I started Boxing & Muay Thai training at a local gym with my siblings in September 2013. The gym is a foreign place to me as a self identified introvert and lover of the indoors so awkwardness will inevitably ensue. Being a writer, I obviously had to document it. These are my random reflections, tips and insights. Enjoy.
The First Day Effect
This past week marked our triumphant return to the gym after a month long break of fasting (Ramadan). I was anxious as expected because a month of inactivity meant more pain than usual and, if you know me, I’m not a fan of pain or being uncomfortable. Since Monday was a holiday here in Canada, my first day back ended up being Tuesday evening with two forty-five minute classes: Strength & Conditioning and Intermediate Muay Thai.
My thoughts exactly. As far as first days go, starting out with Strength & Conditioning is purgatory in the form of forty-five minutes of weights, cardio and wheezing. I was freaking out over whether or not I could get through just five minutes of skipping for crying out loud! I would undoubtedly lay dying on the sweat covered blue mats long before the instructor yells, “Ropes Away!” But here’s the thing: No one tells you about the First Day Effect. It’s something I discovered for myself and it could very well have a legitimate, scientific name but, quite frankly, this is about me and not about science so Google it is all I have for you. It’s essentially this: The first day back from a long stretch of inactivity felt like I was never gone!
I skipped like a fired up fiend!
I lifted weights like a boss!
It took longer for me to be out of breath. I could do things that were previously difficult. It was like being away turned me into the friggin’ Terminator! This was fantastic! What was I so worried about? I was riding a very confident high and Lil Jon’s Turn Down For What was on repeat in my head because, duh, I’m amazing.
No one could tell me nuthin’
Fast forward to Thursday for my second day at the gym. I was ecstatic. I was going in knowing that I was capable of anything and all those with two stripes or less on their white sash would quake in the wake of my undeniable awesomeness.
This did not happen.
The thing about the First Day Effect is that it wears off. It’s like your body remembered that you were doing NOTHING for more than thirty days and felt that it would be unfair to the OTHER mortals in your presence if you were a badass without suffering the consequences of your (in)actions. Basically, your body is an asshole. Day two looked more like this:
Legs? What legs?
Oh gawd. Whyyyy?
By the end of the second class, I was done. Exhausted. Drained. Why did you deceive me, body? WHYYYYYYY???
Just haul my corpse home, Jeeves.
Yup, that was my first week. I hurt my ankle so I decided to rest it for a few days before starting again on Monday. I hated the entire experience while it was happening but afterwards? I felt good. I felt like crap too but also good. It was like I expelled demons and trans fats from my system. It’s that feeling that makes me go back again and again because otherwise, why bother? Okay, for health reasons, of course, but you know what I mean. So what’s the moral of this story? Try not to take too much time away from physical activity because you’ll feel it later.
Oh, and your body is a total asshole.