We all have had longer breaks from exercise. Sometimes we just got too busy at work, with our family, other times it might have been an injury. If you have been out of training for longer than 3 weeks you should follow a couple of simple rules to get back into it.
The Short about what you need to know about getting back into working out
- Slow down after a longer break
- Work with your body, don’t see it as the enemy
- Frustration is a normal part of the process
- Shorter, more frequent workouts might be better for you
- Listen to the cues your body is giving you!
- Listen to a professional at the beginning
Slow is the new fast
If you are like me then you might want to jump right back into where you stopped at. Same weights lifted, same mileage run, same hours put in. This is a sure way of setting yourself up for failure, injury and frustration.
- If your break was shorter than 1 month but longer than 2 weeks reduce your volume by 25%.
- If your break was longer than 1 month but shorter than 3 month reduce your volume by 50% and increase it by 10-15% per week.
- Anything longer than 3 months of no exercise start at around 35% of what you have been doing and increase your load by 5-10%/week.
Your body is not the enemy
Sometimes we treat our body like the enemy when it does not perform on the level that we are looking for. We push through pain, force workouts and keep setting ourselves back. We also diminish our joy of working out. Listen to your body and work out accordingly. You will have more fun and success in the long run!
Frustration is normal
If you have a history of working out regularly and you were sidelined because of injury, frustration can be one of the biggest problems you can have. You will get impatient, you might feel like it will never get better.
It will get better, just not necessarily on the timeline that you were looking for. Our bodies have an amazing capacity to heal. Supporting it with soft tissue work like foam rolling & massages, stretching and corrective exercise can do wonders. Advancing too fast will get you injured quickly!
Go for less more often instead of going big one time
You might feel that working out for 10 min is not nearly enough, that it is not worth the effort. But research shows that it is better to do something for 10 min six times a week than exercising for 60 mins one time in a week. Most likely you are hitting it too hard during your one big workout in the week anyway.
Trust your body
Nobody else feels what you feels. If you work with a healthcare professional or a personal trainer make sure to explain to them what you are feeling as acurately as you can. They are better at interpreting where it might come from but they will need your feedback to make the best decision in regards to your training and health. If you have the feeling that your advisors are not listening, get new ones!
I get it, we all think we can do it ourselves, and you can. With a lot of reading up, thorough research and commitment you will be able to put something together for you that might work. On the other hand you can always ask a professional in your field (cycling coach, personal trainer, running coach, etc), to help you with the basic setup. This person will be able to put a training routine together based on your current fitness level, observe your movements and make adjustments.
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