Leditor: Gym is therapeutic, worthwhile commitment

Gym can be motivational place, especially after quarantine



Roots editor Jenae Laxson became a couch potato with the body composition to match during quarantine.

JENAE LAXSON, Evergreen roots editor

There are many reasons why people go to the gym. You are likely to hear a plethora of answers if you were to ask different people, but for me, it is one big, sweaty therapy session. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic mandates first went into effect, gyms were, of course, shut down completely. At that point, I had been going to the gym five days a week. It did negatively impact me. 

Home workouts are great for some people, but I never get the same rush that I do when I trap bar deadlift or bench press. 

When gyms started opening again, I was ecstatic. However, I knew that I was going to need a constructive weight lifting protocol before going back. 

I had lost quite a bit of strength as a result of being held hostage by my computer and classes during the first partial semester online. For lack of a better phrase, I became a couch potato with the body composition to match. 

To prevent injury and discouragement, I started with simple bodyweight exercises in my living room. In my experience, the basics are the best, even when weights are added. 

This was difficult because not only do I prefer to lift weights, but I prefer the gym atmosphere to that of my living room. It is motivational and allows for that all-or-nothing headspace I get into. 

However, I do highly recommend this if you are starting as a beginner or from square one. And when you do get back into the gym, make sure to take it slow. An injury will only set you back again.

Not taking it slow is something I am guilty of. I tend to forget that I am not at the fitness level I was at before quarantine. 

I started back at the gym three days a week. My split was one lower body day, one upper body day and a full body day. I went Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 

When I was able to first load a barbell after almost a year, I had to resist the urge to load the 45-pound plates at the beginning of my set. This would only set me up for failure in the long run. 

I quickly progressed my way up to four days a week. As I said, the gym is therapy for me and helps make me stronger mentally and physically. It is accurate to say I am a gym rat. 

Now I workout six days a week, with five of those being gym-based. Saturdays are reserved for my long run around the WSU campus. 

My current workout split is three lower body days and two upper body days. Since going back to the gym I have observed a decrease in my stress levels and an increased overall sense of calm. 

Please note that this is what works for me. I am not a certified personal trainer and have no intention of becoming one. 

I realize that to some people, the gym is a germ factory and a pandemic can make it an unsavory place, but WSU University Recreation is doing a great job implementing the proper protocols. 

I am completely comfortable and knowing that I am doing something that benefits me, as well as my immune system, makes it incredibly worth it.