How to Get Back into the Gym After a Prolonged Break
Ask 100 people if they have a gym membership and the chances are at least half will reply with an eager â€˜yesâ€™. Ask those people how many of them actually go to the gym on a regular basis, however, and youâ€™ll probably be met with sheepish looks and a plethora of excuses.
Whether itâ€™s work, school or even just plain old laziness, thousands of gym memberships go unused, with members unable or unwilling to make the time to get some vital exercise. A commonly shared desire among these people, however, is to get back to the gym at some point and get their healthy lifestyle back on track.
Your Plan to Get Back in the Gym?
Doing this, though, is much easier said than done. Trying to do 30 minutes of intense jogging on the treadmill after months of eating junk and sitting on the sofa can lead to breathlessness and pulled muscles, while the prospect of a cross trainer session can be enough to send you back to the crisps and chocolate.
Getting back on the exercise horse, in short, is very difficult. The feeling that you canâ€™t do as much as you once could can be disheartening, while the physical effects of a workout can seem overwhelming. If youâ€™ve put on weight, you can feel self-conscious in comparison to the toned gym regulars you have to work out alongside.
Luckily, itâ€™s not impossible. By taking a few simple steps outlined below, youâ€™ll return to a regular gym routine quickly and feel fitter, healthier and happier for it!
Set a Gym Visit Routine
One of the main excuses for not visiting the gym is not having the time in your day. However, the gym doesnâ€™t necessarily have to be a time-consuming activity. Even half an hour everyday can have health benefits; in fact, spending half an hour in the gym every night is more beneficial than having a mammoth two-hour session once a week.
Set yourself a routine for visiting the gym and stick to it. It could be every night or every other night, so long as itâ€™s regular. You can make it even easier for yourself by integrating a gym visit into your current routine – joining a gym that you pass on the way home from work, for example, makes it much easier to get back into the gym habit.
Weâ€™re constantly told that exercise is essential, in adverts, on television and in articles such as this one. However, itâ€™s rarely made clear what kind of exercise we should be doing.
Without a fitness target, getting the motivation to go to the gym often is difficult. Set yourself a broad target – it could be being able to run for longer, building muscle or both – and devise a plan to hit that target. If you arenâ€™t sure how, ask a gym professional or personal trainer, whoâ€™ll be able to draw you up a comprehensive fitness plan.
Build Up Slowly
One of the chief mistakes returning gym-goers make is to do too much too soon, trying to pull off the kind of exercises they were doing before they quit the gym and ending up with a nasty injury. Before hitting the gym again, accept that you probably arenâ€™t as in shape as you once were and build up slowly. This might mean spending a little less time on certain equipment, or adjusting the settings down slightly. As an added bonus, you can use reaching your previous fitness levels as a motivational tool.
Make It Fun
While a good gym session is something to look forward for a legion of fitness freaks, there are plenty of people for whom working out holds no appeal whatsoever. This makes finding the motivation for visiting the gym very difficult.
However, there is a solution to gym boredom; make it fun! Rather than thinking of the gym as a time to work out, think of it as a chance to listen to a new album while running. Some gyms are even integrating TVs into their equipment, allowing to watch your favourite shows while getting a good workout!
Alter Your Diet
So youâ€™ve set up your routine, youâ€™ve got targets, youâ€™ve made a plan and youâ€™ve made the gym experience more fun – so why are you still struggling? Unfortunately, leading a healthy lifestyle means more than just going the gym; it also means changing the way you eat too.
The surest way to set yourself back on your gym efforts is to continue wolfing down five chocolate bars a day as you work, or getting home and feasting on a whole pizza. Think of healthy alternatives to junk – replace a chocolate bar with a piece of fruit, or experiment with pasta instead of eating pizza (you can even recreate the taste of pepperoni pizza, if you want to!). Experiment to keep things interesting!
Getting back into the gym after an extended absence is difficult but not impossible. Follow some of the tips above and you should be on the right track again in no time!