Just as it is difficult to build your entire lifestyle and include a challenging, ever-changing workout to make things interesting, it is painfully simple to break a single habit that can affect your health and deprive you of those priceless hours at the gym, lifting heavy stuff. And once you’ve stopped training, muscle memory alone won’t be enough to get you back on track.
As Allen Saunders cleverly puts it: “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” Whether life means an unfortunate injury or a schedule filled with unavoidable meetings with no end in sight, your workouts are the unlucky aspect of your life that will end up benched for the rest of the season. So, how do you find a way to get back in the game? Let’s take a look at some of the simplest, most effective ways to ensure a safe return of your gains.
Despite your extensive knowledge and impressive experience, if you’re recovering from an injury, you will need professional guidance and monitoring to prevent re-injuring yourself and causing further damage to your health. It’s crucial to assess your physical abilities and healing progress, as well as to always have someone check your exercise form.
Then again, if you’ve had a longer break not related to an injury and you’re perfectly healthy, having a coach to guide you back into shape is an excellent motivator that will let you slowly regain your independence. Having someone observe and evaluate your training, cheering you on as well as scolding you when needed is potentially the best way to keep yourself from quitting again.
Even if you’re into solo activities, going to a workout with a friend simplifies your return in a few ways. First of all, having a companion might actually help you look forward do your training and add more fun to the process. Moreover, the sense of respecting someone else’s time and schedule will be another motivator to not skip a day at the gym, especially if you feel needed and if you help each other perfect your routines.
After a longer break, it’s very difficult for your body to start utilizing your muscles and strength the same way as before, so it’s crucial not to make the mistake of jumping into the exact same routine you followed prior to the pause.
Instead, remember that there’s no shame in starting over, and let your body reclaim its cardiovascular endurance and muscle power by implementing a beginner’s complete workout routine that will activate your whole body and prepare you for future athletic challenges. You’ll be surprised how much you can achieve just by training smart and allowing slow, gradual progress that will not drain you, but boost your energy and motivation.
As much as they are important in any workout, including for those who exercise without breaks, it’s particularly relevant for a returning athlete to incorporate extensive, well-planned exercises that will warm up your body before your workout. This includes explosive movements, dynamic stretches and some cardio to elevate your heartrate, make you start sweating and mobilize all of your joints.
A cooldown consisting of static stretches, and foam rolling and deep tissue massage are also crucial to prevent dizziness, possible fainting and restore your heartrate to a normal level and prepare you for the rest of your day. If you’re just starting out again, your body is more susceptible to injury, so implementing a proper flexibility and mobility routine to complement your training is a must.
The bottom line is, whether you are recovering from an injury or your life is so busy you’ve considered cloning yourself, there is no magic pill to serve as a shortcut to your goals and make your fitness transition easy and painless. You will need to work hard, discover what strategies work best for you and make your return as safe and effective as possible!