It took me a good 2 years to develop a solid exercise routine. I was running, taking spinning, kettlecise and bodypump classes and hitting the gym with the odd bit of yoga thrown in, so I was pretty hardcore! Then I got pregnant and scaled things back, but I was still working out at the gym 3 times a week minimum and I was even working out the day before I gave birth (unbeknown to me at the time of course!)
After I had got over the initial shock of having Fin early, I really wanted to get back into exercising but struggled at first. The biggest barriers were time and energy closely followed by feeling like a shadow of my former self! Gone was the fit girl who could run non-stop and lift the heavy weights. That was after a break of about 8 weeks. We all end up having breaks in our routine from time to time whether that’s a holiday, injury, illness or having a baby.
Whatever the reason for your break in working out, it can be hard to pick back up where you left off.
I decided to ask a few of my pals who are fitness experts for their top tips on getting back into exercise after a break…
‘Make a plan, schedule it in your diary & take measurements!’
Carly Rowena, PT, blogger, YouTuber and fitness expert
- Take things slow, even if you feel full of energy and feel like you can do a lot more, still take it slow and build up gradually.
- Try and drink lots of water, 2 litres a day.
- A lot of people, when they’re wanting to cut down or start a new training regime, sometimes really reduce their food intake or reduce their intake of carbs. Your body needs all nutrients to function so make sure you’re getting the right carbs, proteins and fats.
- Get a programme and stick to it for 4-6 weeks, then change it. So you’re not getting bored and your body doesn’t get used to doing the same thing.
- Be realistic and set real achievable goals.
- Try and find something you enjoy – they’re loads of different activities, group sessions, fitness classes and 1-2-1s so find something you enjoy.
Catherine from Muscle Tone Fitness
‘My top tip would be to start slow, maybe even some restorative yoga to help de-stress and reset the body before you build it back up. Don’t just start with the hardest thing because you want to burn calories as it won’t be sustainable and your body will produce cortisol, which can actually encourage the storage of fat. Most of all find something you enjoy!’
Jo from Happy Yoga Newcastle
‘Get your “fitness basics” in place. What I mean by that is 1) a strong pelvic floor and 2) a strong stable core – without these two fundamentals all other fitness could well crumble in the longer term.’
Dr Joanna Helcke, Zest4lifeUK
Stay tuned for part 2 of this post where I’ll be sharing more super helpful information from Dr Jo all about those fitness basics.
Some great tips there from the experts, I love the variety of approaches. All I’d add is to not compare yourself to how you used to be. For example, a few years ago I ran the Great North Run in 1 hour 51 minutes. Two weekends ago I ran it in 2 hours 40. I could be bummed that I am obviously so much less fit (and thin!) than I was back then, but I choose not to look at it like that. I think 2 hours 40 is a good time, all things considered. There’s no point in comparing my performance to the ‘old me’ because I’m just not that person any more. Instead I’m focusing on what I can do now that I’m starting to really build up a routine again. The next thing on my list is a jogging buggy so I can go out for short runs with Fin!
If you’ve had a break in working out, how did it feel getting back into it? What did you find the hardest? How do you motivate yourself now?
I try to go with what I feel like doing – so sometimes it’s fast flowing yoga but sometimes (and that’s the case at the moment) it’s slow yoga. No point making yourself do something you don’t want to, I have realised! Doing something with others is a good motivator – so a walk with a friend so you can chat at the same time, or going to yoga with someone where you set the time and date and commit.
I definitely agree with going with someone else, that’s really helped me recently!
I don’t think I’ve taken any major breaks from exercise in the past few years (max was 3 weeks) but take mini ones all the time to ‘reset’ and keep my enthusiasm up! I think breaks, especially longer ones, are a great chance to fall in love with exercise again and an even better excuse to try something new.
Like, if the feeling of not being as ‘fit’ as your former self at one activity eg. running, then I think I’d try something new altogether. Newbie gains are always fun!
I love the idea of taking mini breaks to reset and I totally get the falling in love with something new, I wouldn’t be without my metafit!
I think a reset is so important. I like the term “comeback pb” for running- basically, don’t try to get back to those pb’s that you used to be able to do before your break. When starting running after my op, I did get frustrated because I had been running for a while and it was really a part of me, but having to run/walk, and not being able to go far was frustrating. It took a long while to get back, but by not comparing myself to my old times meant that I was not putting myself under pressure, and was just enjoying being back again.
Yay to the running buggy! :)