Have you taken some time off training and struggling to get back into the swing of things? say no more... we've all been there. The real question is, how do you get back on the horse? where do you even begin? and most importantly, how do you keep the momentum going?
Here's a few tried and tested tips to help you successfully get back on track with your training routine!
1) TRY OUT GROUP FITNESS CLASSES
Why? One word... ACCOUNTABILITY. It may seem trivial, but having a support system rooting for you makes a world of difference. Group fitness classes are a great opportunity to make new friends, meet like-minded people and find a tribe that you look forward to training with!
When you train with a community, you are more like to:
a) actually turn up to training
b) push yourself out of your comfort zone
c) KEEP COMING BACK!
2) DO NOT GO "BALLS TO THE WALLS"
As tempting as it may be to fly out the gate, fuelled by short-term intrinsic motivation and adrenaline... please don't go hundy straight off the bat. Your body is not accustomed to a sudden increase in workload and will result in one of two things: 1) burnout or 2) injury.
For athletes, we use the 'acute:chronic workload ratio' to determine likelihood of injury. General population can use a similar structure by being mindful of how much they increase their workload on a weekly basis. Too great of a workload increase = heightened risk of soft-tissue injury.
Example application: Start off with 2 training sessions a week initially, and increase by 0.5-1 sessions per week until you find a sustainable weekly training regime that aligns with your goals.
3) REST DAYS ARE FRIENDS
Too often you see fitspo influencers regurgitating quotes like "I'll rest when I'm dead" or "On good days, workout. On bad days, workout harder." which is a bag of bull if you ask us. Your body needs adequate rest to repair your muscles and replenish gycogen levels, without rest your risk of injury sky-rockets, your sleep and mental health will be impaired and you'll eventually suffer the classic 'burnout' symptoms we so often talk about.
4) STRETCH FOR GODSAKE
Yes, you may be able to reach your toes (or maybe not)... but that does not mean that your joints are functioning at their intended range of motion (ROM). Hey, guess what? If you're not utilising your full ROM, you're putting yourself at risk of soft-tissue injury *surprise surprise*.
Here are our top 5 reasons to stretch on a regular basis:
- Stretching is pivotal in reducing risk of muscular injury and pain (both acute and chronic!)
- Improvements to posture and spine alignment!
- Reduction in the physical manifestation of stress throughout the body (knots, tightness, jarring, aching).
- Stretching promotes circulation by increasing the blood supply to muscles and joints, thus increasing recovery.
5) DO NOT KEEP IT SIMPLE
The expression "stick to what you know" does not apply to exercise, and here's why! If you repeat the same workouts/intensity/modality, your fitness will not improve as there is no additional stress stimulus to trigger an adaptation. In additional to this, you are no longer providing your mind with new material to process... leading to boredom and a lack of engagement.
What we recommend:
- Try something new at-least once a month. Trial a new class, take an online tutorial, attempt a new skill, whatever it is, keep your body guessing!
- If you're working off a prescribed exercise programme, get it updated every 8 weeks (or as soon as you notice progress/motivation lulling).
- If you're struggling to grasp a new skill, stick at it! Your mind and body craves challenge, and there's nothing more rewarding for the mind than conquering a new movement.