A guide to returning to training after a break
By Catherine Allison, Triathlete, Oseopath + She Science Ambassador
As I write “February” on my client notes I can’t help but wonder where on earth did January go? While I’m not one for making New Years Resolutions I do know a number of people who have recently admitted they have decided to re start 2016 in February – and I’m full of support! It is so easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit and when the reality of life sets back in you realise it’s been almost a full month since you worked normal hours and completed your exercise regime like clockwork. So how do you get back into exercise again after an extended break? Here are a few tips to make sure you don’t have to re make your resolution again in March
- Start small – don’t expect to be able to take up where you left off in December 2015. It doesn’t take long for fitness to drop and for our motivation to workout to go with it. Don’t set unrealistic workouts for your first few weeks back or you will end up feeling depressed when they don’t go to plan. Start with 5-10minutes a day; Exercise without your beloved Garmin or Heart Rate monitor; but most importantly just enjoy being out there again.
- Set a goal – summer in Melbourne is one of the best times to find a fitness goal as there is an event on most weekends. It doesn’t need to be a big goal or a race you want to win: simply having a date set for your return is enough to kick start the motivation.
- Find a fitness buddy – It is very easy to snooze the alarm if there is no one holding you accountable. Chances are your friends are in the same boat as you after the holiday period and simply having someone to meet is motivation enough to get out of bed. And lets me honest, there is nothing more enjoyable than taking a friend (or furry) friend for a well deserved post workout coffee.
- Mark it in your diary – A wise man once said “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. If you write down in advance on paper (or in your phone) the exercise you plan to complete with a time frame, you are more likely to stick to your routine. Deciding its time to exercise isn’t enough – set some short term goals for each week and enjoy ticking them off as you go.
- Make it enjoyable – exercise should be fun and not a chore. For exercise programs to work they need to be something you enjoy or, even better, look forward to completing. Choosing “running” because you heard it’s good for fat burning isn’t going to cut it in a few months when it gets colder and you lose motivation. Find something that makes you tick and stick to it. Life is supposed to be fun.
- Dress for it – with the post Christmas Sales lingering it is the perfect time to reward yourself as you tick off each goal. So if you need the extra motivation why not find some new exercise gear to make you feel excited about getting out and about again! You are far more likely to go out and exercise if you have some new threads and don’t pull on your 3 year old baggy T-shirt from the bottom of the drawer.
- Don’t be hard on yourself – coming back from a break for exercise is tough, even for an elite athlete. It is easy to be critical of yourself and to feel despondent when you realise you aren’t where you were a few months ago. Remember that conditioning takes time – there is no quick fix: each day you increase your program you are one step closer to your goal and feeling how you did at your peak.
Remember that the things you do today will show in the weeks to come – sadly we cannot snap our fingers and be back to full fitness or goal weight, so in the meantime, slow down and enjoy the process. Take time to remember why it is you enjoy exercising, make some new friends to keep you company, set some goals in place for the year, and reward the small changes you make along the way. And within no time at all you will be back to your routine and feeling fabulous.
Catherine is a fierce competitor in the Australian Triathlon community. Her distance of choice is the Ironman 70.3, but you’ll find her on Sprint and Olympic distance courses too. When she isn’t working on her 16 hours of training a week Catherine works with athletes of all levels clinically as an Osteopath. In 2015 Catherine was named the Victorian Female Athelte of the Year by Triathlon Australia. She has her aims set high for another huge year in 2016. Follow her progress via her instagram or review her clinic details here.