With some gyms starting to reopen, many people are wondering how to get back to their normal exercise habits after months of home workouts, outdoor workouts, or completely taking time off from exercising. No matter the reason for getting out of your old routine, there are some guidelines for ramping things up again.
So whether you’re transitioning from no workouts to home workouts, home workouts to gym workouts, or anything in between, here’s what I want you to know about how to get back in shape (or just back to your usual workout schedule) — the right way.
Set realistic expectations.
Regardless of your previous fitness level or how long you took off from your normal sweat sessions, be prepared for an adjustment period as you get back up to speed. Give yourself two weeks to acclimate.
Don’t overdo it.
Taking your time to ease back into exercise by going for lower rep counts, lighter weight, and focusing on form will give your body the movement and surge of energy it’s been missing — without putting you at risk for injury.
Have a plan.
Create a plan for several weeks rather than taking it day by day. For instance, you might set a goal to work out four days a week for the next month, even if some of your workouts are just 10 minutes long. Another way to plan: Schedule your sessions in your calendar in advance to avoid letting last-minute things popping up and taking away your focus.
Skip the negative self-talk.
It can be tough to come to terms with feeling like you’ve backslid in terms of your fitness level. But being harsh on yourself will make it harder to stay motivated. Try to start from a baseline of where you are currently and not judge yourself against where your fitness levels may have once been in the past.
Get clear on your “why.”
Spend a little time contemplating and understanding your ‘why’ for working out. It may have changed after a break, especially this particular break, because your priorities may have shifted.
Don’t forget about mobility and recovery.
Taking a few minutes to warm up for your workout, cool down, and stretch can make all the difference when you’re newly working out again. Not only will this make your workout go a bit smoother, but it’ll hopefully save you a touch of soreness.
Recruit a workout buddy.
Sometimes having a family member or friend to join you can help with accountability and motivation. You’re less likely to cancel on a session if there’s someone else expecting you, and you can bounce off each other’s energy and progress. It can also make your workouts more enjoyable if you have a good support system around you. (And by the way, virtual workout buddies — ones you work out with over Zoom — SWEAT SQUAD count, too.)
Remind yourself of how you want to feel after a workout.Is it strong? Proud? Healthier? Whatever it is, use that feeling as your motivation to stay committed — especially on days when you need a pep talk to get yourself moving.