It happens to everyone that works out, and it just recently happened to me. I became sick and my schedule was busy, and I didn’t work out for a few weeks. Be it a few weeks, a few months, or even a few years, everyone is faced with getting back into the workout routine after taking some time off.
The amount of time off affects how you should approach your return. Naturally, the longer you have been without exercising, the more adjustments your body will have to make.
There are a few things that I like to do when I come back from a break:
- Lay out a workout plan.
- Identify sources of motivation. Why workout?
- Set specific, measurable, and achievable goals.
- Set a plan to get started.
The proper workout plan should be something that gets you excited, will challenge you, and should be something that you can commit to completing. Strike a balance by making it difficult enough that you will be motivated by your expected results, but not so difficult that you are likely to be overwhelmed.
Motivation is an important factor in the success of any exercise plan, and I find that it often helps if you begin a new plan with a high level of motivation. Picture yourself with your new levels of strength and athleticism, or a well sculpted body. You could take pictures on a regular basis to help track the progress of your physical appearance, or you could keep a notebook to keep track of your progression in strength. I also find reading the transformation stories of others to be inspiring when beginning a new workout.
Goals can be another helpful source of motivation, and they are also a nice way to see if you are meeting your expectations. A good goal should be challenging but achievable so that you feel accomplished after you have achieved it and so that the goal is still well within your reach. It should also be something that is measurable and specific, so that you know exactly when you have reached it. Finally, a goal should often be associated with a timeframe. Example: “I want to be able to deadlift 250lbs for a set of 10 by the end of June”. Challenging, achievable, measurable, and bound by time.
The last step is to have the plan for getting started. If you have not been working out for a long time, this may include a few weeks of a break in workout, where you gradually ramp up to the full load. Also important here are the logistical considerations for your workout. Where will you workout? When will this fit into your schedule?
Everyone starts working out at some point. It can often be tiring, but after a few weeks, it can be a source of energy and stress relief. Good luck!