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Getting back to the Gym

June 22, 2020

Getting back to the gym isn’t as easy as picking up where you left off, especially when you’ve been out of the game for too long.  But, do not panic. These lengthy breaks can happen to even the fittest of us. So, there’s hope for you, mere mortal😊. Sometimes, we fall out of our regular workout rhythm following an illness or other personal reasons. I’ve been there… getting back on track wasn’t a walk in the park; it was like hauling an old man up the mountain.  If you are wondering how to get back on track after a very long break, you need to know the right things to focus on to gradually build up to your desired fitness level.

It’s never too late, really😊.

Here are some tips that will help you back in the grove and be there for the long haul. 

1. Your starting point is the kitchen

What do you enjoy eating? No matter how bad your stomach is telling you to go for chocolates over healthy food, try to stay away from sweets. Sugar from chocolates will not help you get in shape. Even if it’s just a single candy bar, one will eventually lead to another. I have a friend who stocks her fridge with chocolates and cakes, and says they’re for visitors, but she ends up consuming them. When you see candy bars on the shelf, be disciplined enough to keep a straight face. You’ve solved a greater part of your problem, when you quit indulging in mindless eating. Motivation will not get you there. Passion may try. Discipline is where the work is. Since you’ve made up your mind to get in shape, you have to start eating healthy foods you don’t feel like eating, and doing the workout you do not feel like doing. There’s no shortcut. 

2. Consider why you took a break.

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So, why did you take a break? Illness? Injury? People at the gym made cutting remarks about your weight? They acknowledged your presence with a condescending sneer? Whatever your reason/s, it’s on you now not to allow history repeat itself. Think of exercise as a form of health care and a need. If the ugly remarks of folks at the gym make you uncomfortable, check the next gym. You could even engage in home workouts. No one says you have to go to the gym to stay in the best shape of your life. I indulge in home workouts because I’m too busy to hit the gym. (check out my Facebook page and YouTube channel… keeping fit with Iphie) So, I wake up very early, workout, and get ready for work. You can do that.  Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and engage as though your life depends on it- but really it does. Doesn’t it? Those who sneer at you today will come back to applaud you tomorrow. Your success will announce you. Keep your hope alive. 

3. Start small.

The best way to start is to start. Start small. Big numbers aren’t reached until small numbers are realized. You don’t need to indulge in grueling exercises otherwise, you’ll get sore. Pushing too hard in the gym can lead to burnouts, frustrations, (especially when you aren’t seeing the result.) and in the end, another break from the gym. People have a tendency to overdo it initially, and they end up with injuries because the body is not prepared for the extra activity. If you spent one hour working out before your break, start with 15-20 minutes. Don’t worry, Boo, you’ll be alright. The thing is to start, then adjust with time. Once you have developed the habit of working out three times per week for 25-30 minutes, you can start scaling up the intensity and the number of sessions you perform.

4. Persevere

Those who persevere win the trophy.  Someone once said, “Somebody, help! I am tired of running after my crush, but then how do I get his attention to me?” Me: Persevere! “If you don’t stretch out, you can’t have it.” Fr. Ebube Muonso. Nothing works unless you do.  Keep going. You have a target. Do not stop until you meet your target.Remember, the fat around your waist didn’t accumulate in one day, so do not expect to lose it in one day. It’s a process. Chuck the quick fix mentality in the bin and enjoy the process.   The key is to take it bit by bit; one step at a time. No one says it’s easy, but it’s totally worth it. Rather than remaining where you are, I encourage a slow and steady pace. Consider what feels doable or exciting to you right now. If you used to train every day, how about bringing it down to two or three times a week? Find out what works for you and stick with it.

5. Be creative. Try something new

Trying out new workouts is a great way of discovering interesting ways to stay on the grind. Your choice of workout doesn’t have to be boring. You can have fun whilst at it. There are a couple of workouts you can do with a chair. Chair squats, incline mountain climbers, Chair glute bridge, Incline press up, bent over single row, etc. (head over to my Facebook page— keeping fit with Iphie and YouTube channel— keeping fit with Iphie for interesting home workouts.) You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll achieve with just a chair. Be willing to tweak your routine to incorporate new ones.

6. Get a workout partner

Ensure your partners motivate you to push harder and constantly try something new. If they aren’t motivating you, you are in the wrong circle. Depart and find your workout tribe. Having someone motivate you helps you get to a level you’ll ordinarily not get to even if you worked out for five years. Find someone who will push you out of your comfort zone. Outside of your comfort zone is where the magic happens. 

7. Make time for rest and recovery

One of the reasons for starting slow is to prevent overdoing it and risking an injury that will set you back even further.  Rest and recovery are important aspects of an exercise program because it allows the body time to repair and strengthen itself in between workouts. It also allows you to recover, both physically and psychologically. Rest and recovery periods give you an opportunity to learn about your body, feel what’s going on, and notice if anything needs attention. You may have a scheduled workout but your body says another. Paying attention to your body is critical to healthy living.

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