Life has a strange way of surprising us and derailing our carefully thought out plans. We’ve all been there before, and trust us when we say, we know the struggle is real.  You were going to the gym and really putting in the sweat equity towards reaching your health and fitness goals. You had your workout schedule worked out perfectly and you were totally in your groove feeling awesome. But then something came up and you started missing workout sessions. Maybe it was a vacation or a holiday. Or maybe you came down with the flu. Maybe you got injured or had a stressful work deadline. Or maybe it was simply because your schedule became busier than usual. Time started to fly by and before you knew it, a week, a month, or a maybe even a few years slipped by without getting back into the gym. 

Of course, it’s completely normal for your training consistency to fluctuate throughout the course of your life. The challenge for many people is that getting back into the gym after taking some time off can feel incredibly difficult, and understandably so.  

We're sharing a few things that will help you get back into your workouts.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

The first thing to do is give yourself some grace. Everyone pushes fitness aside at some point or another — whether they choose to or are forced to — but you have the opportunity right now to jump back in, and that’s all that matters.   It’s a fresh start, an opportunity to get back to feeling your best. 

No Negative Self Talk

In a perfect world everyone would mind their own business and just worry about themselves, but that's typically not the case. So, if someone at the gym asks about your absence or notices your return, simply tell them that you took some time away and you’re back now. You don’t owe anyone an explanation or an apology, and you certainly should avoid making jokes at your own expense.

We often hear clients describe themselves as “lazy” or “slackers” because they haven’t been to the gym in a while. But negative words like that aren’t helpful, instead try talking about how excited you are to be back rather than discussing the past. 

Evaluate Your Expectations

One of the biggest challenges that we see clients face when getting back into the gym after taking time off is that they fear how much strength or aerobic capacity they may have lost. It can be very difficult and discouraging to have worked hard towards certain skills or strength goals and then not be able to pick up where you left off. 

Something to be conscious of when you first start back in the gym, is that your first workout — probably your first several workouts — will feel hard. You might feel out of breath and it might be uncomfortable. But trust us, this is normal. And it’s important to remind yourself that the discomfort won’t last forever. 
After a week or two of being consistent with your workouts, things will start to feel better. Getting over the initial hump is usually the hardest part, and it might take some mental courage, but the good news is it’s only temporary.

The best way to overcome this is to ease back into things by cutting down on the duration and intensity of your workouts for the first several sessions. Easing yourself back in is important because it will ensure that your workouts don’t leave you too sore. In other words, don’t hit the gym after a long break thinking that you can pick up right where you left off. Not only will your workout end up feeling really difficult which can feel defeating, but it’ll leave you so sore that it takes you a lot longer to recover, which will only cause you to miss your next scheduled session. So listen to your body, and do your best to not overdo it. 

Set yourself up for success and ensure consistency by cutting down on the number of sets that you normally do and back down on the weight that you’re using by a substantial amount. Let your body get adjusted to working out again without completely crushing yourself.

Also, by giving yourself permission to ease back into things you take the pressure off yourself. Set yourself up for success and help build some positive momentum which will help you get back to the gym again.

Choose Something Fun

When you are trying to get back into workouts, it’s important to choose something that you enjoy. While we know that a well-rounded training program is inevitably going to incorporate some things or exercises that aren’t our favorite, that isn’t something to worry about right now. The most important thing is that you move your body.

What do you love to do for fitness? What sounds fun? A dance class? An outdoor boot camp? A sunrise yoga class? A one-on-one training session? Let yourself do whatever sounds most appealing. It doesn’t have to make perfect sense right now. The only goal is to move your body and feel good while doing it.

Find a Support Buddy

Everything feels a little bit easier when we have a support system to lean on. If you’re feeling a little uneasy about getting back into a fitness routine, can you recruit a friend or family member to go to the gym, take a fitness class, or even just start going for a walk with you a couple of times per week?

After a long time away from the gym, it can be all too easy to focus on what you were able to do in the past, but we want to encourage you to resist focusing on the past, and instead, focus on where you’re headed.

We never know what life is about to throw at us next. Real life comes with sickness, vacations, seasons that are higher in stress, and periods where we straight up don’t want to go to the gym. But remember that this to be expected, it’s simply a part of life. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to use this opportunity as motivation to get moving again!


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