• Getting back into a fitness routine after a long break can be challenging, but it's not impossible. (Flickr)Source: Flickr
Whether it’s been weeks, months or even a year since you last had an exercise routine, getting back into the swing of things needn’t be a daunting task.
Jody Phan

1 Apr 2016 - 4:09 PM  UPDATED 1 Apr 2016 - 4:09 PM

It’s been two weeks since your holiday ended and you’ve still not been back to the gym. Sometimes life’s responsibilities or just plain laziness can get in the way of regular exercise and before you know it, you’re in a rut. Here are some tips to help you get back on the wagon no matter how long it’s been between workouts.

Don’t beat yourself up about it

Falling out of routine is normal and it happens to the best of us. But dwelling on it won’t get you back on track any faster. Instead, remember how good it felt when you made the time to exercise and commit to getting yourself in that space again. You’re already in a better position than someone who’s never exercised before.

Use your workout as a break from work and other distractions that may be stressing you out and focus 100% on yourself.

Buddy up

It can be a lot easier to get yourself out of bed and to the gym or park for a workout if you know someone else is depending on you. Meeting up with a friend for a run or a group exercise class means you’re less likely to flake and cancel. If you’re looking to try a new class, it’s much less intimidating having a friend with you.

Use exercise as a reward

Apart from preventing illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, exercise is also a great mood booster thanks to the release of endorphins. Use your workout as a break from work and other distractions that may be stressing you out and focus 100% on yourself. Instead of seeing it as time spent “having” to work out, focus on the fact that you “get” to be active and reap all the physical and mental benefits of exercise.

Lower your expectations

If you’ve taken several months off, you've most likely lost cardiovascular fitness as well as strength. Don’t expect to be able to run 10km as fast as you used to or be able to squat your PB right off the bat. Train as you would if you were a beginner, although your progress will be much quicker. Trying to do too much too soon will only make you too sore the next day to continue and increase risk of injury.

Think outside the gym

There are other ways to incorporate regular exercise back into your life that doesn’t involve the gym. Consider an outdoor hike at weekends or taking up a team sport, which can also see your social life benefiting.

Make sure your diet is in check

A nutrient-packed diet makes it a lot easier to feel motivated to exercise. Unhealthy diets containing too much or not enough calories, or too much fat and sugar can make you feel sluggish and less driven to exercise. If you’ve been binging on junk food during your hiatus from exercise, it’s time to re-evaluate your diet.

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