Everyone falls off their fitness game every now and again- life happens. Whether injury or illness, those crazy kids, unwell family members, busy season at work- pick your poison, it happens to the best of us.
Getting back on track can be a struggle, and I don’t know about you, but for me working out after getting out of shape always seems so intimidating. That’s why I’ve outlined a few easy steps to help you ease back into your fitness routine.
Step #1) Accept that getting off track is normal.
Maybe you’re feeling guilty, mad at yourself, lazy, and all kinds of negative emotions about your neglect to your fitness. But you’ve got to send that negativity packing!
Some realizations that may refresh your perspective with positive energy:
In busy times it’s totally normal to get off track, you are only one human being. So, you’re normal... that’s a good sign.
Usually the time taken off from a fitness routine is for something else important that requires your attention. If you’re thankful for the time and energy you were able to spend on those things that were important for you, that time was well spent. Don’t taint your well spent time by feeling guilty about what you may have been able to do instead.
While time was lost, you’re here now considering your fitness and health again, and that’s a huge step to getting back at it! So, great job.
Step #2) Find your new baseline.
Being able to honestly assess where you’re at, and where you want to be is an invaluable step in this process.
If you’re constantly comparing yourself to your old baseline when you were in tip top shape, it may take some time to get back to where you were, and continually falling short of that standard (whether slower, weaker, lost weight, gained weight) can get very discouraging.
I would encourage you to keep your old baseline in the back of your mind, and perhaps use them to set some long term goals.
But for the short term, set a new baseline for yourself based on where you are right now, and work on making small improvements to your new fitness baseline. Lower your expectations to reality and let yourself catch up.
Step #3) Reboot.
Taking 1-4 weeks to reboot to your full fitness routine can really help you physically and mentally adjust to adding fitness back into your life.
Start small. Maybe on the first week you just add in some light stretching and walking or jogging a mile or two. In week two, you add a little more distance to the cardio, and add in some body weight resistance training. In week three, amp up the speed on the cardio a bit, and add some light weight to your resistance training. In week four, challenge your pace on cardio, and add some more weight to your resistance training. Then in Week 5, get back to your regular full routine.
Make small adjustments to your nutrition. On the first week no more sugary drinks, on the second week limit eating-out to 3 times a week, on the third week make a point of adding fruit to your breakfast, and veggies to lunch and dinner, on the fourth week cut eating-out and prepare your own food.
Obviously it doesn’t have to look exactly like that, but just think about small slower changes you can make that will help you slowly adjust to healthier living.
I’ve found that when I get really excited and jump right into a new routine, it ends out just being a spurt, it’s always too much too soon and at some point I can’t keep up. But when I allow myself the time to slowly adjust, it becomes easier to get accustomed to the small changes at a time rather than keep up with an entire life change in just one day.
Step #4) Crush Your Baseline.
Remember when I said keep your old baseline in the back of your head? Yep, pull it out now. Once you’ve given yourself that time to reboot, and have hopefully found a routine that you can maintain and that is here to stay, chase after that old baseline you’ve got in the back of your head!
By now, you’ve had a month or so under your belt, and you know it’s possible… so get after it! With small daily adjustments and challenges, keep building on that current baseline until you crush your old one. Then work towards making new, more impressive personal baselines.
Hopefully this article helps you out getting back to it. I know for me it always helps to sit down and think through these steps, and form a sustainable plan to getting back to my fitness routine. Good luck!
NEWS: Keep an eye out for a blog post in the next week detailing upcoming challenges and cool stuff happening on the app! That should keep you motivated!!
Sydney Eaton, PK Fitness Program Coordinator, CPT, CES