Hulk hates when Hulk can't do as many lunges as girl in front of Hulk. Hulk gets frustrated when has to pause because leg lifts burn too much. Hulk looks away from mirror when not like soft body. Hulk annoyed that can't put resistance bands on ankles because infected bug bites.
Hulk just had Hulk's first REAL workout in over three weeks. As you can see, it was as mental as it was physical. (I guess, when is it NOT for me? I have issues.)
I felt weak. I was definitely not in the A-team tier of the Body Pump class that I tried for the first time tonight (on my birthday, no less. I'm a masochist). It was an hour of simple resistance exercises, but ceaselessly doing reps of arms, legs and core gets your heart pounding like aerobics, while your muscles scream in fiery fatigue.
It's a hard class. Lots of folks in it look incredibly athletic. But it sucked for me (even though I was proud of them) that even the less-fit folks (I'm part of that club right now) seemed to hit all their reps. I felt like I was having to rest more, and that my signature grunt sounded off more frequently.
I had tears in my eyes at one point, thinking, "How could I have let myself get so weak?"
If you let it, working out teaches you patience. It teaches you - like I've said before - to appreciate small steps in progress. A good workout is a big effort, with slow overall payoff (besides the instant stress relief and renewed drive to eat healthier foods). So, you learn not expect magical results; like, that by the end of a single Body Pump class, your stomach will shrink back under your waistband.
I had to give myself the gift of patience. After all, I was the one who took time off; no one did this to me but me, so it's me who has to put in the work to feel strong again. And that work is hard, and the payoff is slow, but guaranteed, if nothing else, you at least leave each class with more resolve to attend the next one.
My point is, your first day back to the gym doesn't have to be scary. You just need to go armed with a pack full of patience. And try to have a little fun. :)