Updated: Jun 19
You are going to the gym and working hard on your goals for fitness. You've got your super organized schedule. The groove is going amazing and you are feeling equally as amazing when all of the sudden, something comes up and life hits you and you start to miss workout sessions.
This list is never ending, but could consist of vacations, holidays, illnesses, injuries, work deadlines, life events or simply a busier-than-usual schedule. Time starts to fly by and before you know it, a week, a month or a few years slip by without getting back to our fitness and health goals.
Real life has an uncanny way of surprising us and derailing our carefully thought out plans. Life happens to all of us, even me.
It is completely normal for your training consistency to ebb and flow throughout the course of your life. The most important thing is that you get started again so you can feel your very best!
The challenge for many of us is that getting back into that groove and routine of a gym or perhaps a dance studio after some time away and it can feel incredibly difficult, and understandably so. A question that I get often is how to pick it back up after some time away. Here are some insights on how to get your groove back.
GIVE YOURSELF SOME GRACE
The first thing to do is give yourself some grace! Everyone pushes fitness or health goals to the side at some point or another. Whether they choose to or are forced to. Recognize that you have the opportunity to jump back in and that is what ultimately matters.
In addition to providing yourself that grace, work on avoiding self-deprecating remarks! If someone at the gym or the dance studio you go to is asking you about your absence or notices you have returned, all you truly need to say is that you took some time away and that you are back and excited to be back! No need to apologize or explain in complete detail, and certainly resist making jokes at your own expense. This negative language is not helpful and instead, you may try re-framing it and talking about how excited you are to be back and looking forward to the progression coming your way rather than discussing the past.
EVALUATION OF YOUR EXPECTATIONS
One of the biggest challenges that people face in getting back to the gym or dance studio after some time away is that they are scared of how much strength or aerobic capacity they may have lost. It can be difficult and feel disheartening to develop certain skills or strength and not being able to pick up where we left off.
Something to note is that your first time back to the gym or the dance studio, it's going to be hard. You may feel out of breath and it may be uncomfortable. This is normal, and it's important to remind yourself that the discomfort won't be everlasting.
After a week or two of being consistent with movement, things will start to feel better. Getting over the initial hump can be the most challenging part and might take some fortitude, but it's temporary. The best way to overcome this is to ease back into things by cutting down on the duration or energy expenditure and intensity for those first few sessions back.
Often when you pick your physical fitness back up, remember that if you go back into it just as intense as you left it, you leave yourself wide open for soreness and injuries. Going back super intense can leave you out of that consistency bucket because you are too sore to move or you perhaps pull something that you didn't think was possible and now your back out for another period of time.
In order to set yourself up for success and ensure consistency, consider cutting down on the number of sets you do in the gym as well as backing down on the weight by quite a bit. Or, if you are heading back to the dance studio, maybe mix it up with one or two classes a week versus 5. Let your body get adjusted to the activity without crushing yourself.
Give yourself permission to ease back into things you take the pressure off of yourself. Set yourself up for easy wins to build some success momentum which will help you get back to the gym or dance studio for that first session back.
CHOOSE SOMETHING FUN!
When you are trying to get back into workouts or dance classes, it's important to choose something you enjoy. Move your body doing something you enjoy! What do you love to do for fitness? What sounds fun? A dance class? A group class? An outdoor activity? The goal is to get your body moving!
RECRUIT A SUPPORT OR ACCOUNTABILITY BUDDY Everything feels a little bit easier when we have a support system to lean on. If you are feeling a little apprehensive about getting back into it, find a friend to go with you or start walking and talking a couple of times a week.
After a hiatus away, it can be tempting to focus on what you were capable of doing in the past, but I would like to encourage you to resist staring in your rearview mirror, and instead, focus forward.
There is no wagon; only real life, and real life is rift with sickness, vacation, seasons that are higher in stress and periods where we straight up don't want to go to the gym.
This is OK and it's also to be expected. The best thing you can do for yourself is to use the opportunity to get yourself MOVING!