How to get back to the gym after a hiatus

Let’s be honest. Life happens.

You may be well on the path to feeling confident in your body and dropping those 40 lbs. Those 40 lbs that seem like they magically appeared overnight.

You go to the gym a few times a week. You’re eating better and going to bed earlier. All is going well.

You feel like you’ve taken back control of your weight. Like it’s not something you’re stuck with, but something you have power over.

You’re at the lowest weight you’ve been in years and you can see no reason why you’re not going to keep making progress.

Then the holidays happen.

Between lots of traveling to see family and leaving many meals feeling bloated, you miss a good amount of workouts and you haven’t stuck with your nutrition routine.

You tell yourself that once the holidays are over, you’re going to get back in the gym and pick up right where you left off.

You find it harder than you remember though. Before the holidays you were starting to actually look forward to the gym (much to your surprise considering you've always dreaded the gym), and meal planning had become fairly easy and straightforward.

Now though, it all feels like a chore.

The fact that it doesn’t feel as easy as it did a month ago makes it even more discouraging! Because of this, the time off from the gym extends well beyond the holiday season.

This is going to happen from time to time.

There will be times where the gym gets put on the back-burner for whatever reason.

This happens to everyone. Myself included. It’s absolutely normal. Whether it’s because you have a big launch coming up at work, family issues that need your attention, or you just kinda get bored and stop going. It’s all ok.

Feeling judged (by yourself and others) can be a big obstacle to getting back to the gym. When you’ve stopped going to the gym for a while, maybe you’ll be afraid of what the regular gym goers will think. Or if you attend a class where you know everyone, maybe you’ll feel ashamed to be like, “Yeah, I kinda just stopped feeling like it”.

So first off, remember that it’s all fine. Taking time off is completely normal and is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Besides, the people at the gym probably don’t care. And if they do, they’re dickheads. The people in your class don’t care either, they’re just happy to have you back!

That said, the fear of being judged is very real, regardless of whether or not others will actually judge you.

So if you’re afraid of feeling judged, it’s important to be aware of and acknowledge this.

Beyond building awareness, being gentle with yourself, and normalizing your predicament, here are a few mental exercises and things to remember to help you overcome any internal resistance to returning to the gym after time off.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Imagine the worst thing that will happen if you go to the gym. Because when you paint a vivid picture, it probably won’t be as bad as you think. The unknown is scary. When you make the unknown known in this way, you dissipate some of that fear.

Play devil’s advocate

Ask yourself the following counterintuitive questions:

  1. What’s good about skipping the gym?
  2. What’s bad about going to the gym?

Then ask yourself these more intuitive ones:

  1. What’s good about going to the gym?
  2. What bad things may happen if you don’t go to the gym regularly?

By this point, you’re probably not even reading anymore because you’re in your car on the way to the gym ;)

Alas, I must finish this blog post.

The longer the hiatus, the harder this will be

Just like the longer you’ve been going to the gym, the easier it is to keep going.

For someone who has been going to the gym 3x per week for 10 years, a missed workout is but a blip that hardly gets noticed.

On the other hand, for someone who’s been going to the gym 3x per week for 1 month, that missed workout could easily lead to a chain reaction of missed workouts.

It’s much easier for that person to justify further missed workouts because, “I’ve already missed one, so what does it matter?”. Plus, not working out is that person’s version of normal. Therefore, not going to workouts doesn’t feel any different than what they're used to. It's an easy behavior to revert to.

So when you’re trying to psych yourself up to go workout, remember that the longer you don’t go, the harder it will be.

The thought of this being even more difficult the longer you wait, should help you get out the door.

C’mon do it now!!!

Ultimately though, the best thing is to probably stop overthinking it and just act.

Action breeds motivation breeds action. You just have to get things moving. Because the longer you wait around for motivation to come to you, the stronger the pull of your old habits will be.

It doesn’t need to be anything crazy, you just need to get your butt out the door. You can go to the gym and do one set of one exercise and that’s still a million times better than doing nothing.

Everybody I’ve ever worked with in my years of coaching, both online and in person, says that once they get to the gym it’s fine. It’s going from the couch to the gym that’s the hard part.

You know that what you'll get from working out is something that’s important to you. So just go before you have the chance to convince yourself otherwise.

Also, everybody I’ve worked with says they feel better after they go. In fact, one of my online clients recently said he had the best workout since we started working together on a day where he was really dragging his feet and was tempted not to go.

The thing is, you don’t want to rely on your mood because:

  1. Your mood is out of your control
  2. If you’re out of the habit of working out, your mood is going to be more privy to the status quo of not working out.

So don’t wait until you feel like it.

Decide when you’re going to the gym. Put it in your calendar and commit to it. Follow through regardless of how you feel.

The longer you put this off, the harder it will be in the future.

Here are some other quick tips to help you out if you’re feeling stuck:

1. Recruit somebody to go with you

Not wanting to seem like a flake will probably overpower any reluctance to get to the gym

2. Do some bodyweight exercises at home to get you moving

It’s more convenient so you have less reason to skip your workout.

3. Stay accountable by hiring an online coach

Ensure you regain control of your health and your body by having someone in your corner to help guide and support you through the ups and downs of working out.

If you're tired of feeling powerless and demoralized about your weight click here to fill out a short application form. If it seems like we'd be a good fit, I'll reach out to you within 48 hours to schedule a consultation to dive deeper into your goals and decide which coaching service would work best for you.

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Posted in Fat Loss, Fitness on Apr 17, 2019