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I walked through the front door feeling strangely out of place. I had gone to the gym almost every day of my life, yet here I was a nervous wreck. But then something happened…
  • Jourdan Ilardi

Coming Back Home

It is not an exaggeration when I say I have grown up in the gym. The gym is essentially a second home to me. It’s where I spent my childhood, admiring my mom from through the nursery room glass, to where I now work full time since 2013. It’s hard to imagine a place that is more ingrained in me, and yet just a few weeks ago, the thought of walking back into Fitness Incentive had me in a nervous sweat.

Ready or Not…

Three months ago, I gave birth to my baby girl, Quinn. Four weeks before she was born, at 37 weeks pregnant, I did my last workout at Fitness Incentive. It was hard to call it quits, but my body was physically suffering, and I knew it was time. On March 10th, Quinn made her grand arrival. Fast forward six weeks, and I was cleared by my doctor for exercise. It had been two and a half months since I had actually worked out (not including walking, which I did daily). I thought I would be ecstatic to be cleared, but to my surprise, I actually felt a flood of nerves. I had never gone this long without exercising, and on top of that, there was the whole ‘I just had a baby’ thing. How would I return to the gym so out of shape? Would I be able to teach my classes? Would people be judging my new post-partum body? What would it be like to walk in there for the first time since I’d been gone? A million questions were racing through my head, and for the first time in my life, I was intimated by the thought of going to the gym. 

The Day Arrives

The day I decided to bite the bullet and go in for my first workout, I was a mess. The whole drive to the gym I had butterflies in my stomach and felt uneasy. I walked through the front door feeling strangely out of place. I had gone to the gym almost every day of my life, yet here I was a nervous wreck. But then something happened. I saw Cathy, Liz, and Laurie at the desk, and they immediately put me at ease. Then I saw members, and we shared hugs, stories, laughs, and of course, pictures of Quinn. And finally, I took a spin class. I died. My lungs were on fire, my legs were burning, I was a sweaty mess, but I was back. I left with the biggest smile on my face. I missed my FI friends more than I had realized. I felt so accomplished completing my first spin class, but most importantly, I left feeling like myself again. 

Be Afraid, But Do It Anyway!

Throughout the years, people have shared their reservations about coming back to the gym with me. They’ve told me they were afraid, too out of shape, intimidated by the classes – the list goes on – and for the first time in my life, I understood exactly how they felt. And here’s the thing – all those emotions are completely NORMAL. It’s okay to be afraid, but be afraid and do it anyway because as soon as you walk through those doors, you’ll remember why you did it. It’s not just about getting in shape and improving your health. It’s about the incomparable friendships, the connections, and the feeling you get being a part of the special community that is Fitness Incentive.

So stop waiting on your comeback and dive back in headfirst – I promise it will be worth it. 

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About the Author


Jourdan Ilardi

Jourdan Ilardi is a Certified Group Exercise Instructor, Personal Trainer, and Primal Health Coach.
She also manages the Front Desk at Fitness Incentive.

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