Over this past year, I have had several setbacks in my workout routine. First, surgery to manage arthritis pain, followed by a broken foot, then a severe weeks-long bout with Covid-19, and now, managing ongoing Covid fatigue, aches, and pains.
I have had other times in my life when my regular exercise plan has been interrupted or put on hiatus for one reason or another. So, I know firsthand how hard it can be to get back into the swing of regular workouts. However, many strategies can be used effectively to ensure you get back to your healthy lifestyle, so read on to learn how you can overcome your obstacles to staying fit.
One tool that I have found helpful is to plan. If you know that a future event, such as a vacation, surgery, or work commitment, will interrupt your routine, ask yourself some key questions. Such as, if I can’t use my regular gym, is there an alternative? If I can’t do my regular exercises, what other exercises can I do? If I have to take time off from training altogether, what other activities can I do to improve my wellness?
By answering these key questions, you may find that you can retain some activity geared toward maintaining or even improving your wellness while not doing your usual workout. In addition, activities such as yoga, meditation, learning new healthy recipes, or mental health counseling are great ways to improve your overall health. Finally, when thinking of your absence from your gym, think of the many alternatives to the gym that also offer health, such as biking, swimming, and hiking.
There can be an absolute dread of going back to a gym that you have been absent from for any period of time. We all fear the looks of judgment from the other gym regulars, along with the lapsed membership, the unknowns of what has changed in our absence, and the knowledge that our fitness has declined during our break.
While these fears are real, they should not keep you from getting back out there. Know that you are your own harshest critic and that delaying your return will only worsen your health. Your gym and its patrons should celebrate your return!
While it may sound simplistic, the best course of action is to just get in the gym; if the reasons for your absence from the gym are now resolved, plan your return for today. The fact that your return to the gym weighs on you confirms your awareness that you are procrastinating. Once you know you are procrastinating, the worst is over! You can now accept that you are ready to hit the gym and set your intention to modify your behavior.
Remember that depending on the length of time you have been absent from the gym, you will likely not be returning to your pre-break workouts. Your ‘new’ workout will also be dependent on the reasons for your absence, such as recovering from surgery. In any case, your return to activity should be gradual, gentle, and short. Prepare for some hard-earned soreness , and plan for an extended stretch session and relaxing and rejuvenating self-massage!.
Life is already complicated and stressful. Beating yourself up about being away from the gym doesn’t serve any healthy purpose. Be kind to yourself, and just try to do your best. Every minute of activity is good for you, so celebrate even your most minor successes. You risk injury and an even more extended break if you return to the same workout intensity as your pre-break workout.
If your prebreak workout no longer engages you, and boredom or burnout is the reason for your break, this is the perfect time to try something new! Talk with other wellness enthusiasts about the activities they are loving, and it may open a new door for you. Or, seek out a qualified personal trainer to guide you to your best self!