It happens to the best of us. Sometimes with a good excuse and sometimes without any excuse at all. Either way, we fall off that wagon and skip a week, a month, sometimes even more. We may skip due to travel, injury, illness or simply because we’re a bit burnt out. After these lapses in working out it can seem like a pretty daunting task thinking about getting back into a workout routine. That being said, below are some tried and true tips for helping you get back on that exercise train!
Don’t Over Do It
Listen to Your BodyYour body is smarter than you, its just a proven fact. Listen to your body and start slow when getting back into the swing of things. It’s important to remember that you’re not going to be as strong as you were before, and that’s A-OK! Start slow and grow. For example if you typically used to run 5 miles three times a week maybe start with 2-3 miles two times a week. If those 3 miles are tough, start with brisk walk or walking up hill. Once you’ve gotten your first few workouts back under your belt you can evaluate how your body is feeling and adjust intensity, endurance, weight etc as you AND YOUR BODY see fit.
Form Over Speed
This is one of the most important rules to any fitness regimen ... quality over quantity! Make sure that your form is not suffering. Do not rush thru your workout or lift/do more than your body can handle. If you focus on your form the speed will follow naturally. It’s much more important to avoid injury than finish your workout two minutes earlier. Learn when your body is saying “o yes! This is a good pain” and “o no! This is not for me!”. Knowing the difference and listening to your body is essential. Form counts.
Try a Month Long Challenge
They say it takes a month to create a new habit. If you’re looking to get back into a fitness routine there are plenty of gyms, trainers, and studios that offer 30-day challenges. Having a challenge to hold you accountable and a time frame that seems manageable makes the idea of getting back into a routine sound less scary and is a great way to kick start your new routine. We suggest using an accountability manual.
Set SMART Goals
Make sure that the goals you’re setting for yourself are SMART. By SMARTI mean that they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Sensitive. Your goals should reflect you and be specific enough that you can measure them and your progress. Remember that your goals don’t need to revolve around the gym either. There are plenty of activities out there to get you in shape and back into the exercise routine that do not involve the gym – hiking, biking, swimming, walking/jogging, mountain climbing, and the list goes on!
Incorporate Cardio, Strength & Flexibility Training
To get the biggest bang for your buck when getting back into fitness you should make it a point to include a variety of Cardio, Strength and Flexibility Training into your routine. By ensuring that you’re hitting all three pillars of fitness you’ll be setting your body up for success and longevity with your goals.
Rest Days, Sleep, and Stretching are Just as Important
Once you start thinking about getting back into working out DO NOT forget that this new routine needs to include rest days, getting plenty of sleep each night and stretching. Working out takes its toll on your body and these three elements help to make sure that your body has plenty of time to recover and avoid injury. You should rest a minimum of two days a week when getting back into fitness as rest is key to long-term wellness and success. Always aim for 8+ hours of sleep a night. Lastly, be sure to stretch before and after each workout to maintain flexibility and keep your muscles loose.
Use the Buddy System
Having a workout partner is the best way to hold yourself accountable. Whether it’s a weekly run, daily HIIT workout, biweekly swim, or daily walk of the pups. Once you’ve made plans with someone it becomes much harder to “bail out” of your plans and skip your workout. I mean this person is counting on you to be there to hold them accountable too, you can’t let them down! Not to mention you can motivate one another to push hard, go faster, do more and everything is more fun when its social!
Prep Your Gym Bag
No matter what time of day works best for you to work out its always best to pack your gym bag ahead of time. You want to set yourself up for success! If you’re a morning person set your alarm across the room with your gym clothes next to it. If you prefer to work out after work set your gym bag next to your desk to remind yourself what you’ve committed to later in the day. This way you’ll be less likely to back out. You no longer have excuses, that’s the key to this game, eliminate the excuses! By the way, check out our favorite gym bag here.
Ok, now go grab your training / accountability partner and get back out there.
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