It can be daunting to think about how to get back to exercise. This can be for many reasons. For me, It’s knowing how unfit I now am, and how tough exercise will now be. But don’t fret! Here I will list 11 top tips on how to get back to exercise, in a safe way.
If you follow me and my blog, you will know that I left the UK over 3 weeks ago. I left my home, my family, friends and job, to travel the world. This is something I have always dreamed of. I am a huge believer in following your dreams, so that’s what I have done.
As I have left the UK on a long term basis, I had to sell everything I owned. Including giving up my flat and my car! This meant that the beginning of 2017 has been very busy and stressful for me (and my boyfriend).
Alongside selling all our belongings, I was working full time as a personal trainer both in person PT and online. Additionally, I was creating, shooting, editing and blogging recipes for Refined Health. Plus, keeping up with daily chores and trying to see friends and family.
So, as you can imagine I was very busy. In fact I was working 15 hour days, 7 days a week. This built a lot of stress for me and my partner.
Due to this stress and lack of time, I had to give up exercise until I left the UK. Being a fitness fanatic, this was a struggle. But something had to give! I haven’t trained consistently for a year now. As you can imagine, I have lost strength, fitness, muscle tone and put on a lot of fat. The left picture below was me summer 2016 at 60kg, the right is now at 70kg. I will add that I am much happier now and even more comfortable in my body. But, I LOVE feeling fit, healthy, strong and lean, so that is my goal.
Sometimes, life and stress get in the way, and that’s OK. We are not perfect, and no one lives a perfect life. We can ALWAYS get back on track, no matter how far we have fallen off.
My boyfriend and I left the UK August 7th and arrived in Thailand August 8th. It took a few weeks to settle into a routine and find our feet, before starting back exercise.
19 days after arriving in Thailand, approx. 28 degrees, we headed to the gym. Hooray!!! I was both excited and nervous, but luckily being a personal trainer I knew how to get back to exercise.
While sweating from every pore in my first gym session (it was tough), I thought that I should write a blog. To share with you lovely lot, tips on how to get back to exercise in a safe way.
Well enough of my story telling. Here are 11 top tips on how to get back to exercise.
You may be thinking this is a waste of time. But trust me; you will want to increase your activity level in a slow manner. If you have been away from the gym or any form of activity for a long time, you will need to start light. In this case, start with some daily stretching for 10-20 minutes. Then add some walking into your week. Again, start small, 10 minutes and build up. The time frame will be dependent on your current fitness levels and the duration you haven’t exercised for.
This is a must. By setting yourself a goal, you have something to work towards and achieve. When you do achieve it, you will feel elated. Woohoo! Set a goal that is achievable and not too far fetched. For example, don’t set yourself the goal of getting defined abs or running a marathon within a few weeks. Your first goal could be as simple as; go to the gym 3 times a week for 40 minutes. This was actually my first goal for week 1, and I have achieved it. By crossing off my first goal, it has made me feel awesome. Once you achieve your first goal, set another, and so on.
Like setting a goal, setting the time and day must be achievable. Note the day in your calendar to keep you reminded. By setting a date and noting it down, there is more chance of you making your first session. Plan your session for a day where you know you will have some free time and a time you know you will enjoy. For me, I prefer to exercise around lunchtime. Guess what time I planned my gym sessions for? 12.30pm.
This tip may seem simple, but it will make a big difference. Prep and pack your gym bag with your kit and water bottle the night before. By doing this you have already set yourself up to attend your gym session. This is even more important if you have planned your session early morning.
Studies show that pairing up with a friend or exercising in a group encourages you to exercise more. This is due to many reasons; accountability and motivation being the two biggies. Choose a friend that has the same goals as you in mind. A friend that you feel is motivational and emotionally supportive, will be your best choice.
I would say that this is the biggest point to any good exercise plan. How many times have you turned up to the gym and not had a plan on what to do? Before becoming a personal trainer, it was what I did most days. I say most days, because I didn’t realize that I didn’t need to train 6 days a week to achieve my goals. So, before you start a new exercise regime, plan what you will be doing. You will need to take into account what you want to achieve from your workouts. If you need any help check out my 4 week course Sparkle.
It is important that you don’t overdo it in your first few sessions. You do not want to stress your body too much. If you do, you will most definitely have very sore muscles for the next few days. This may; stop you exercising for at least 3 days, cause an injury, or put you off exercise. My advice would be to start with high reps and light weights. Also, your session shouldn’t last that long either. 40 minutes should be enough. For example, my first squat was 12kg 3 x 10, where I used to squat no lighter than 60kg before I had a break from exercise. Leave your ego at home and be mindful.
When starting an exercise, assure that you have good technique and range of movement. Get a friend to check your form or video yourself. It is also important to activate the muscle that is being worked. During the contraction of the exercise, focus on squeezing the muscle working. Slowly lower the weight in the eccentric phase. This should produce a good mind, muscle connection and produce the best results.
Any good exercise plan has rest days. This is important for your body and mind to recover. Plan your rest days on days that you are least likely to exercise or days you like to laze about (Sunday’s).
Being a personal trainer, the mistake I see most is, individuals not making changes to their diet. If you have a goal of weight loss or muscle gains, you will need to change your diet. Even if your goal is to become healthier, you will need to change your diet. I can guarantee that any diet could benefit from some improvements. Additionally, make sure that you are keeping hydrated during and after workouts. If you are at a loss with nutrition or need some direction, I can help you. You can find out what I offer here.
This may not be a point that you think will help your exercise. But getting good quality 6-8 hours’ sleep a night will help your body recover and renew. Set a bed time that you stick to daily and switch off your phone 30-60 minutes before bed. Having a dark room will help the quality of your sleep, use an eye mask or dark curtains to achieve this. If you live somewhere noisy, use earplugs to get a peaceful nights sleep.
That concludes my 11 top tips on how to get back to exercise. If you have any to add or found this helpful, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
If you would like help with how to get back to exercise or need a fresh routine. Check out the plans I have on offer here.