One of our long term clients recently got back from a 3 month stint working in Europe. Although he had promised us he would workout while away, that didn’t happen. He stepped back through the door 15 lbs heavier than we had last seen him and hadn’t workout out more than a handful of times. Unfortunately this isn’t uncommon and at time of year when more and more people are returning from a summer layoff it becomes our job to ease clients back into their routine.
The good news is that’s it’s easier to restart to then to start for the first time. So if you’re coming back from time away from the gym, here’s what you should expect.
ACKNOWLEDGING THE STARTING POINT
When you return to the gym or your fitness routine after a hiatus, it’s vital to acknowledge your starting point. Understand that your body may not be where it was before your break, and that’s perfectly okay. The first step is to give yourself some grace. Avoid comparing your current self to your past fitness levels. The good news is that your body will change faster than when you first started working out but you need to be patient over the first few weeks. Your mind may be willing, but the body needs to catch up.
SETTING REALISTIC GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS
The key to a successful fitness journey is setting realistic goals and expectations. Instead of aiming for a complete transformation overnight, consider SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These goals help you stay focused and motivated.
Set both short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals, like attending a certain number of workouts per week or incorporating more vegetables into your meals, can provide immediate gratification. Long-term goals, such as achieving a specific weight or running a marathon, give you something to work towards over time. At Virtuo, our coaches work with out clients to set manageable daily and weekly goals that add up to big time results. When clients trust this process it creates dramatic transformations.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPER NUTRITION
Exercise alone won’t get you the results you desire; nutrition plays a crucial role. Focus on balanced eating, including proper portion control and meal planning. One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to come back from time away is to jump right into the deep end. Rather than opting for a restrictive diet, it’s better to pick one manageable goal per week and build. For example, rather than cutting out alcohol completely from the start, try limiting your drinking to the weekends and then cut down on the number of drinks each week during the following weeks. Slow progressions work better than extreme behavior changes.
GRADUAL PROGRESSION IN WORKOUTS
Similarly, one of the most common mistakes when returning to fitness is pushing too hard too soon. Instead, opt for a gradual progression. Begin with low-intensity workouts that won’t overwhelm your body. As you build strength and endurance, you can gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts. This is why it’s so important to have a coach with the background to build workouts to progress you and monitor progress to make sure things are moving at the proper pace.
Part of proper programming and guidance is avoiding injuries as you return to a routine. Resuming exercise after a break comes with a higher risk of injuries. To avoid this, prioritize proper warm-up and cool-down routines before and after your workouts. Pay close attention to your body; if you experience pain or discomfort, don’t push through it. Recognize these signs as signals to take it easy and allow your body time to adapt.
Prior to taking time away from the gym, you make have worked out 5 days a week, but that was you then not now. Going from no workouts a week to 2 is already a 200% increase. Less is more a the start. Begin small and assess recover. If after 2 weeks of 2 workouts you feel fresh and recovered then try adding a 3rd and repeat the process until you reach your end goal. Most importantly, listen to you body!
BUILDING A SUPPORT SYSTEM
Getting back into shape after time away takes work and there’s no getting around that but the one way to make it go faster is to hire a coach. A good coach and create an appropriate pace for your return, motion you progress and make adjustments accordingly. Having the right plan and right person in your corner can quite literally get you results in half the time of doing it on your own.
Consistency is the key to long-term success in your fitness journey. To stay consistent, create a workout schedule or routine that fits your lifestyle. Make exercise a non-negotiable part of your day, just like brushing your teeth or eating meals. Small repeated efforts create more change in the long run than extreme measure that can’t be maintained.
During challenging moments when motivation wanes, practice positive self-talk. Remind yourself why you started this journey and how far you’ve come. Every day you show up is a step closer to your goals.
If you’ve taken some time off from the gym and are hesitant to get back in shape then click the link below and book a free no-sweat intro with one of our coaches.
We’ll outline the exact steps you need to take to get back yourself and make sure you get there safely in half the time.