Getting back into exercise after a while off can be a daunting task. Lost motivation, lack of routine, uncertainty, reduced strength/fitness & increased chance of injury are all factors that can hold you back from getting the results you’re looking for.
So when you’re back into exercise, you need to get on top of a few key points to hit the ground running and see the results you’re looking for as quickly as possible. These include knowing the best exercises, training frequency, and intensity, goal understanding, food requirements, possible lifestyle adjustments, and a few other key areas that will all be covered in this article.
A clear understanding of the following will set you up for success in the upcoming months of your grand return to exercise.
1: WHAT IS YOUR HISTORY?
The first thing to do is work out what you have done in the past that has worked well for you and, equally important, what hasn’t. Maybe you tried Boxing and loved it but then did a Spin class and couldn’t stand it. No one said this would be easy, but that doesn’t mean we have to make things more challenging than they need to be by doing things we hate!
If weight loss is your target, burning calories will help you get there. Burn those calories doing something you enjoy. An essential thing to consider is what has caused you injury or pain in the past. Maybe a style of heavy lifting or a particular sport. It could be best not to be in such a rush to repeat those movements if they have caused you issues.
People are often going to rush back into what they are comfortable doing. But if that has caused you pain, it might be a red flag and a sign to seek help or try something new.
2: WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS AND REALISTIC TIMEFRAMES?
Knowing what you want to achieve and getting specific is definitely essential. An example is: “I want to get fitter” and just leaving it at that. Ok, sure, getting fitter is a great goal, but it’s not specific. When it’s not specific and measurable, it’s harder to know if you’re on the right track.
A better goal would be to say right now I am totally gassed after 20 minutes in a boxing session. I want to get to a point where I can do an entire session without getting gassed.
Another example would be “I want to lose x weight in y time” as long as that time frame is realistic. We advise that between 250 grams and 1 kg per week are achievable in the early stages of a weight-loss routine, depending on your weight.
It’s fantastic when things are going well and you’re back into exercise. But that won’t always be the case. Sometimes you need to make adjustments and a clear set of specific goals with realistic time frames is critical to staying motivated, on track & focused!
3: SO, WHAT’S THE PLAN WHEN YOU’RE BACK INTO EXERCISE?
So we have the motivation, know what we want, and are ready to back into exercise. What now? There are so many options, and it’s often difficult to know if we are making the right choices. You can easily be training in a way that causes body damage that accumulates over time, and you won’t even know it until you get injured years later. Unfortunately, the thought that all exercise is great simply isn’t true.
It is important to think of strength and fitness within a relevant context as a guide. Will this exercise, movement, and training style serve my body for what it experiences in real life? Bench pressing 100 kg? Maybe not. But integrating muscles in a way that helps you walk and run better, as an example, will serve you every time you take a step!
A program on Youtube doesn’t know your unique circumstances and doesn’t take muscle activation or proper technique into account. An excellent exercise done incorrectly will cause you more harm than good! The key to knowing what works well for your body, what you enjoy doing & know what you can realistically stick to. The best program in the world is useless if you aren’t consistent with it!
So when you decide to get back into exercise, keep it consistent.
4: HOW’S YOUR FOOD SITUATION?
The phrase we’ve all heard 100 times. You can’t out-train a bad diet, is accurate, unfortunately. If your goal is weight-based, you’ll need to understand your Basal Metabolic Rate + daily activity and know how many calories you need to consume to be in a surplus or deficit.
You will also need to know macronutrient needs, meal timing, and frequency and listen to your body’s warnings such as low energy, trouble sleeping, digestive issues etc.
Micronutrients are also essential to be aware of. A blood test from your local GP is a great place to start, especially if you’re regularly feeling tired.
5: LIFESTYLE HABITS THAT DESTROY PROGRESS
There are a few things worth mentioning that destroy progress when you get back into exercise, Alcohol is the real killer! Alcohol is highly inflammatory and calorie-dense. Weight loss, especially, will be halted or, at the very least, made much harder than needed.
Some alcohol is worse than others, and beer is some of the worst, as well as your high sugar drinks. Red wine in moderation tends to have some health benefits, but each glass is around 120 calories. 3 of those, and it’s a meal worth of empty calories, and if you’re looking to be in a caloric deficit for weight loss, you’re better off without it.
Other things to avoid would be bright light environments or stressful activities before bed to improve sleep, less dependence on coffee & less snacking to better regulate insulin levels as a great start.
A few things to try including into your daily routine would be sauna use, safe cold exposure (ask if unsure), intermittent fasting, increasing steps during the day, sunlight exposure without sunscreen (done safely), and spending time doing things you enjoy doing. (reading, writing, creating, walking, whatever it may be)
A quick disclaimer on the above. Please consult an allied health professional or doctor before attempting any of these, as doing them incorrectly can be harmful. Anything you choose to do on your own, you agree to do so at your own risk.
Without a doubt getting back into exercise can be a daunting task. Making the wrong choices or missing essential elements in your training & lifestyle regime can lead to injury, countless months or even years of minimal to no results, elevated stress levels, poor sleep, low energy, and many other issues.
Setting measurable, specific & realistic goals is critical for motivation, progress & confidence in knowing that what you’re doing is working.
If you’d like to learn more & take the guesswork out of your routine, we highly recommend you try out our free exercise & health evaluation. We’ll cover training, nutrition & lifestyle specific to your goals. Hopefully, you’ve found this helpful, and if you need anything else or just want to chat about your current routine, we’d be happy to help you out.
You can contact us at email@example.com or fill out a form on our site asking us anything!