All it takes is a bit of a cold, some late nights at work, a family crisis or the start of a new romance, and before you know it it’s been three months since you stepped foot inside the gym. It feels like forever – how do you get back into the swing of things? Here are a few simple tips:
1. Just show up
Don’t over think it. As Woody Allen once so famously said, “Eighty per cent of success is showing up.” Once you’ve laced up your runners and taken that first step inside Fernwood – you know you’re going to do that workout. So don’t think about what happens after you get to the gym, just think about getting there. The actions will follow suit.
2. Don’t wait til Monday
Although we often think we’ll feel refreshed on Monday, the reality is often far from the truth. Sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday mornings throws our whole body out of whack, leaving us sleepy, fatigued, and definitely not ready to start a new gym routine come Monday morning. So don’t wait till Sunday night to pack your gym bag and get organised; do it tonight, or do it now. Why waste those three more days until the start of the week ticks over? On Monday you will wish you started today.
3. Make it fun
Find something you love doing and you’ll continue doing it. Don’t get bogged down in the technicality of exercise. You don’t have to use resistance machines every time you visit the gym if you don’t enjoy using them. If you’d prefer to get your boogie on in Zumba or indulge in some ‘you’ time in Body Balance – start there. You’re still doing more than sitting on the couch. The rest can come later.
4. Schedule gym time
Don’t try to squeeze in a workout at the end of the day, instead prioritise your workout time and schedule the rest of your day around it. If friends want to meet for a Saturday brunch at 10, but you really want to make it to the 9.30am Body Attack class, ask your friends to meet a little later, say 11am. When you’re trying to get back into the habit of exercise, your workout needs to come first.
5. Start small
If you haven’t done any exercise for a while, don’t expect to be back at your peak straight away. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout. Being unable to walk down a flight of stairs for a week after a Body Pump class is not a good start!
6. Celebrate your results
So you may have gone to the gym to tone up your arms or lose the fat from your tummy, but don’t forget to celebrate the other results that you’ll be rewarded with along the way. Being able to hold an abdominal plank for a whole 2 minutes, or complete a 45-minute cycle class (without slacking off on the resistance) is a massive achievement – so don’t forget to reward yourself.
7. Change your diet
If weight loss is your number one goal – the most important thing to do is change your diet. Around 80 per cent of what we look like comes down to the food that passes our lips. Seeing as most of us eat the same kind of foods from Monday through to Friday, start looking at the ways you could make small changes to your weekday diet to reduce your kilojoule consumption. Complement this by giving your BMR a boost with regular cardio and strength training, and monitor your results by how your clothes are fitting, not by the number on the scale.
8. Remember your ‘why’
Think about the reasons why you want to get back into the gym? Is it because you want to lose weight, have more energy, or feel fit and healthy again? You need to make this reason your goal. And once you realise how important reaching this goal is to you, and the life you want to be living, getting to the gym will become a priority – and getting out the door and onto the gym floor won’t be something you’ll put off any longer.