Getting back into the gym after a hiatus from working out can be tough. Not only does it take physical ability to get right back into the swing of things, but mental toughness as well. In the beginning of your workout program you may feel discouraged, asking yourself “where did my strength go?” or “I used to be able to lift double this weight!” but you have to go back into this journey knowing that it is going to take time to work back up to those goals.
As some of you know, I had to take some time off of my training for a bit for a few reasons; I started a new job with a commute that was less than ideal and hours that were just not forgiving enough to allow me to workout like I was used to. My husband also got the terrible news that he had to undergo open heart surgery, so much of my free time was devoted to his care and recovery. Now that he is back on the mend and allowed to do some light cardio, and I am no longer at that job, it’s time for me to work out again. It’s also nice to have my workout partner back to train together, even though our workouts right now are very different.
What I wanted to share with you is some of my observations and tips when it comes to getting back into your workout program after a break. I hope that this will inspire you to not let any more time go by before you jump back into your routine, but also to not beat yourself up during those first few weeks back in the gym.
- You’ve likely lost some muscle mass and strength. If you take a few months off from the gym odds are you have lost some strength and muscle mass. In my three months off from strength training I dropped a few pounds and can already tell it’s going to take time to get my squats, and some other lifts, higher in weight. It is expected so don’t fret! If you don’t use certain muscles they will slowly weaken and maybe decrease in size slightly, but it will all come back thanks to a little concept of “muscle memory.”
- Your stamina may have dropped a bit. It takes time and consistency to work your way up in endurance and stamina. It’s like a marathon runner – you don’t get to 15 miles over night; it takes time, new goals each week or month and patience. If you find that you used to be able to do 45 minutes of cardio with ease and now are winded at 20 minutes, it’s okay and expected. Make small goals each week to add a few more minutes and eventually you will be back to where you were a few months ago.
- You’ll likely be sore. It takes some time to get rid of post workout soreness. After your first week back in the gym you’ll likely be sore and your muscles will hurt, but make sure you are adding an amino acid to your supplement routine. I like to drink my Amino Energy during and after workouts to prevent some muscle soreness, but it’s still going to happen.
- Consistency is key. After a few days of back to back visits in the gym you should be pumped, excited and on a roll! I find that even if I don’t want to workout every single day I need to do it in the beginning to find a rhythm. After a week or two I will drop back down to 4-5 days of strength training to allow for some rest days, but in the beginning I like to go in everyday (even just to do some light cardio) to get myself used to the gym being a part of my routine.
- Plan your workouts and make them fun. If you want to stay motivated in the gym you need to make it fun. Find a workout program you love and you’ll never hate going to train. I love the Crush Fit workouts, they are easy to do and keep you accountable. (if you want to do any I recommend Crush 60 – and if you use code JERSEYGIRL you get 15% off as well).
The most important thing to remember is don’t get down on yourself if you are just getting back to the gym. Getting in shape and being fit takes time; it’s not a spring it’s a marathon. There will always be new goals to achieve and being healthy and active is a lifestyle, not a DIET or a FAD. Best of luck out there and go kill your workouts!