Finding the Old You: Getting Your Workout Mojo Back
For awhile there, you were on fire. You felt strong, saw some results, and enjoyed all the other goodness that comes from regular exercise. But then it happened. You got sick, injured, super busy, or maybe just got a little lazy. Whatever your “it” was, there’s hope! Getting back in shape is really about getting your workout mindset back — and that can start today.
Rule 1: Pace yourself
The biggest problem coaches tend to see with clients is burn out. Most of them come in saying, “I’ve gained weight!” Or, “I haven’t worked out in weeks!” They beg instructors to give them their most killer workout. As if one psycho session today will instantly undo weeks of inactivity. This enthusiasm is awesome to see from someone who’s trying to get back in shape, but it’s actually much more likely to lead injury, intense muscle trauma and soreness. A long recovery, in turn, leads to discouragement and negative feelings associated with exercise. Talk about a disastrous cycle!
“Cardio fitness starts to diminish slightly within three days,” says Michele Olson, PhD, CSCS, a professor of exercise science at Auburn University. After taking several weeks off from cardio training, it is best to ease back into your workout routine. Drastically increasing your cardio pace, duration, and intensity can lead to injury and/or sickness.
Coach Aaron shares his personal experience…
“I still remember my failed last-minute attempt to get in shape for a marathon in Saint George, Utah last September. I was supposed to be slowly increasing the distance I ran each week. But I missed a few weeks of training, and thought I’d make up for those off weeks by running a couple extra miles in the final weeks before the marathon. I decided I would just do one extra-long run. The run was a success! However, as you can imagine, the effects were a complete disaster. I couldn’t even roll out of bed the next day. My legs — and throat — were in agony. Sickness and stiffness combined made my training go from bad to catastrophic. Lesson learned: Sprinting doesn’t prepare you for a marathon. Pace yourself back into shape.”
So, when you start exercising after a break, we recommend moving at a pace that is 10-20 percent slower than your normal pace. Be sure to take plenty of water breaks. And — above all — listen to your body. If you recognize a sore throat coming on, feelings of irritability, insomnia, or persistent muscle soreness, there’s a good chance you’re overtraining, and on the brink of burnout.
Rule 2: Enjoy exercise to get back in shape
If you think working out is no fun, you just haven’t found the right way to get in shape. There are so many options out there: rowing, swimming, yoga, TRX, high intensity interval training (HIIT), group fitness classes, workout DVDs, and — our personal favorite — the app Gixo! Shameless plugs aside, here are a few recommendations for starting a routine that scratches you behind the ears:
- If you enjoy camaraderie, try Crossfit.
- If your job stresses you to the max, try yoga.
- If you have limited time, try HIIT.
However you approach things, we promise that the results will come if you fall in love with the process. Most of the time it’s a matter of experimenting to find a routine you love.
Rule 3: Stop focusing on how fit you used to be
It’s not easy. We know. But focus on the present, not the past. Choosing to do even a few minutes of exercise today is better than not exercising at all simply because you think you can’t be as strong or fit as you used to be. Start tracking your progress now. From today forward, it will only get better. Track your improvement, measure your success, and — above all — embrace change. With this mentality, you can be even better than the old you.
So are you getting back in shape? Nah. You’re actually going to become stronger, fitter, and healthier than ever before — as long as you can embrace the process and go for consistent, gradual improvement. With some patience and effort, these tips will help you get you back to the vision of health and fitness you want to be. (And don’t forget, Gixo can help!)