It’s been a long and – mostly – hot Summer. Hooray! But not so hooray for your workout routine. What seemed super easy in May has kinda slipped over the holidays. That’s OK, we’re here to help you get back into the swing of things so you can tick of your training goals in September.
Revisit your successful exercise routine
Getting back into exercise after time off starts by looking back at what worked for you previously. Whether it’s been a few weeks or several months since you were smashing out regular workouts, success leaves clues. Cast your mind back to the time when training sessions were a non-negotiable part of your week. What exactly made it happen? What were the habits, organisational tools, and time hacks you relied on to make those 6am runs or after-work gym sessions part and parcel of your regular routine?
Use the power of habit-stacking
Once you’ve reverse engineered your former routine, it’s time to put it all back together again so you can become the active person you want to be. This is the ideal time to use a technique known as habit-stacking, where you build new habits on top of established ones.
Habit stacking seems super simple, but that’s exactly why it works so well. Every time you practice a habit, your brain strengthens its connection of neurons which works to support these behaviours. As you can imagine, this works whether the habit is good or not-so-good!
You can piggyback on the strength of your existing habits to build new ones – including going to the gym or meeting a friend for an outdoor cardio sesh! Here’s how to become a habit-stacking expert:
Identify habits that you do every day (morning coffee, brushing your teeth, leaving work…) and tag a new, simple action on to it.
For example: “after I have my morning coffee I will put on my running shoes and head out for a run” or “after I leave work, I will head to the gym”. See how it might work for you? And of course before too long, the new habit will become another ingrained habit.
Get organised – use your calendar
We all know those people who show up to their training sessions day in and day out, no excuses. Nothing seems to get in their way, even if they’re juggling a busy job and hectic schedule. Want to know their secret? They treat workouts like any other important appointment.
Learn from these folk and set aside time each week to look through your diary, identify the best slots for a workout, and then (here’s the important bit) book it in. If this means booking on to a class, nabbing a spot at CrossFit, or whatsapping your running buddy, do it. Then put your workout sessions in your diary so the time is blocked out.
Make yourself accountable to a workout partner
Don’t underestimate the power of accountability to other humans, after all we are social animals and thrive off interaction and encouragement. Use accountability to get back into your exercise routine by getting a workout buddy, a running partner, or simply checking in with someone as a way of tracking your workouts. This could be an online coach or Personal Trainer, or that super-fit friend who always loves hearing about other people’s workouts!
Set a workout goal or fitness challenge
A sure-fire way to motivate your workouts is to set a goal. Make it meaningful to you otherwise you run the risk of throwing in the towel when the shine wears off. Maybe it’s a gym-based goal like increasing the amount you can squat or deadlift. Perhaps it’s entering a running race or OCR event. Hey, maybe you could set a really big goal like training for a marathon or climbing the 3 Peaks! One person’s life-changing exciting scary goal would be another person’s worst nightmare, so be sure to choose a goal you want to achieve not something you’ve seen doing the rounds on Instagram.
Fire up your workout routine by trying something new
This might not be easy to admit, but perhaps the reason you dropped your old workout routine is that you were simply a bit bored of it? This is actually great news, as it gives you the opportunity to try something new. Freshen up your workouts and supercharge your motivation by starting something from scratch.
How about joining that local CrossFit gym you’ve had your eye on? Or starting up a team sport that you’ve always fancied giving a go? Or booking on to that banging group exercise class you’ve seen but never tried? There are literally hundreds of ways to work out these days so treat yourself to something new!
Tips for getting back into team sport
If it’s been a while since you turned up to team practice, don’t worry – they will welcome you back with open arms. Run an internet search for your local team or club, or contact the sports NGB (National Governing Body) who will be sure to know. Send an email to the team captain or membership person then head along to a taster session or training day. You’ll be back in the fold in no time!
Tips for getting back into running after a lay off
Whether you’ve got several marathons under your belt or simply used to run for me-time, take a structured approach to getting back into running. Remember that your muscles and connective tissue will take more time than your mind! Don’t be afraid to walk/run your first few sessions. Revisit your favourite running routes, call up that running buddy…oh and check to see if your running shoes need replacing.
Tips for getting back into the gym after time away
There’s nothing to do but do it! Get back into your old gym routine by heading down there at the time of day that works best for you (were you a morning, lunchtime, or after-work lifter?) Don’t let gymtimidation get the better of you, remember that everybody is focusing on their own training. Start with a simple full body workout 3 times a week, or go with a push/pull or upper/lower split if you have the time. (If you’re looking for an easy full body workout, check out the exercises we recommend here.) Take rest days and increase the volume, load, and frequency of sessions slowly to stay free from injury.
Tips for getting back into group classes after the summer break
Dig out that class timetable and get booked in – bite the bullet and do it! Your favourite instructor will be over the moon to see you. Remember how much you loved classes for the music, the atmosphere, and the friendly faces. Don’t expect to jump back in at your old frequency (especially if you were a 5-day-a-week spin fanatic!) Start with 2 a week and build up from there.
Tips for getting back into the routine of Personal Training sessions
If you’ve taken a long break from PT sessions, the hardest bit will be messaging the PT to say “hey, I’m back… can we resume our sessions please?” After that, your PT will take care of the rest, designing awesome programming and delivering sessions that get you fired up. Personal Training is one of the best ways to get back into an exercise routine because the PT will act as motivator, accountability partner, and healthy habits coach.
Feeling inspired to get back into your old exercise routine or start something new? Find your best local gyms with Hussle.