How To Start Working Out Again After A Break
Getting back into your exercise routine after taking a break isn’t always easy, and when one or two missed sessions turns into weeks or months, you might suddenly feel nervous about working out again.
Going back to the gym when you haven’t been for a while can be intimidating, and so can working out at home and not knowing how - or where - to begin.
While losing some progress is inevitable when you’ve taken time off, it happens to the best of us — and it is possible to get back on track.
Even though it can feel demotivating knowing you won’t be able to pick up where you left off, don’t let it stop you from taking that first step. Be kind to yourself and remind yourself how good it feels to move your body — even if it’s slowly.
Here are 10 ways to jumpstart your fitness so you can start working out again today.
Ten ways to get back into exercise after taking a break
When life gets in your way and you stop training or reduce the frequency of your workouts, it can be hard trying to get your healthy habits back in place.
But it’s important to remember everyone begins again at some point — even your favourite Sweat trainers. Whether it’s after pregnancy, sickness or an unexpected setback, it is possible to start welcoming the benefits of exercise back into your life with a few simple steps.
Manage your expectations
First thing’s first — be realistic. If you’ve taken some time off, it’s likely you won’t be able to get straight back into what you were doing before. It’s going to take some time, so be patient with yourself.
Plan when, where and who you’ll work out with
Planning your workouts can include everything from who you’re going to work out with to where and when you’ll be able to exercise. You can use the Planner within the Sweat app to schedule your sessions by time and day according to your weekly goals.
If you prefer to work out at home, make sure you have the right home gym equipment, or if you’re planning to go back to the gym, renew your membership and ensure you’re comfortable and confident in your environment.
To prepare for a successful first workout back, think about some habits you can start putting in place to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
For example, getting enough sleep and having your activewear ready the night before can help take the stress out of a morning workout. A pre-workout snack can give you an energy boost before an evening session, or you can recruit a workout buddy to keep you accountable.
To make sure you give your body the time it needs to recover avoid scheduling high-intensity workouts on consecutive days.
Set purposeful goals
Setting SMART goals — goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely — can help you stay focussed and give you direction, especially if it’s been a while since you last trained.
When your goals are meaningful and designed to add value to your life, you’ll be much more driven to reach them, even as a beginner!
Ease back into a consistent routine
It’s okay to start small, and that might be with just one workout a week. As you begin to form a routine, you can gradually start increasing the frequency of your workouts.
Remember, you’ve had some time off so your body needs to get used to moving again. Going too hard, too fast can lead to fatigue, burnout and increase your risk of injury.
Try shorter workouts
A quick workout can be all you need to start rebuilding your routine — the key is to keep it consistent. When you feel ready, you can begin to challenge yourself with longer workouts.
If you need inspiration, Sweat’s express workouts can be incorporated into your main program and you can also find them in the On Demand section of the app.
If you don't have time for a structured workout, try including exercise snacks in your routine. This could be anything that gets you up and moving, from taking the stairs to spending some time at the playground with your kids!
Take it back to basics
Practicing your technique can help reduce your chance of injury — you might already be familiar with lunges, push-ups and squats, but after some time off you might need to retrain your muscles to ensure you’re getting the most out of these movements.
There are exercise instructions included throughout your Sweat workouts and if you find any moves too difficult, you can modify them until you rebuild your strength — you can use the substitute exercise feature on Sweat if you get stuck.
Make rest and recovery the same priority as your workouts
Coming back to your workouts after time off means you’ll be feeling the effects of your training, which is why rest and recovery are so important.
Recovery begins with a good warm-up — getting your muscles warm and your blood flowing will prepare your body for your workout, and when you finish, cool down with stretches that target the muscle groups you’ve just trained.
Active recovery on your rest days can help you maintain your routine, but if you begin to feel fatigued or stressed, it might be a sign you’re overtraining. Pull back and think about other forms of self-care you can practice to help prioritise your wellbeing.
Join a fitness challenge
Challenging yourself is a great way to help you get back into a routine when you've been out of action for a while. The Sweat Community can help you find the fun in fitness again, and when you're working out alongside our community and the Sweat Trainers you'll never be doing it alone!
Embrace healthy habits
It’s important to consider your fitness journey beyond your workouts — your nutrition, sleep habits, and hydration are all key components to a healthy lifestyle and will help you feel and perform at your best.
Ready to get back into exercise?
When life throws you a curveball, use these steps to get yourself back on track.
It can be daunting restarting your fitness journey, but with a solid plan, a new set of goals and ongoing support you can step into your first workout with confidence and you’ll soon find those daily commitments will turn back into familiar healthy habits.
Are you returning to fitness after a break? Let us know in the comments!
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.