A certain apprehension can be felt when returning to the weight room after a break. You might not know what you’re doing or feel like your muscles aren’t in the same shape as before. The temptation for these fears is there, but it shouldn’t last long. Here are some tips on easing back into working out and preventing injury on the first day back.
1. Start at a Slower Pace
It’s easy to bounce right back into the rhythm you had before, doing a full-intensity workout as if you never left. This is a common mistake that can set your body up for injury. It’s far better to ease back into working out and let your muscles get used to the stress again. You might consider starting with slower workouts such as light jogging, biking, or swimming for aquatics. These exercises don’t work with impact and can help your body strong enough for weight training and circuit training again.
2. Enlist the Help of a Coach
You may find it hard to know what exercises to do or how to get the most out of your body when you’re coming back from a break. It’s a good idea to enlist the help of a coach or someone else who is used to working out and can point you in the right direction. This means that some people know how to shape an exercise routine around your weak points and help it become more powerful and effective.
3. Schedule Rests
If you’re working towards a long-term goal, you might find it hard to work out if you’ve been away from the gym. It’s important to set yourself up with an easy schedule. It would help if you tried to avoid working out more than three days in a row, as the fourth day is better spent resting and preparing for another tough workout. This way, you can train your body with more intensity and build it up towards your goal.
4. Eat a Healthy Diet
If you take the time to eat a healthy diet, it doesn’t just mean that you lose weight and reach your goal. Your body is a machine that requires clean nutrients to work in the best way possible. You might find it hard to concentrate or even have enough energy to lift weights when you’re not consuming enough food for your body. Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, and protein sources so that your body is getting the fuel it needs to perform at its best.
5. Pay Attention to Pain
One of the most important things you can do is pay attention to pain. You might feel a slight pull when you’re lifting weights or be sore the next day. This is normal and not a cause for alarm, but listening to your body and backing off when it hurts is important. The worst-case scenario is that you have a serious injury that keeps you out of the gym for several months. It’s much better to avoid this by taking it slow, listening to your body, and being smart about how quickly you return to regular workouts.
6. Frequently Alternate Activities
If you’re in the weight room for a long period, it’s easy to start overtraining and lose your focus. You might find that you forget to eat properly or are just not feeling your best. These are both signs of overtraining, leading to an overuse injury or other complications. It’s better to alternate your workouts by doing one or two days of weightlifting and then alternate with cardio and cross-training activities such as biking, swimming, or walking on the track.
7. Keep a Routine
It’s easy to get confused and forget exactly what you did each time you worked out, especially if your workouts were quite different. Instead of trying to do everything on the first day, make it a habit every day to write down what exercise you did and how long it took and how intense the workout was. Soon enough, you’ll start building up a routine, which will help keep things efficient.
8. Limit the Use of Machines
Using free weights is often a great idea for those coming back from a break. Using machines can be problematic, especially if your muscles aren’t in good shape. You might find that you can lift more on one side than the other, which will cause an imbalance in the way your body is used to working out. It’s better to keep things simple and use basic machines until you feel ready to try more advanced exercises.
9. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
Finally, you mustn’t push yourself too hard in your first week back at the gym. You can work out hard, but not to the point of exhaustion. If you feel that you are pushing too far, it might be a good idea to take a break for a couple of days and let your body recover naturally. It’s better to take life slowly and let your body get used to the exercises than to push too far, get injured, and be away from the gym for several weeks or months.
It’s good to have the goal of working out in mind, and there’s nothing more motivating than setting a deadline for yourself. The hard part of getting back into shape is making it all happen. These tips can make it easier to get back into working out and feeling good about your body again. Stay positive, know your weaknesses, and work hard every day to keep your enthusiasm up.