Posted on March 15 2018
It happens to the best of us. We have an injury, or maybe we stop making progress. Perhaps we just lose motivation to continue training. Regardless of the situation, sometimes our best laid plans for working out get derailed. Here are some tips to help you get back on track.
1. DO LESS
Yes, you read that correctly. We often set lofty goals for ourselves and then expect to achieve them right away. This leads us to start a training program with way too much volume (amount of work) in the beginning.
I’m all for going hard and heavy, but the early stages of a training regiment is usually not the ideal time. Too much intensity out of the gate can lead to burnout and worse, an increased risk of injury.
Training frequency is another area where people typically get too aggressive right off the bat. The tendency for most, is to hit the gym everyday for the first week, become incredibly sore, then take the next two weeks to recover.
Instead, start off training only 2 or 3 days a week to allow your body some time to adjust. It is also important to remember that the best athletes do, in fact, take time to recover. Although “NoDaysOff” is a cool hashtag for Instagram, it is a stupid practice that will lead to injury and will totally mess up your #gains, bro.
RESET YOUR ZERO
Most of us have some preconceived level of fitness that we tend to hold ourselves to, regardless of what our status actually is. This may be an old personal record lift we achieved a while back, or perhaps a workout routine we followed in high school. Either way, if you have taken some time off for whatever reason, you shouldn’t hold yourself to the same standard.
That isn’t to say that it is impossible to get back were you where or even surpass it, but simply remember that it will take some time. When getting back into training it is important to reset your starting point (zero). And not based upon your previous achievements, but rather where you are currently. This will give you a more realistic expectation for setting your goals and a better chance of reaching them.
2. BE MORE SPECIFIC
“I just want to get in better shape”. Um, okay. But what does that really mean? Being “in shape” is a relative term. Are you getting ready for a marathon, a tennis match, or are you just trying to change your body composition. If body composition is the goal (as it is with most people) start with just one aspect.
Despite what many infomercials will lead you to believe, losing fat and gaining muscle are actually very challenging to do at the same time. Focus solely on one goal, and you may find that you achieve additional ones in the process. If you try to go in several different directions all at once, you usually just end up spinning your wheels and staying in the same place.
3. MIX THINGS UP
Recent studies have shown that Monotony might be one of the leading causes of death for a training program. Showing up to the gym and following the same workout and cardio program day in and day out can quickly spell disaster for even the most motivated of individuals. While we often see ourselves as “creatures of habit”, we also crave variety.
This is especially true when it comes to meal planning and workouts. Typically, we find something that works and just continue to repeat it indefinitely, with little to no variance. Sooner or later, we start to get bored and our enthusiasm slowly goes away. A good training program should be around 6 weeks long and then its time to switch it up. Additionally, you can keep things fresh by having a variety of exercises that only repeat weekly, instead of daily.
CHANGE YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Another way to add variety is to find new places to train. Drop in to a different gym or better yet, forgo the gym all together and do your workout outdoors. Admittedly, training outside does require a bit of creativity and some thinking outside of the box.
Fortunately, the handsome gents over at SurvivalFit have got you covered with an assortment of workouts that you can do just about anywhere, with little to no equipment. Sometimes a change in scenery and some fresh air can be just the thing to breathe new life into an old routine.
This may be the most important thing to remember. Unless you are a professional athlete, working out and training is not your job. So don’t treat it that way! Getting a workout in should be the highlight of your day, not the most dreaded part. If you hate running on a treadmill, don’t!
Instead, find an activity that you actually enjoy rather than doing exercises you hate. Too many people refer to their training regiment as “the grind”. I prefer to think of it as the “the flow”. Be flexible and don’t take things too seriously. If you can find a way to make your workouts enjoyable, your training will never get stagnant or need to be revitalized in the first place.