Returning To Fitness After A Break

We work hard all year and the holidays are a great time to take a break from everything. While it is normal to want to take a small break from the stress of work and heavy exercise, taking too long of a break from working out will make it difficult to get back on track. In just a few short weeks, we can lose some of our physical strength and motivation.  There is no need to be discouraged, with these simple steps, returning to fitness after a break can be quick, easy and even fun.

Mentally Prepare

Set New Goals And Try New Things To Get Excited About Working Out

After a long break from exercise, you may not be that excited to start again because the break can sometimes make us a bit lazy.

If the thought of exercise seems boring, then try setting brand new fitness goals. Better yet, consider trying brand new fitness activities altogether. Challenge yourself by signing up for an easy race or take a short course in a physical skill, like martial arts, tennis, or dance.

Go Fitness Shopping- New Workout Clothes, New Music, New Workout Gear

While you are out doing your usual holiday shopping, try to include some workout essentials in your basket. Having new workout clothes and accessories can actually make working out more fun-you’ll at least enjoy showing them off in the gym, right?

Updating your workout music playlist can also make your workouts feel fresh and new - preventing boredom.

Create A Workout Tribe

Sometimes we need some encouragement from the outside. Creating your fitness tribe-- a group of friends with fitness goals like yours-- can help keep you on track. You can work out together, discuss your progress, share advice, and use the gym time to socialize. This group can help you reach your goals while making workouts more fun.

Get Organized - Plan And Schedule Workouts In Advance

If you treat your workouts like business meetings or doctor’s appointments, you are more likely to stick to them. Having a set workout plan and scheduled workouts for the week can help you to feel more focused and motivated.

Physically Prepare

Now that you are motivated, organized and kitted up, let’s start training again.

Assess Your Fitness Before And After The Break

After a few weeks of little to no physical activity, you can expect some changes in your body. Before you dive back into your usual routine, you need to take some time to find out just how much the break could have set you back.

It is a good idea to take note of your fitness level before the holidays so that you can have something to compare them to.

Simple fitness tests:

·         Reps-per minute: set a timer to one minute and do any of the following exercises in proper form: sit-ups, squats, push-ups or any other exercise that challenges the muscles. Note how many you can perform in a minute and write it down. Perform this exercise again after about two weeks of exercising or not exercising and note the difference in your performance.

·         One-mile walk or jog: after warming up, set a timer and walk or jog as fast as you comfortably and safely can for one mile. Note how long it took and write it down. Perform this exercise again after about two weeks of exercising or not exercising and note the difference.

How much your break set you back depends on how fit you were beforehand. The fitter you were, the less the impact.

After just two weeks of inactivity, the amount of blood in the body begins to decrease. A measure called VO2max, which measures the maximum amount of oxygen you can use during intense exercise-- decreases after about two weeks. You can lose up to 15% of it after two months of inactivity.

Strength and muscle tone that you have developed over the years (not just before your break) start to decline after about a month without training.

Consult Your Physician If You Have Pre-existing Medical Conditions

You have heard before that you should consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program. While for most people, a few weeks off from their regular fitness routine will not require another visit, it may be necessary for those who already have certain health issues, like heart and lung problems. Since the break from exercise will have affected your fitness levels, heart, and lung capacity, it is wise to have a thorough checkup to make sure it is safe to start again and to be advised on which form of exercise is safest for you.

Getting Started-Things To Do During Workout

Start Slow

It is better to start exercising at a slightly less intense pace than you did when you first left off. Your fitness test should give you an indication of how much fitness you’ve lost. With time you can gradually increase the intensity with every new workout.

Include More Flexibility  And Warm Up Exercises

Flexibility and warm up exercises are necessary for every workout. Dynamic stretching can provide many benefits, like preventing injury and ensuring a quicker recovery after intense workouts. After a break from exercise, warming up and stretching properly is even more important as your flexibility may have decreased, making you more prone to injury and soreness.

Eating To Get Back Into Shape

Get Your Eating Right Again

During the holidays, you may have indulged in some unhealthy treats. Now that you are exercising again, it is time to clean up the diet. All those rich foods you ate during the break can affect your fitness and how you feel when you are working out. They can make you feel bloated, heavy, and tired.

If you want to feel more energetic and motivated to exercise, you need to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Taking a quality multivitamin supplement will help too. These foods will energize you the correct way.

Drink Plenty Of Water

Good hydration is always important but even more important after the holidays as all of that rich food and festive drinking can leave us dehydrated and feeling gross, affecting our workout performance. Drinking water can help undo that damage and make our new workouts so much easier.

Ease Back into Things

There is no need to rush back into working out. Rushing back into things can lead to injury, which can set you back even more. With a bit of patience, a positive attitude, and consistency, you can get back into your usual routine in no time. When you’re ready, schedule a training session and start making progress again!