Whether we like to hear it or not, taking time off is always a necessity. Often we get so caught up in the things going on around us, that we end up running ourselves into the ground instead of performing at our best. When it comes to being our best selves, there is no denying that there are benefits to taking time off both for our mental and emotional well-being.
Getting back into the swing of things after a break, however, isn’t always so easy. If you’ve been careful about your activities and consistent with your diet then it may be easier, but when you’re ready to get back into your regular workout schedule, there will be some adjustments.
To help make the transition easier, the following are some helpful tips for getting back into our workout schedule after time off.
- Take it Slow
You might be mentally prepared to get back into your regular workouts, but after some time off your body might be a bit behind schedule. Give your body a few days to get back into the swing of things by easing it into your previous exercise regime. This might mean starting off slow with easier activities, or taking down your reps and sets until your muscles get back into the groove.
When individuals try to force their bodies to perform as they previously have, the likelihood for injury greatens. Avoid unnecessary pain and potential injury by easing your body into previous motions and weights. Focus more on doing the exercises slowly and with control as opposed to focusing on hitting that max weight.
- Make Time
Getting back into a workout schedule can be very difficult for some people, especially if they’ve gotten comfortable with their time off. It’s important that you make time for the gym without giving yourself the chance to make excuses, so plan to go at a time when you know you’ll be available.
Write these times in your calendar and set an alarm so you know when it’s time to get ready. Pick a time when you know that you’ll be motivated, either right after work or perhaps in the early morning before you start your day. The best time to workout has no one-size-fits-all rule, so find what works best for you and stick to that time.
- Find a Gym Buddy
Not everyone has an easy time holding themselves accountable. If you’re having a hard time getting yourself back into your workout schedule after time off, then you might consider finding a gym buddy to join you.
Having a workout partner can help to make you more accountable for your goals, and they may help to push you on days when you’re feeling less driven. If you’re not sure who to ask, consider asking around to find someone with similar workout plans. These might include similar goals, workout styles, and even similar time preferences. This way, you know you can count on each other to always make it to your workouts.
- Be Prepared
Getting back into your regular workout schedule means being prepared. If you have a busy schedule or you’re always on the road, then you’ll want to have your gym clothes, water, and extra snacks available so you’re always ready to hit the gym.
This is especially helpful if your plans change during the day and you need to roll with the punches. A cancelled meeting or traffic jam can mean your whole day is thrown off. Having your gym bag packed and accessible means you can always squeeze in a session or change up your schedule with no worries about ditching the gym.
- Start a Challenge
It can often be helpful when you’re getting back into a workout schedule to start with a challenge. A challenge is an easy way to kick-start your workout habits, and finding a challenge that focuses on muscles all over the body will help each area get back into shape.
It’s very simple to find all kinds of challenges online, and there are all types of intensity levels and muscle focuses. Print out a calendar and write down what your tasks are for each day, and be sure to still do something active on your days off. This is also a great idea if you’re just starting with a workout buddy; not everyone is well-versed in the gym and a challenge can tell you exactly what to lift, how to do it, and how many times.
- Get Creative
Being healthy doesn’t have to mean that you are always heading to the gym. Everyone’s idea of a good workout differs, and there are lots of options for getting a good sweat in day-to-day. If you’re not as comfortable in the gym, then you might prefer daily runs, recreational sports, hot yoga, or a fun kick boxing class.
Remember that there is no specific way to get into shape, so it’s a great idea to try a few different things during your first month back. Get adventurous and sign up for different classes, and see what kinds of exercises get you motivated.
Many gyms offer a lot more than just weights and machines, so talk to their customer service agents about the class options they offer that might be more up your alley.
- Stay Healthy
You might be used to a very specific weight or body shape, but pushing yourself to reach that image or number when you’re not prepared can be detrimental to your health. If you’re trying to get back into your workout schedule after time off, remember that all things take time and effort, and you should still be maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This includes sustaining a healthy diet that feels right for you, and addressing any injuries or ailments that could affect your workout. If you have sore muscles or previous injuries, consider investing in a quality brace for working out to protect the area and avoid re-injury.
Staying healthy enough to uphold an active lifestyle will also mean staying hydrated and maintaining proper sleep patterns each night. Keeping up your water levels and getting an average of 7-8 hours of sleep per night can help you to perform your best during the day, and recover properly through the night.
Getting back into your regular workout regime might be tough at first. After some time off from activity, your body may require a gradual process back to its original performance. In order to get back into your workout schedule after a much-needed break, consider the tips suggested to ensure that the process is safe and effective.
If you’re not sure what you can or should do during workouts, consider consulting a physical trainer for some one-on-one tips and advice for returning to your previous abilities.