On any given day, a client walks through our door and gives us a long-lost greeting. "Hi! I'm back! I know it's been a while." It's often said with a hint of sheepishness... reflecting how our "be stronger than your excuses" culture can cause guilt and imply it's weak to let fitness fall away. But it's not. It's life.
Sometimes it's something big that changes everything. An injury. A job. A move. A birth. A death. Or sometimes life becomes increasingly busy and fitness fades into the background as we juggle priorities. It happens to everyone.
What matters is that as soon as you're able to (logistically, physically, emotionally), start to clear room for fitness to come back into your daily or weekly life. You know that once you do, everything feels a little bit better, and that's something to look forward to!
The start-up or return can be challenging though. Your body may not be at it's best so it can be physically difficult. And there's mental stamina and energy needed to put yourself back into a workout environment. So be mindful of how you start to integrate fitness back into your life and try this approach as you make the transition.
1. Start with workouts you really, really enjoy. What type of exercise is your favorite? What workout environment is most comfortable for you? Don't factor in the intensity or whether the type of workout will help with any personal goals you might have longer term (i.e. weight, body composition). It's important to just enjoy the experience as you get back into the swing!
2. Prioritize frequency. It's about building a mindset and making space for fitness and activity on a daily basis. Any amount of time is better than nothing when it comes to building a routine because it's a stepping stone to building more at a later date! So seize any 10, 20, 30 minute opportunities to workout. Do any kind of movement, at any rate of intensity. Just start moving.
3. Go stronger with strengthening when you have those options to choose from. Physically speaking, cardio does require strength. Cardio asks your body to move with speed, power and agility. Having a baseline of strength will make your cardio more enjoyable and more beneficial. So if it's been a while since you've worked out, your body will usually feel better with building strength first.
4. Hold off on setting attainment goals. There are a lot of factors that go into making big changes in our bodies, and while setting attainment goals can be motivating for some, it's not the only approach or the right approach for everyone. And setting goals too soon is like trying to run before you walk. Bring fitness back into your life, schedule, brain and body first, then set goals (if you want to)!
Try to enjoy your whole fitness journey - the ups and the downs, the good streaks and the not-so-good ones. Don't judge yourself for it. Just get excited for the opportunity to exercise again! Get excited to walk back into studios you've been away from, knowing that we will always be SO happy to see you and share a workout with you.
See you at the studio!