Strength & Fitness

The Benefits of a Setback

So, recently, I came across this lovely little virus called Mono. I didn’t even get it the fun way from kissing people, just happened upon it after a lung infection. But hey, if you’re interested in two or more months vacation with lots of naps and no appetite, boy do I have an investment for you! Otherwise, if that doesn’t appeal to you, I’m sure you can imagine how much of a detriment that experience was to my health and my fitness.

Doing nothing but sitting or lying down for two months really sets you back. Go figure.

It was hard to accept the fact that I had lost as much progress as I did, the first time I got back into the gym I felt like a baby giraffe. My legs were shaky and feeling like jello, I couldn’t even do some basic things like bring the bar to my shoulders or just holding the stupid thing. 

I had to give my body and brain a crash course on how to move again, and it was the biggest blow to my ego ever. I thought it was tough learning to accept the fact that I was going to be inactive for so long, but it was even harder to accept the damage done. It amazed me how so much progress built over time can be undone in what seemed like such a short amount of time. (In real life it wasn’t short at all).


I wanted to get my progress back as soon as I could, I wanted to spend all day at the gym doing every movement, every lift, using every machine. But I couldn’t, cause there’s this package deal where if you get mono, your spleen inflates and can explode and potentially kill you if it does. So, that was a great motivator NOT to do anything heavy for a while.

However, on my first real day back at the gym I spent about an hour going from machine to machine, sweating it out and doing some light strength work with these things called Dumb Bells. But I wasn’t satisfied, after I was done I took my dog on a 2 mile run/walk, I wanted to push myself further, I wanted to feel like how I felt after training. 

After that day I could barely walk for the rest of the week, let alone sit down or stand up. And as if fate itself was there to rub it in my face, TLC’s “Waterfalls” came on the radio and gave me a catchy reminder that I need to stick to the rivers and lakes that I’m used to.

Despite all my frustration, I chose to look at the glass half full, the place I was at was kind of a blessing. I had lost quite a bit of weight, my body and brain were fresh to relearn these basic movements in a much better way than before, I had a whole new outlook on what kind of base I could build myself. I had the opportunity to build myself up to be better than I was before, to work on things I’d never really had the time to work on like my strength imbalances, my relationships, figuring out a plan for my life...other than chaotically trying to juggle five different responsibilities at once. I’ve had time to look up a dietitian and start really taking care of myself, building back my strength and re-teaching myself how to do more complex lifts and movements the right way.

Moral of the story:
Even if you get some setback, don’t let that stop you from pursuing your fitness goals.
It may take that much longer, but the opportunities you’ll have to learn and grow even more than before are timeless.