There are several reasons as to why you may take a break from your workout. Sickness, lethargy, overwork, vacation, exams, or injury, may prevent you from following your workout routine. Reasons to take a gap from exercise although many, you must restart your workout as soon as this phase gets over. But a majority of the time bouncing back to the same level of fitness may seem to be a huge task.
You will definitely not be in the same state of health as you were when you took a gap and this makes it all the more a challenge. How then, can you restart your exercise routine? Read ahead for some tips you can follow to get back in form after a long gap in your workout schedule.
As many of us wrongly think, a gap in your exercise routine may not necessarily mean a setback and you need to understand that. You may not be progressing with your health but there may be certain other things that are unavoidable and that leaves you with no workout. You may be exercising every 6 days a week and then all of a sudden nothing at all. Understand the reason why you are not able to work out. It will definitely help you rationalize your thoughts and acknowledge the needs of your body better.
Another thing you must be aware of is that this happens to all of us. You are not alone. Everyone goes through these phases and how you recover from it is more important than getting disheartened. This being said recovery may be difficult, it may be longer too but it is not impossible. It is very well true that your progress may be slow but slow progress is always better than no progress at all!
It is human nature that once a practice becomes a habit it gets ingrained in your brain to a point that it gets automated. You will wake up at the correct time without an alarm, get dressed, and get to the gym. But once there is a break in this habit the automation does not work and you have to put in double the efforts to get back on track. Have faith in your efforts, you are worth it!
Important Tips to Follow
It is quite natural for you to feel sad about the loss of your fitness level when you start your fitness routine again after a break. You may start feeling and looking different as well. The following tips and strategies will help you climb right back up if you have lost that balance and help you with kickstarting your workout AGAIN!
Be easy on yourself
Once you step foot in the gym again after a break, naturally, you may want to start lifting the same amount of weight from where you left off. Although it may seem easy and you may even be able to do the same but it is always advisable to start slow, with simpler exercises after the gap. This is true, especially in case you had an injury.
Give yourself time to recover completely. Also, after the gap your body is not used to lifting as much, hence you can start with bodyweight exercises before going all out. You may have a lot of expectations from yourself but it is equally important to keep your goals realistic. Start slowly and move ahead steadily.
Remember how you feel about your workout
The adrenaline rush you feel after your workout seems to disappear when on a break and you may even forget that feeling. You may struggle to get back into gear, to ditch your bed early in the morning and climb on that treadmill again. But once you restart, it will be helpful if you remember that feeling you experienced after a workout. That energetic mood or that stamina with which you may have the entire day, before the gap, can then motivate you to get back.
Remember that when no one claps for you, you have to clap for yourself. Reward yourself for the small progress. After a long gap just going to the gym may also become a stepping stone to success. Celebrate these small achievements. They will make you consistent. You don’t always have to eat a burger or an ice cream to celebrate too. You can even celebrate more healthily. How about your favourite fruit smoothie? Or a session of a relaxing massage after? You know you deserve it!
Many times, when you are trying to get back to your exercise routine deep down somewhere you may not be wanting to do the same. The commonest excuse many give is the lack of time. If time is what you are complaining about, then time blocking or scheduling your exercises may just be for you. You do not have to wait for the perfect day or perfect time to work out but you can keep for yourself a dedicated amount of time every day to go for that walk or run or to hit the gym. Time without distractions will help you concentrate on your workouts better.
Preparation for the next day
If you used to work out early in the morning and are now struggling to do the same you can try setting a night routine. Keep your gym bag ready. Keep an alarm for the morning. sleep well in time so that you get the proper quality and quantity of sleep. If you work out in the evening, arrange your things in your morning routine and you will be good to go! Once you put tasks in your routine they get done and you don’t have to worry about other things that may possibly come in the way.
Understand why you are doing it
Workout for yourself. Your health is your responsibility and others can do little to help you with it. Your exercise will benefit your health both physically and mentally. You need to realize that you are doing it for your body and not for your family or your children. The only person who will benefit from your workout is you. Your body is what you make of it and no one else has any say in it. Your workout will increase your confidence, make you look great, make you feel great. Once you know the reason behind what you are doing it will become easier to get into action.
The gym is not always an answer
To restart a workout after a long gap, you do not always have to go to the gym. There are many other fun and enjoyable alternatives if you don’t feel like going to the gym. You can just start by simply taking a walk or jogging in the nearby garden. Swimming or a Zumba session can also work wonders. If nothing you can start at home with bodyweight exercises. Make your workouts fun to get into form and once you make that a habit it will become easier to stay consistent with the same.
Find a workout partner
Your friend, your spouse, or just someone from your workplace who may have been working out with you before your gap will be a good person to motivate you to restart again. Finding a workout partner will make you accountable to not just your workout but your partners too and vice versa. The responsibility will lie on both your shoulders. The social aspect that comes with the workout makes it fun. You can even chart your progress with your partner and help them as well as yourself achieve your fitness goals.
Measure your progress
There is no more motivation in the world than seeing yourself move ahead on the right fitness track. Once you start your exercise routine after a long gap it would be better if you have your baseline measurements before starting. Weigh yourself, measure yourself, aim of fitting in that old pair of jeans.
Slowly once you restart your body will start showing changes and these measurements will help you restore your confidence. Once the results are seen you will feel like working out more. Hence pay attention to your body and don’t be afraid of those numbers on the weighing scale.
Importance of warm-up and cool-down
Once your body loses the habit of working out your joints as well as your muscles may not be able to tolerate the sudden workout you may restart with. Hence you must warm-up prior to and cool down properly after your workout. No matter how much bored you feel or how much enthusiastic you are to start lifting, never skip your warm-up and cool-down, especially after your gap. This is also important to avoid injuries to help your body reach a full range of motion. Read this detailed guide to learn more about warm up and cool down.
Gaps in workouts are but natural. They happen with the most consistent fitness enthusiast. Do not let a gap be an excuse for not beginning again. Start small and start slowly. Build up your confidence and you will start seeing the change. Once you realize that you are getting better, it will add to your self-esteem and then your progress will accelerate. You just need to begin!
Remember failure is not going down but staying down! Believe in yourself and start exercising again, even after that gap, you will definitely succeed.
If you indeed were on a workout break and this article has motivated you to break your break then do let us know about your restart journey in the comments section below.