It’s tough getting back into the swing of things after taking a long break from training. You might be feeling rusty, out of shape, and just generally unmotivated.
But don’t worry—we’ve all been there.
Whether it was due to the pandemic, an injury, or just a busy lifestyle, don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s never too late to start getting back into shape.
The important thing is to start small and gradually work your way up.
When you’ve been absent from the gym for a while, it’s easy to think you can just pick up where you left off—but this is a recipe for disaster.
You’ll only end up getting frustrated at best, and injuring yourself at worst.
Here are a few tips to help you ease back into training:
Set reasonable goals and expectations
Don’t try to do too much too soon—you’ll only end up disappointed and discouraged. Start with small, achievable goals, and build from there.
- Start with small goals and gradually increase the intensity and volume of your training as you feel more comfortable.
- It’s better to do a few quality reps than to try and grind out a bunch of sloppy ones. Form is key, especially when you’re getting back into the swing of things.
- You might not be able to lift as much weight as you could before, and that’s okay. Progress is progress, no matter how small at this stage. When you get back into the swing of things, you can start pushing yourself harder—but now isn’t the time to go balls to the wall.
- Be patient. Don’t expect to see results overnight—it takes time and consistency to see results from your training. If you can exercise patience, rather than getting discouraged and giving up, you’ll get back to where you want to be sooner than you’re expecting.
Don’t overdo it
We get it—it’s tempting to want to make up for lost time by training too hard, but this will only lead to fatigue and burnout. When you first start back, focus on quality over quantity.
It’s understandable to be excited about getting back into training, but it’s important to keep things in perspective. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your old level of fitness.
You don’t need to tackle the world your first day back at the gym. Just ease into things and let your body adjust. Don’t feel like you need to do leg presses, bench presses, bicep curls, squats, lunges, and deadlifts all in one workout. Come up with a reasonable training schedule/frequency that you can stick to, and make sure to leave room for rest and recovery.
Prioritize your recovery
You’ll feel extra sore when you first start training again, so make sure to give your body the time and attention it needs to recover. Getting enough sleep (and taking rest days) is essential for both your physical and mental well-being.
When you haven’t been back to the gym for a long time, taking a few days off from training can naturally feel frustrating. But it’s important to ease back into things gradually and focus on quality over quantity.
- Make sure to warm up properly before each workout and cool down afterwards. If you neglect this, you’ll only be setting yourself back further.
- Don’t forget to stretch—static stretching (holding a stretch for 30 seconds or more) can be helpful after a long break from the gym. Foam rolling can also help to reduce muscle soreness and promote recovery.
- Last but not least, don’t be too hard on yourself. It takes time to get back into the swing of things, so be patient and try to enjoy the process.
Take things one day at a time and focus on the present. Soon enough, you’ll be back to your old self—and maybe even better than before.
Start slowly and focus on quality over quantity. Set reasonable goals that you can actually achieve, and don’t try to do too much too soon. Above all, listen to your body and give yourself time to recover between workouts.
If you take these things into account, you’ll be back on track in no time. So don’t stress, just enjoy the process and make it a part of your journey to becoming the best version of yourself.
By following these tips, you’ll be back to your old performance levels in no time—then you can start setting new PRs!