! holy shit do i miss the sauna. i liked my short walk home from the gym, through the park. it was always late enough that the park was fairly empty, but early enough that restaurants were still open so it felt safe.

when our office closed and we became fully remote (we were a "hybrid” company once upon a time), i stopped doing anything but working. i think a lot of us threw our entire selves into work by making sure our reports were adapting as best as they could, continuing to ship product to feel in control and normal about something. i stopped working out, i stopped reading, but i did start focusing on vegan cooking and cleaning my apartment.

i’ve learned that going through quarantine is much like going through sobriety; you have to learn to take things day by day and be forgiving of yourself. even when i wasn’t sober, i always kicked my own ass left and right, holding myself to such high expectations. the quarantine forced me to be by myself for a long time (andy and i didn’t see each other for 3 months) and i had to recreate routines to give me some new sense of normal so i could put less pressure on myself to “succeed at quarantining” - and i couldn’t use alcohol. i’m forever grateful that my therapist moved to doing sessions over the phone - btw if they’re reading this: thank you, but also stop reading my blog! that’s cheating!

i started watching a lot of tiktok, youtube and twitch streams, and following a lot of fitness trainers and watching so much accessible fitness content that i finally got bit by the bug. one tiktok’er, alexisclarefit (she goes by that handle on youtube as well), is one of my favorites. she’s a fitness coach who lifts and is vegan!

a couple of months she started what will be a 12-week free workout program, called the build program. i am now on week 7 (i had to redo week 6 because i was sick the week before last). i’ve been having such a fun time and loving the results so i wanted to share it. here’s her intro:

alexis is not only super knowledgeable about her craft, she’s also super relatable – [tips fedora] hello, fellow bi vegan stoners who lift. the program is designed to be at home with minimal equipment (dumbbells, resistance band), but the first two weeks she uses just a large bottle of laundry detergent so you can order the dumbbells and band and start the program whilst you wait for their delivery. her boyfriend, cat and dog often enter the frame. again, it’s all relatable and accessible, and she also includes nutrition advice and tips.

one thing that i really like about her videos is that she gives predictable, structured breaks and reminds you to drink water. she also talks a lot about the “mind-to-muscle connection”. i’ve not had workout programs, before, remind me to to connect my mind to the muscle i’m working - it sounds weird, but it really has helped me level-up on my form and make my workouts more effective.

so, yeah, i’m feeling v good about my new workout routine, and gaining the muscle i lost from the upper respiratory infection (and then some). gyms in new jersey are opening up, but i don’t think i’m going to enter one for awhile. fortunately, i am used to working out at home and don’t hate it like i used to - i just have to do a better job at taking selfies every night like i used to!

if you’re looking for a routine to ease back into working out (or to just get started), i highly recommend the build program. if you’re not active and feeling bad about it - remember that the pandemic is not a hackathon, sporting event or conference, it’s a health crisis that none of us consented to. you do what you gotta do to make it through the day.

xoxo jenn

this was published September 8, 2020 under living health fitness lifting