Helia Fitness back from a break

Back From A Break?

Sometimes our lives become so busy that the days just blend together and in the blink of an eye, your two-week summer vacation has become a decade-long break from the gym. In the couple of minutes that it takes you to read this article I want you to take a few deep breaths, resist the urge to flip to the next page, and try to remember the last time you worked out. If it was just yesterday, you’re good. If it was a couple weeks, months or years ago, you might have a bit more work ahead of you, but with the right help and environment you can do it. All hope is not lost!

It takes work to keep your body in shape and as soon as you stop that work, your body begins detraining. You can lose both your muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance relatively quickly. When you are coming back from an intended (or unintended) break from exercise, make sure to do it right. Take things slow and allow your body to adjust again.

Break Time: 2 weeks

You may have gone on vacation, or have been serving as a taxi driver for 12 year olds going back and forth between baseball and swimming camps and missed your workouts for a couple of weeks. Good news: if you get back into the gym today, you may feel a little out of breath at first, but ultimately you’ll be ok. Bad news: you may have lost up to 12% of your muscular strength. Make sure to get enough recovery between sets of intervals and resistance exercises; lighten the load if you have to. Everything should be back to normal in a week or so.

Break Time: 2 months

This type of hiatus is usually instigated by a break in your otherwise routine life. Whether the chaos was created by the never-ending responsibilities you have as the maid of honor at your best friend’s wedding, or the result of a month long family vacation, the loss of organization and consistency in your everyday activities was enough to throw your workouts off track. Bad news: In two months you can lose up to 35% of your muscle strength and up to 18% of your aerobic endurance. Chances are you have also lost 100% of your motivation. Good news: your workout clothes likely still fit. Make an appointment with a trainer or find a buddy to workout with. It can take up to six weeks to get you back to your pre-break shape. Also, take a look at why you’ve been absent for so long. Do you need to have a personal trainer to keep you accountable? Do you feel comfortable in your gym? Do you need to look at becoming an at-home exerciser? Are you bored? Once you identify the barriers, you will be better equipped to deal with them and find a very suitable environment to start up with your workouts again.

Break Time: 2 years

When you decide to get back into exercise at this stage in the game, it is important to recognize that it can take a while to get back to a point where you feel strong and fit. Good news: getting back into a fitness routine now will show you the most significant benefits, thanks to the Law of Diminishing Returns, which states that the further you are from your ideal point of fitness, the greater the improvements will be; the closer you are, the smaller they will be. The Bad news: You may have lost up to 50% of your muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance. Talk to somebody who can make a plan for you. Meet with a trainer or join a class to create accountability. There should always be somebody who you can count on for motivation and advice on exercises. Don’t worry we won’t hold it against you, we’re just glad that you’re working out again.

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