The Truth About Being A “Formerly Fit Girl”
At 6am tomorrow, I was supposed to go back to the boot camp that I used to know and love, after having two years off. To celebrate, yesterday I bought a new pair of Nike tights and a shiny new Nutribullet 900 (green smoothies, I’ve missed you). Today, I found out the whole thing was shut down a week ago.
I’m feeling pretty bummed. Not just because a company/brand that I have spruiked and defended for years on end has shut down the boot camp and cancelled my membership without telling me (long story), but because now I’ve realised that if I’m going to get serious about this getting back to being my healthy, productive, early-bird former self, I’ll have to find a new gym or training group (I’m not the home workout, self-motivating type). After some convincing from the local club’s owner, I’ve just signed up for a trial at F45 Training so it’s safe to say I probably won’t be able to walk next week, and I’m terrified.
But at the same time as it terrifies me, it’s also a little bit liberating. Because I’ll be walking in as a complete newbie, rather than going back to my old stomping ground where people remember me as one of the fittest. It’s forced me to realise that I’m currently unfit, on my way to being fit. And not this Formerly Fit bullshit I’ve been telling myself.
Wondering wtf I’m talking about? I’ve been a Formerly Fit Girl for two years now. A Formerly Fit Girl (I’m making this definition up as I go, so bear with me) is someone who used to be in fantastic shape, and isn’t anymore – but doesn’t hesitate to remind people that she “used to be really fit.”
Formerly Fit Girls used to attend boot camp, gym or running club religiously, then for one reason or another stopped – “just for a little while.” But a little while turned into a long while and then a year or more. But it’s OK, because you know you can get right back into it at any moment, right? Formerly Fit Girls can be identified by the expensive (but obviously a little bit old) workout gear that no longer fits them properly and her “this one time, at boot camp…” stories. They can talk the talk with all of their crossfit/F45/reformer pilates friends, but walking the walk will probably leave them very much out of breath.
When you’re a Formerly Fit Girl, you feel sorry for yourself while also thinking you deserve some sort of recognition for something you no longer have.
Since I’ve decided I’m officially moving the eff on from this frame of mind, I thought I’d drop four truth bombs about being a Formerly Fit Girl that I’ve realised in my last few months of being one – hopefully I can motivate a few more girls to get their running shoes on, and realise that no longer being fit isn’t the end of the world (but it’s totally OK to want to change that).
1.You’re nothing special (but you’re not alone either)
You were fit, now you’re not. Unless you were an Olympian or some other type of representative athlete, you’re nothing special and it’s time to stop expecting kudos for something you don’t have. My dad used to be brilliant footy player but you don’t see him clinging to that. Lots of people were fit and now aren’t. Lots of people were never fit to begin with. So even though you’re not in the best shape of your life, you’re not a failure, so don’t be too hard on yourself – find some people in the same boat and row yourself back out there.
2. Getting back to where you are is going to take work, but probably not as much work as you think
One of the defining characteristics of a Formerly Fit Girl is the belief that any day now, you can just put down the pasta, pick up a skipping rope and be back to where you were within a month. But the fact that we haven’t done it shows we also kinda know that’s not true. It took longer than a month to lose your ability to do the splits or run 5km without stopping, so it’s probably going to take more than a month to get it back. On the bright side, you’re not completely starting at square one – you know you love the feeling of being wide awake when everyone else is just hauling themselves out of bed, you know the correct form, you know your limits and you know what works. You just need to start.
3. You’re annoying the crap out of your friends
I realised this when I was doing a Kangaroo Point Stairs session with some friends from work. After the 7th time I said “I’m just so annoyed at myself. Last time I was here I did 10 sets” and one of them said “shut up and stop being so hard on yourself – you’ve barely exercised in a year, I don’t know what you were expecting.” (thanks Jess). They know you were fit. They also noticed you were unfit before you did but were too nice to say anything. Do them the same courtesy and stop complaining.
4. You probably look a lot better than you think you do
If I’m being 100% objective and realistic, I know I’m not overweight. But forever trying to squeeze back into your 2014 skinny jeans can mess with your head a bit – it’s easy to forget how much work it took to be that girl with the nice butt and tiny waist, and convince yourself that she was the “normal” version and you’re now “bigger.” I know it’s a shitty situation. But you’ve got three options – keep feeling sorry for yourself, get back into shape and into those jeans, or just throw those jeans out and buy new ones. No matter which you choose, it’s time to admit that hoping you’ll magically fit those babies back on tomorrow isn’t doing you any favours.
With this out of the way, it’s time to start making some headway on items 14 and 15 on my 2016 bucket list.
Are you a recovery Formerly Fit Girl? Let me know! I might even start a Facebook group to keep our butts off the couch and our self-pity in check 😛