My Muscle Memory Has Dementia

This week I decided to go back to the boot camp classes I did last year. I had been going fairly regularly until August, and then let my membership lapse. But a great price on a New Year’s deal along with a strong desire to make this THE year I get it right led me to sign up again. After all, I had great results last year and I already feel comfortable with the routine of that gym.

I expected to be a little out of practice. I knew that having a few months off would mean I couldn’t perform the way I did when I was going to classes regularly. But I also was confident that it couldn’t be all that bad – my weight is still as low as when I stopped going, so there’s no way it could be as hard as when I started at the beginning of last year and was 14 pounds heavier.


Ha ha ha.

I had my first boot camp class last night. The results were embarrassing. I started off fine with the rest of the class, staying in time with everyone as the music shook the room and the trainer barked out instructions. Five minutes in, I felt a little winded, but took a few deep breaths and pushed past it. Ten minutes in and I needed my first sip of Gatorade.

I quickly realized I was having trouble. Twenty minutes in, I felt weak, I could barely catch my breath, and my stomach was queasy. I finally sat down on the step for a moment. The trainer (someone I worked with a lot last year), just smiled and said, “You’re fine – you’re just getting back into it!” I didn’t feel fine, particularly when the others in the class weren’t stopping while I was parked on my step.

Finishing one small bottle of Gatorade, I stood up and was determined to still finish the class. I got back into the routine with everyone, but that sick feeling wouldn’t go away. I had to take another short break near the end of class. I don’t think I took a single break during my first class last year.

When it was over, I remained in the room for a few minutes extra, willing myself not to vomit while making deals with my legs to just get me to the lobby and then I’d let them rest again. In the lobby, I sat for another 15 minutes. Anytime I tried to get up, I felt lightheaded and queasy. I eventually got the strength to get up and go home.

So…yeah. Never expected the first class would be such a failure. I expected my body would be a little rusty with the whole boot camp regimen, but had hoped it might soon remember all it had accomplished just a short time ago. So much for that muscle memory theory.

I’m discouraged, but not defeated. Yes, I expected my first class to go better than that, but I still went to class and did as much as I could. Maybe I’ll be able to do a little more the next class. And a little more the next one.

No pain, no gain, right?

Edited to add: And then I realized after writing this that I had a sore throat. Turns out I have strep throat and an ear infection. So maybe I’m not quite as weak as I thought, but just fighting off illness.

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  1. Francine Hardaway, Ph.D says:

    It’s unbelievable how hard it is to work out when you are sick. But I will say that one reason I exercise every day is that I am scared to death to stop.

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