You'll alway be better than when you started.

Comparison is only too common in fitness. Comparison of your fitness, weights lifted or amount of sweat left on the floor to other gym-goers. Everything from the activewear selection to who got the ‘good’ bar to perform pull ups on. Did you get to the gym with time to stretch, warm-up and entertain the coach with your daily musing’s about office life or just fight traffic for 60mins only to arrive to the stares of said coaches’ pet? These comparisons are typically surface level. They are our perceived placements of our selves in the faux-gym hierarchy. They’re also often debunked by a friendly high-five and shared post-workout commentary on how you love the programming. The biggest comparison that can contribute to exercise anxiety and apprehension is the comparison of ourselves to a former selves.

Yeah, you could once deadlifted double body-weight, maybe you could handstand walk the length of the gym or wash your delicates on your 8-pack. And as you look down to see the washboard feeling more like a washcloth, it’s hard not to think back to the ‘glory days’. All the comparing however is usually void of your reasons. Remember that new job, house move, your second-born catching hand, foot and mouth… again! These are legitimate reasons to miss a few gym sessions. This is life. All the ‘if you’ve got 10mins you can workout’ and ‘you gotta prioritise your health’ chat’s in the world aren’t going to create that 25th hour in the day. So when you do make it back to the gym (a great achievement), it can feel like starting over all over again. The first couch stretch and warm up 200m run even seems to prove it.

This is not the case! If you’re thinking you’re back to square one, I’ve got news for you - you’re not! There you go, problem solved. You’re not starting over because your strength, flexibility or fitness may have declined but your movement patterns and learned skills remain intact. Muscle memory (which is actually neural pathway memory) is a very real thing. You don’t have to relearn what a squat is, you just need to shake the dust off. You may not be able to complete your record number of double under but you can’t unlearn years of practise - the ‘skip-skip-whip’ days are gone forever! Movements are ingrained and the return-to-fitness is endlessly faster than gaining fitness from your actual day one.

So dust off the spandex and give it a go when ready. You will never be back at square one - it’s simply not possible! Take that as your first win and you’re already further along your come back than your think. Nice work.

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