Everyone experiences ups and downs in their fitness journey – gym may be put on the back burner for a little while for a whole host of reasons. Maybe you’ve taken a break to have a baby or recover from an injury, maybe your work schedule has suddenly got hectic or family commitments have gotten in the way of your training. And sometimes, if we’re being honest, for no particular reason your motivation might fade and cause you to take an impromptu break. Whatever the reason, it’s completely normal to have to hit pause from time to time! But it can be a little hard to get back into the swing of things, especially if it’s been quite an extended break. In this blog, we share a few tips to help get you started again.
Make sure that you set well-defined goals for yourself. Start with short-term goals that are easy to achieve – for example “go to the gym twice this week” or “hit 10,000 steps every day” – ticking them off should inject you with some much needed motivation to remind you why you enjoy fitness and keep you pushing towards your next goals. The key is to make sure that any goals you set are specific. It’s not enough to just say something vague like you “ want to get back into shape”, because then you have nothing concrete to work towards.
Once you have defined your goal, give yourself a date to achieve it by. With longer-term goals, it can be really helpful to also jot down shorter-term milestones that you need to hit in order to achieve your end objective. For example, if you’re aiming to lose 10kg, then set yourself mini targets to celebrate – one for 2kg, one for 4kg, and so on. This way, motivation remains high throughout the journey.
If you’ve taken a long break from fitness, then chances are you may have lost a little strength or stamina. That’s completely normal and completely OK. “If you don’t use it, you lose it” does hold true when it comes to fitness. Check your ego at the door and don’t push yourself to jump straight back into what you used to do. Depending on how off-track you have been, expect to weigh a little more, have to lift lighter, or get out of breath quicker. Managing your expectations is really important so you don’t feel like you have failed at the first hurdle. If you kept a fitness log before your break, make some sensible adjustments. Don’t focus on what you’ve “lost”, just think of it as a challenge to get back to where you were.
Try training three times a week with a day of rest in between. Focus on building up your base level of strength again by working the basic movement patterns. Remind yourself of proper form and technique and if necessary regain your confidence in what you’re doing. You don’t want to hit the gym too hard and hurt yourself. Then you’ll be back to square one!
Staying active on recovery days will help you build that consistency you need. It doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous – try simply doing some stretching, yoga or going on a long walk.
Of course, there will be days when your perfectly planned, highlighted, beautifully stickered fitness plan will be derailed by life. That’s OK! Just try to do something, no matter how small, that helps you to keep working towards your goal in some way. If a last-minute morning meeting disrupts your gym routine, then maybe you could head out for a brisk walk at lunch time, or join your work’s running group after work. There is always something you can do.
Need advice on getting back into fitness after a break? Chat to one of our PTs today by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org