It’s no secret that we love a sweaty gym session, but sometimes life ends up getting in the way and we can get a little off track. Sickness or injury kicks in, you get wound up in overtime at work or family commitments take priority. Next thing you know, your workout routine becomes, well, non-existent.
It’s frustrating, we know. But the reality is that it happens to us all - and more often than you probably think - which is why it’s important to not be too hard on yourself.
We want to reassure you that no matter how scary it may seem to take those first few steps again, it is possible to regain your confidence and re-build your workout routine. All you need is a helping hand (that’s us BTW!)
Our top tips on how to get back into working out safely are everything you need to fall back in love with exercise.
HOW TO START EXERCISING AGAIN
First things first, there are a few things you need to bear in mind.
After taking a long break from physical activity, it’s likely that you won’t be able to perform at the same level that you once did. That’s why it’s important to take it easy and set goals that are realistic and manageable for you.
One way to increase your endurance and reduce the risk of injury is to vary your workouts and include progressive overload into your routine. See more below.
1. GO EASY ON YOURSELF
It’s seriously tempting to go all out when you return to the gym, but doing too much too soon will only overwhelm you and cause you to burn out.
Be honest with yourself and your fitness level and train at a pace that is right for you. Start with some gentle exercises or low-intensity workouts, such as yoga or a light jog. This will allow your body to get used to moving again whilst giving you the encouragement to keep going.
If you’ve been unable to train due to injury, it’s important to check with your GP or physio before you start exercising again.
2. START OFF SMALL
The most important thing to remember when getting back into the gym after a long break is to manage your expectations and stay positive. It’s easy to compare yourself to when you were training more regularly, but if you’ve not worked out in a while, it’s perfectly normal to see a dip in your performance.
But don’t let this get in the way of achieving your goals! Remember, something is better than nothing, so doing short bursts of exercises, even if it’s a 10-minute walk, is a step in the right direction. Chances are, after those 10 minutes, you’ll feel great and want to keep going anyway.
Strength training is also an important part of getting back into exercise safely, as weakened muscles can lead to joint pain. This doesn’t mean you need to head straight for the 100kg plates. Build your muscle strength with progressive overload. For the first week, you might start your squat set with 10kg, increasing it to 12kg the following week.
3. FIND A WORKOUT YOU ENJOY
There are more ways to keep fit and get back into working out than the gym. It’s true! Keeping active and staying consistent with your fitness routine is all about being flexible and finding a workout you enjoy.
This could be a dance class, a sports club or a sweaty HIIT session. Check out The 8 Best Alternative Workouts To The Gym here.
Even better, why not bring your bestie along with you too? Having a friend to workout with is a great way to boost motivation and hold each other accountable. Not to mention it adds an element of fun!
4. PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE
Your morning alarm rings, you notice you haven’t prepared any of your gym gear, so you decide to hit snooze and go back to sleep. Sound familiar? The solution is simple. Preparation is key.
Get everything ready the night before, including your gym ‘fit (AYBL, of course), snacks, water bottle and trainers. If everything is ready to go, you’ll feel like you’re too invested to change your mind and you’ll no longer have an excuse not to go.
5. MAKE A SCHEDULE
Sometimes life can become so busy that we just forget to workout. But the truth is, keeping active is just as important as eating, drinking and sleeping.
There’s no perfect time to workout, it's all about finding a time that works for you. If you know that you tend to work late, set your alarm half an hour early and schedule your workouts for the morning.
Exercise isn’t about sacrificing hours of your day, all it takes is 30 or even 15 minutes. Once you’ve created a schedule, stick to it! Soon, it’ll become a part of your daily routine and you won’t have to think twice about doing it.
6. DO IT FOR YOURSELF
If there’s one thing that you take from this blog, it’s to remember to always workout for you and no one else. Keeping fit and working out should be about making yourself feel great and aiming to be your own best self.
Every time you workout, acknowledge that you have done something good for yourself and celebrate that. With that being said, it’s a good idea to track your progress! This will give you a sense of direction, so you can see where you’re performing well and where you might need to make some adjustments. It’ll also give you that all important motivational boost to keep on smashing it.
When it comes to figuring out how to get back into the gym, the important thing to remember is to do it at your own pace and on your own terms. There are so many benefits to working out, but equally, doing too much too quickly can take its toll. We promise you, you will improve, it just takes time and patience.
For top tips on how to maintain your fitness motivation, see our blog here.