It’s not uncommon to fall off the fitness wagon. Life has a way of throwing wrenches into your plans, and soon one excuse can snowball into a dozen excuses and suddenly it’s months later and you’re eating pizza for the third night in a row, and you can’t remember the last time you broke a sweat.
Whoops! But don’t worry: just like it can be easy to fall off the wagon, it’s even easier to get back on again. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be working out at your local gym again like the health-conscious pro you are.
First, don’t be hard on yourself. Even if you’ve been out of the workout loop for awhile, you probably haven’t lost as much ground as you think. If you’ve worked out before, the benefits of those cardio and strength training exercises are probably still lingering, and it shouldn’t take you as long to get back up to speed again. (That’s what people mean when they talk about “muscle memory.”) Life happens! Just be ready to seize this opportunity to get healthy again.
Second, set realistic goals. It’s tempting to set big, lofty fitness goals (“I’m going to lose 30 pounds!”) but overly ambitious goals may hurt your motivation when you don’t see immediate results. Instead, set smaller goals as you go. For instance: commit to adding one more minute to your cardio workout. If you’re doing strength training, commit to one more rep. Soon enough, these incremental improvements will stack up to big gains.
To help set those realistic goals, start with one thing. For instance, this week, commit to going to the gym three times. Or commit to a 20-minute walk every morning from Monday to Friday. Or cut soda from your weeknight dinners. Once you’ve got that initial thing down, add another thing.
To stay on track with your new goals, eliminate obstacles to success. Remember: you don’t need expensive workout clothes or an intense workout six days a week to meet your fitness goals. Obstacles like those can discourage you from working out – “I don’t have my new shoes, so I may as well not go to the gym” – and that’s one way to fall off the wagon again. Remember: consistency trumps intensity. Even if you only have 10 minutes, show up at your local gym and do something.
Finally, get a workout buddy. We’ve talked about this before: getting a workout buddy can dramatically improve consistency and results in your workout, which is good news for your fitness goals. Having someone in the trenches with you means there’s support for when one of you is dragging. It also keeps the mood light and the workout fun. And who doesn’t like a fun workout?
If you have any more questions about getting back into a fitness routine, just ask any of the instructors or staff at your local gym. We’re always ready to be your Fitness Connection.