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How To Get Back In Shape Again After A Break From the Gym

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How To Get Back In Shape Again After A Break From the Gym

Hitting the gym after a few weeks, months (or dare we say it, years) away from working out is never fun. In fact, the longer we go without cardio or resistance training, the harder and more challenging it becomes to learn how to get back in shape again! Maybe even harder to stay motivated. 

Unfortunately, life often gets between us and our workout routines. Before you know it, time lapses, and your motivation begins to wane. From then on, it’s challenging to get back into a routine, particularly when you know just how challenging it’s really going to be to get fit.

Don’t despair! It’s going to be hard work, but with a bit of help, advice, and planning, you’ll soon be able to bust out rep after rep on the chest press or run marathons again. Keep reading as we explain the secrets to getting back in shape!

Start with the basics

It’s tough trying to get back in shape. Don’t worry; we’ve been there, too! And we’ll be there again in the future. It’s never easy figuring out how to start working out again. You need to rediscover your motivation for the workout, and in effect, go right back to the basics.

That’s right; when you restart, you need to learn how to workout again like you’re a beginner. It’s the best way to get back into the swing of things, but it won’t be long before you’re hitting the big weights again.

The first few weeks of any new workout regime are always going to be difficult. The longer you’ve left it, the more difficult it’s going to be, unfortunately. When we stop exercising, our bodies almost immediately begin to lose their conditioning - even a few days or weeks of absence will hamper a consistent training schedule.

For that reason, it’s going to be tough, it’s going to be difficult, and it’s going to be painful, so start slow and take it easy. 

There’s more to it than this, though, so let’s take a look at the best way to get back into shape after a long off-season. 

What’s your target? 

All exercise is good exercise, but you need to set a large target to get back in shape again. You need to know where you’re aiming to build a structured workout plan that helps you reach that target and that ultimately helps you become fit again. 

Pick a target to aim for, set a time limit, then start training. If you used to be a runner, then perhaps your target will be to run 10 miles. If you used to love deadlifting weights, then set a deadlifting target to reach. 

Alternatively, targets can involve weight loss or weight gain goals. You might want to lose a certain number of pounds before a holiday, or you might want to put on muscle mass to regain your old body shape. 

Set small goals

Once you’ve set your primary fitness target, the best way to reach that target is to set small, attainable goals. This is a fantastic way to break up a scary-looking goal into much smaller, more achievable goals. It’s excellent for motivation, and it’s the best way to stay accountable.

For example, your primary target might be to run a marathon again. If you’ve been away from the treadmill for the last year, that’s not going to happen overnight. Try to run a marathon straight away, and you could hurt yourself and set yourself up for failure. 

Instead, set weekly running targets. Your first goal can be a 5k run. Your next goal is a 10k run. And so on until you reach your marathon target. 

Don’t do too much, too quickly!

Make a workout schedule

With your goals and targets all set, you need to make sure you have the time to reach them. We all lead hectic lives, and it isn’t easy finding the time for a workout or exercise session, so it’s important to plan and schedule. You may need to incorporate workout splits to get the training you need that fits your schedule.

Get the weekly planner out and schedule your workout days throughout the week and for the next month. Write down your exercise goals at the same time, so you know what you’re aiming for each week and when you’re going to achieve your goals!

Don’t overdo it

It’s crucial not to overdo it in the early stages. It’s all too easy to get carried away after you’ve found your motivation again, but the reality is, our bodies need time to readjust.

Going too hard too quickly can lead to injury and fatigue. That’s going to slow you down, and it could even stop you again before you’ve really started. As we already said, don’t start with a marathon; start with a 5k. The same goes for strength training. Start using Pull up bands for bodyweight exercises and slowly build your strength from the ground up. 

Remember, learning how to get fit again isn’t a sprint; it’s an endurance race!

Start a healthy eating regime

Once you’re back on the training, you need to concentrate on your diet alongside your workout plan. A healthy eating regime is just as important as a training schedule because you need the proper fuel for your body to do the muscle repair it will need to do after you exercise. 

Different training will require different types of dieting. If it’s weight loss you’re aiming for, then you’ll need to cut down on fatty foods and load your body up with greens. If you’re training for cardio, you’ll need the carbs to keep you going. If you’re weightlifting, then protein is a must!

Don’t forget to warm up!

Warm-ups are an essential component of any workout, but they are perhaps even more integral when you’re just starting out again. 

When we say start slow and go back to the basics, we mean start slow, stretch, and warm up. Just as you’re easing yourself back into a training schedule, you also need to ease yourself into every single training session. 

Start your run with stretches and a slow walk, and then build up to jogging. Before lifting weights, stretch, warm up with some light cardio and enjoy a light resistance band workout before smashing the barbell.

Best exercises to get back into shape

How long does it take to get in shape? There’s never a clear answer for this. It just depends on your schedule, dedication, and motivation!

It’s a good idea to start working out with low-impact, low-intensity exercises. This helps your body transition from a long period of inaction into its new exercise regime without overdoing things and getting injured. 

Here are a few types of exercise to get you started:

Resistance band workouts

Resistance band workouts with Booty bands and other types of bands are a fantastic way to ease back into strength training. 

Rather than lifting weights, you can add resistance to your workouts without overdoing it. You can still organize full-body workouts with resistance bands while incorporating strength and cardio exercises that are low impact and low intensity into the circuits. 

As your fitness improves, up the level of resistance you’re using, and up the intensity of the workout!

Low impact cardio

It’s easy to lose our cardio fitness, and it’s important not to overstep the mark when you’re restarting. By don’t overstep, we literally mean, don’t overstep. 

High-impact cardio exercise such as running can cause severe damage to our joints and tendons, particularly if there’s been a prolonged absence. 

Start with low-impact cardio exercises or no-impact cardio exercises to build a base layer of fitness. Instead of jogging, spend two weeks hiking and cycling before hitting the treadmill. 

Get ready, get set, get fit!

We all go through long periods of gym absence, times when we just don’t want to lift weights, strap on another booty band, or do any more running!

Life is all about seasons, and this may be your season to start over! Make better decisions, make healthier choices, treat your body well. 

There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s only natural. We aren’t all professional athletes, and it takes serious motivation to hit the gym every single day of the week. 

When you decide it's time to get back on the treadmill again, though (and you will be ready, even if it’s weeks or months later,) remember to take things slow. Go back to basics, get a plan of action and a training schedule written down, and set out your achievable goals. 

Before you know it, you’ll not only remember how to exercise as you did before, but you’ll be back on top form. Bookmark our page to help you get back in shape after a long off-season!

Katherine Holden

Katherine Holden

Katherine is a CrossFit expert with humble origins. Starting out on a ranch, ever since she was nine, she spent most of her life roping and competing in team roping. After finding bodyweight exercises interesting she sought after a career in CrossFit and dedicated her life towards achieving the body of her dreams. Today Katherine is a personal trainer that loves to travel the world and change the lives of her clients.

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