Whether you have taken a break from working out because you were on holiday, you were sick or because of this lockdown/quarantine that we all have been in for the past couple months. When you inevitably go back to training there are a couple of things should think about before burning yourself out, injuring yourself or demotivating yourself right out of the gates.
I am a big believer in not ”easing into” or not ”taking it easy” when it comes to training and working out in general. Don’t get me wrong, when you work out 5, 6 or even 7 days a week you need certain days where the intensity is a little bit lower so you can recover, work on skills/technique etc.. For most of us however when we get back to the gym it’s just something we like to tell ourselves because it’s an easy excuse for ourselves, Read my previous blog on this topic alone at https://passionthroughlife.com/2020/05/09/what-does-easing-into-workouts-mean-why-should-we-avoid-it/ .
All I am trying to say is that this blog won’t tell you to take it easy, but rather how to get back into things as efficiently as possible.
This blog is all about the ”regular gym goers” who like to stay in shape and work towards a certain goal. This is not directed towards anyone who’s trying to become a professional athlete.
Let’s dive into it.
When you haven’t worked out in a while and you’re itching to get back in the gym it’s easy to just go as hard as you can and put your blinders on. Okay great, I am all for going hard in the gym but make sure that it’s sustainable. If you make yourself so miserable that you don’t want to workout anymore 3 weeks into starting back up again, we have missed the point of starting back up again. Grinding yourself down into a fine powder within the first 2 days of being back at the gym is not going to make you better, it might make things worse, it might make you quit. Work back up to the weights, reps and time domains that you were at before you you took a break by keep up the consistent intensity through your workout days. One high intensity workout day followed by 5 days of low-intensity is not going to benefit you in the long run. Maybe start thinking about adopting a 3 day on-1 off – 2 day on – 1 off schedule. This a schedule that a lot people around the world are using because it allows you to go hard for 3 days, recover enough on that 4th day so you can hit hard again on day 5 and 6, rest one day and repeat.
To help you out with this maybe try out some full body workouts for the first couple weeks, they will allow you to go hard every single day without giving you that extreme soreness. don’t get me wrong, you’re still going to get plenty sore but it will allow you hit it hard more often and recover better between workouts. All the effort, all the rewards, none of the feelings that make you want to quit.
Enjoy what you’re doing
It sounds so simple, if you’re not enjoying the process of what you’re doing, it’s not going to last. That holds true for a lot of things in our life and especially when it comes working out. It’s something where you’re trying to reach a certain goal by going through tough, sweaty and sometimes painful training sessions. Those sessions should be fun to a certain extend and reaching your goals should make you happy and excited, because otherwise, why do it? For us non-professional athletes fitness should be fun to a certain extend, sure you’re not going to enjoy every single workout but even then it will help you get to a goal that is going to make you happy or feel fulfilled in the end. Try and mix things up, by doing the same movements/exercises over and over again you’re eventually going to get bored and either not put in any effort or stop entirely. Mixing things up, while enjoying and keeping the intensity up is key to staying consistent and reaching your goals.
What are you trying to achieve? Think about your goals
It’s easy to start working out again because you feel like you have to but like I have mentioned in my point above, that will only get you so far. It’s definitely true that you’re not going to feel like working out every day, to be honest you might have more day that you don’t but those days are important to show and put in the work. What’s truly going to keep you motivated and excited to get back into the gym day after day, is working towards a goal. Whether that’s losing body fat, gaining muscle mass or six pack abs, those goals are specific to you and that’s what is keeping you going and motivated to keep putting in the effort. If you want to lose weight? Great do some research, ask a trainer/coach for help and put in the work that you or someone else lays out for you.
Don’t compare yourself
Don’t compare yourself to other people and don’t compare yourself to the old you. For whatever reason you decided to take a break from working out so you can’t expect to be back at your old level right away. We’re talking about taking a break longer than a month. Unlike popular believe you actually don’t lose that much of your fitness/physique if you keep your nutrition on track. Just do the most that you can do today, tomorrow etc. and you will see the big improvements that will lead you back and passed the old you. Just keep showing up, put in effort while moving well at high intensity and you will get (back) there.
Mix it up!
Change things up every once in a while. It’s so easy to get too comfortable with what you’re used to doing in the gym. Getting in to the gym daily as part of your routine is great, doing the same thing over and over again because it’s part of your routine is not. There’s no adaptation or room for growth when you keep doing the same thing for too long. I am not saying that you have to join a yoga class or any other group class to change things up (although it probably wouldn’t hurt you). You can change up small things like: exercises, rep schemes, volume, intensity, angles, equipment, tempo’s, workouts, set, loads and it will make a big difference when it comes to constant progression. Bottom line: doing anything for too long is going to make sure that you’re not able to progress past a certain point (plateauing).By making small (or big) changes to your routine you can ensure constant progress and keep your sessions fun and varied.
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