If you have been away from the gym for a while and you want to make a triumphant return, this article is for you! Below are three steps for you to take that will help you launch yourself into a great new era of wellness that is as much about rebuilding strength as it is about taking your wellness routine to the next level.
1. Be honest about how you feel
First, let’s talk about some very normal and real feelings you may be having. Being honest with how you feel can be very freeing.
I am starting over
To some degree your body is not trained in a home environment for maximal capacity, or perhaps you just don’t push yourself as you would with a trainer or in a class.
My body feels and looks different
This can make us feel unsure of where to begin; we can wonder if we will ever feel “the same.” Even if this is just your perception, it can be a barrier.
I don’t want to get hurt
Lots of us aren’t sure how to pace re-entry. We are worried that we will get started, get too sore, or hurt and then be stuck again.
2. Take Inventory of what you like
One helpful step is to identify where we are at emotionally and physically. By taking inventory of what we like doingor how we feel helps guide the way to organize a routine. This can help us choose movement that makes sense both inside and outside of the gym as both can be useful to making sure you are approaching your wellness with many holistic factors in mind. Working out in the gym often expedites results because of the challenge of intensity and volume which is hard to duplicate outside those four walls. It’s important to consider what happens the other 23 hours of the day outside the gym and create routines that support your whole life.
There is no better time than now to re-assess where you are at and how to best support the life you want. You never go backwards or start over if you are building off lessons from what has worked in the past and evaluating how to use that experience to teach you in this next phase of life.
3. Get back to the gym
IF you are one of the many who feels they have lost strength, your body feels different, or you are concerned about injury or over doing it, this next section is for you! We want to help you know what to focus on to best move forward successfully. The following tips will be a great guide!
- Focus on form
When you aren’t sure what weight to use at first, go lighter and focus on the tempo of your movement over the amount you are using. Lengthening the time of the eccentric phase of a lift helps you build strength fast without overloading your body as you build back your strength. The following are examples of what part of these actions to focus on.
- The lowering part of a squat
- The lowering part of a push-up
- The extending of the arms on a row
- The extending of the hips or leg on a curl or bridge
- Focus on technique
Can you go lower, higher, wider, than before? Sometimes time off can make positive change to form and technique. This is a great time to work with a professional if you haven’t before as you may want to learn different lifts or ways to organize a personal routine with a trainer. You could also do some learning to reach a specific technical move.
- Focus on habits
Work to create your entry back to the gym around habits that are already working for you. For example:
- If you rise early and have a routine, add it onto that routine 2-3 times a week to start.
- If you have a place you like to go near the gym for an outing in the daytime make sure to pack your gym bag and bring it along.
- If you like to shower in the evening, why not do it after a workout at the gym?
Consider this an opportunity to make your life better! It can be easier said than done, but using this break to evaluate what you want and how you want to get there could change you for the better. At the end of the day, it’s your life and you are the expert on what works and what won’t. Only you know the best way to get yourself grounded and working toward consistency and the results you want. So, take hold of your life and go for it!