How To Safely Workout After A Break From The Gym
You’ve been riding the couch for longer than you’d like to admit. Perhaps life has been a bit challenging and you’ve lacked motivation, you’ve been enjoying summer beers and BBQs, resting and repairing an injury, or you’ve simply got out of your regular habits. Well, lucky for you, September has always lent itself well to creating new routines, and with the cooler fall temperatures coming, it’s the perfect time to get moving. Here we guide you on how to safely workout after a break from the gym.
Shame is not the name of the game
First things first – go easy on yourself. Accept where you’re at without shame, blame and judgement. You decided you want to make some changes, roll with that and keep moving forward.
What will get you out of bed at 6AM
You’ve decided you’re ready to be in action and get your butt back to the gym. Great! We all know that motivation can run high at the beginning, and then it can fade out. Knowing that this will happen, ask yourself why do I want to get back to the gym? What will get you out of bed at 6AM? What is all this for? Do you want more energy to play with the kids? Do you want to be able to stand tall, proud and strong in your body? Do you want to have the energy and stamina to join your friends on their weekly hikes or camping trips? Do you want to feel good in your skin again? Do you want the sense of accomplishment in checking a 5km-run off your bucket list? Connect yourself with the ‘why’ and use that to stay consistent.
Take an objective assessment
Have a neutral look at your current health and fitness level. Begin where you’re at now, not where you were months ago before you took a brief hiatus. It’s best to start small and build from there as your body adjusts to the extra activity. You might surprise yourself and can work out more intensely in a short time but take it slow out of the gate. Ease yourself into it with 20-60 minutes of lower intensity aerobic activity three to five days a week to avoid an injury, like shin splints or a pulled muscle. Try a beginner weight lifting program that will have fewer sets, with less reps and lighter weights. Gradually increase workout duration and intensity as the weeks go on.
Have a plan
The beginning is not the time to leave things to chance. To set yourself up for success:
- Anticipate that there will be resistance to working out and make a plan with built-in accountability.
- Include the number of workouts per week, activity, distance or duration, and notes/links/apps if you’re going to be following a specific program.
- Set a specific, measurable goal. Such as running 5km, squatting 150lbs, or climbing that hill on your favourite trail without getting winded.
A measurable goal is most effective to track your progress and celebrate the results of your hard work. A plan will also help you stay focused and out of a state of overwhelm. You probably have enough stress in your life; let’s make sure this new exercise routine is an outlet for all of that instead of adding to it.
Working out with a buddy is a reliable way to stay accountable. Choose someone as dedicated as you, or even more so, a friend who’s not going to let you sleep in. Another way to create accountability is to make it a family affair. Let your little ones inspire you to a healthier lifestyle.
Don’t forget the magical F-word. FUN! What exercises do you most enjoy, maybe it’s kettlebells, cycling or trail running. Will you be more pumped to get moving if you’re sporting new gear? Remind yourself of what gives you that energetic spark and incorporate it into the plan.
You’re most likely going to be a bit stiff and sore getting into your new routine. It’s a must to take time for stretching. Foam rolling is a great way to actively recover from your workout and ensure that you stay loose and limber, allowing you to stick with your activities and help prevent injury. On rest days, perhaps go for a light stroll around the block to help with blood flow, muscle repair and flexibility, and keep you in the mode of being active.
Pro-tip: Being back at the gym can also mean back at the vegetable aisle of the grocery store. Make sure you’re storing everything correctly for maximum nutritional value.
The best part about all of this? It’s never too late. Every day is an opportunity to start something new. Set yourself up for success by having a plan, sticking with it, and having fun. You’ll probably feel your fitness ability return after only a few weeks of consecutive workouts. You’ve got this, and we can’t wait to see the results of your commitment.
Have questions about which supplements to start taking if you’re beginning your fitness journey? Visit us in store, have a chat with one of our experts, and learn about our favourites! We can also be reached on Facebook and Instagram. Now it’s your turn to tell us, how do you keep your exercise routine going? Be sure to tag us! We are #ReflexNation.