Whether you fell because you psyched yourself out, or because a vacation or event, injury or illness took you out of your healthy routine, you may have been sidelined from your 2016 goals. Well, dust yourself off and get back on track with today’s guest post by Samantha Olivier!
If you’ve ever fallen out of your training routine due to injury or illness, you know just how difficult it can be to get back on the right track. After even a light workout following a lengthy break, you may feel overwhelmed and terribly discouraged from further attempts to restore your sexy shape – but do not give up just yet!
There are still ways to overcome initial difficulties and pick up your fitness route right where you’d left off: all it will take is a realistic perspective, persistence, patience, proper warm-ups and post-workout stretches, a few dietary adjustments and a dose of caution.
Here are the critical points to bear in mind when returning to training: with commitment and faith, your muscle mass will soon begin to show.
1. Be realistic: You are out of shape
Yes, of course you know that your body and muscles have grown weaker due to the training pause – but pushing yourself too hard too soon will only land you in the muck of self-loathing, disappointment, and perhaps even a few fresh injuries. Returning to the gym and achieving your previous fitness level is a process, and there are no shortcuts or quick fixes.
The longer the layoff was, the longer the post-recovery path will be, but restoring muscle mass and burning fat may get a lot easier and quicker if you have previously trained regularly for a number of years. Have patience with your body: exerting yourself right off can break exercise history altogether, so be reasonable. Start light, go as slow as your muscles need to, and do not stop: you will be able to work your way back to intense workouts soon enough.
2. Warm up well: Prevent injury or muscle strain
Although you were able to burst in a quick run without the need for long warm-ups back when you were still fit, your muscles will now protest to added strain because your blood flow has slowed down and oxygen supply in the cells has dropped considerably. That is why warming up well before the training is so important after a layoff: in addition to prepping your muscles for the workout, warm-ups will help prevent injury or post-workout muscle strain that may hinder your performance in the gym and slow down your quest to peak form.
With post-layoff preps, ‘The more, the better’ is the rule of thumb: start with slow movements and pick up the intensity toward the warm-up end to maximize range of motion, re-condition soft-tissues and ready your nervous system for the actual training.
3. Pain is your friend: Listen to your body
Pain is not your enemy in the gym – it is your best friend because it warns you that your limits are being pushed. In case you experience muscle pains during post-layoff training, stop: however eager you may be to make up for lost time, you should always listen to your body and follow its recovery pace. Most athletes who over-train after a layoff wind up locked to bed for days (sometimes even weeks) on end – and you do not want to go that way, do you?
4. Fuel your muscles: Dietary adjustments
As your body begins to adjust to renewed training routines, you should strive to fuel your soft tissues properly if you want to minimize comeback time. Increasing your protein intake is one of the dietary adjustments you can make to ensure fast fitness progress, and protein-laden plates will also allow you to reduce recovery time by a few hours. In case you need additional help when returning to heavy workouts, try enhancing your nutrition with quality dietary supplements – you can find out more about different types and their effects here.
5. Cool down to stay safe: Better stretched than sorry
After you are done with your exercise session for the day, make sure you stretch well. Training boosts body temperature and blood flow in the muscles, and forgetting to cool down after a PE session can completely ruin all the good effects and leave you aching all over. For best results, try combining different stretches into your post-workout routine, such as a forward bend, shoulder stretch, heel drop and runner’s lunge and upward or downward dog.
Ready to get back on the fit track? Follow these simple tips and your muscles will soon be back and bulging. God favors the brave (and the patient, too)!
About the Author
Samantha Olivier? has a B.Sc. in nutrition, and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogosphere. When not in the gym or on the track, you can find her on Twitter at or in a tea shop.