Getting back into the gym after a long break is hard! But you can do it!
It’s hard to change your routine, and that makes it a big challenge to get back to the gym after some time off. Whether you’re going back for a New Year’s resolution or you just took some time off because of an injury or another reason, here are a few pointers on how to make the transition a success.
1. Go Easy on Yourself
First of all, try not to beat yourself up or feel bad about the time off. Even some professional athletes occasionally go weeks or longer without training. You can’t go back and change what you did in the past, but you can control what you’ll do moving forward.
Going easy on yourself also applies when you start working out again. If you do too much, too soon, you could end up injuring yourself, which would make for a frustrating start. Ease yourself back into your workout routine and let your body rest when necessary.
2. Make Sure You’re Eating Right
To get the best results from your workouts, you’ll need to fuel your body with the right foods, and that’s the case whether your goal is to gain muscle mass or cut fat.
It’s always good to eat plenty of protein, but it’s even more important when you’re working out, as proteins are the building blocks for your muscles. Aim for at least 0.7 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Chicken breasts are an excellent protein source, and protein powders are also a good choice.
A low-carb diet can be effective, especially if your goal is to lose fat. Even if you don’t take a low-carb approach, make sure that the carbs you get come from healthy food sources, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Keep the sugar consumption to a minimum.
Fat may have gotten a bad rap, but there are actually plenty of healthy fats. What you want to avoid are the saturated fats. Reduce your sodium intake as much as possible, as well. If you drink alcohol, limit it to one or two days per week.
3. Consistency Is Key
When you’re getting back into a workout routine, it’s not about setting a new personal record every time you hit the weights or spending hours in the gym each day. All that’s important is staying consistent with your workouts. The people who go all out every time are also the ones who burn out or get injured.
Make it your first goal to stick to a consistent workout routine. To stay in a good rhythm, try to get some type of physical activity in every day. This doesn’t even need to be a trip to the gym each time. A short walk, jog or a few sets of pushups will suffice. The point is to maintain that habit of getting active every single day. As you do this, it will become easier to hit the gym for those longer, more intense workouts.
4. Commit for the Long Haul
You may see a difference in your body right away, as it’s common to lose some water weight and notice more definition early on after making lifestyle changes. However, for the most part, you won’t see huge results overnight. As you keep your workouts and your healthy eating up, your body will slowly improve. You may hardly notice because you see yourself every day, but when you compare yourself to pictures from months past, you’ll definitely be able to tell that you’re in much better shape than you were before.