I can totally relate! I gained about 20 pounds during quarantine/my last semester of newly virtual grad school. I know why I gained (huge decrease in physical activity, stress, grief, wearing leggings every day, not owning a scale (lol), etc.)
Since experiencing this change, it feels like I’ve lost ALL my strength that I had previously built and I feel so much less motivated to work out because of it. It feels like every workout will be a total struggle because I have more to move and I feel so out of shape.
Prior to COVID, I was spinning at studios at least three times a week and lifting at the gym. Once things started opening up, I went to an outdoor bootcamp class (my first group workout class in 4 months) and felt defeated about how out of shape I was. I modified nearly every move. The instructor was trying to encourage me to do more, finish those last few reps, etc. but I was at my absolute max barely participating and for three days afterward I was so sore I could barely walk! I felt pretty down about the whole experience for days afterward. I decided group bootcamp was NOT for me, at least not right now, while I’m still regaining my strength.
I’ve found it helpful to go easy on myself and be more gentle on my body. I’ve also worked on my mindset- exercising to feel energized and stronger day to day rather than to make up for what I ate or change the way my body looks. I try to remember that ANY physical activity is better than none – even if its blasting music and dancing in my bedroom, walking while listening to a podcast, walking my dog, a leisurely bike ride or hike with a friend, or a quick 20 minute workout.
I’ve recently invested in a Peloton (which I acknowledge is not reasonable for everyone) BUT after a year of thinking about it I chose to purchase one as a graduation gift to myself because that is a type of physical activity that energizes me and that I’m excited to do. Plus, who knows how long it will take for fitness studios to feel normal again.
All this to say, I FEEL YOU! While you are trying to get to the bottom of all of this, seek out any type of movement that truly energizes you and go easy on yourself <3