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How To Make a Strong Comeback After a Fitness Break
It doesn't matter if you’ve been working out for years or months; there will come a time when you need to take a break. Whether it's because of mental or physical health issues or just schedule changes, taking a break can be extremely beneficial for your mind and body.
When you decide you’re ready to get back to it, you can’t expect to jump in head first and start lifting the same weight or running the same speeds and distances you did before your break.
“I constantly remind myself that resting takes confidence. Anyone can train like a mad man but to embrace rest and to allow the hard training to come out takes mental strength.” — Ryan Hall
Here are our tips to help you make a strong (and safe) comeback to the gym after taking time off.
Taking a break from working out could mean setting back your progress, depending on how long your break is and the type of workouts you do. One study found that it can take up to two months of inactivity to lose the gains you’ve worked for completely. While other research says that a highly fit person could experience a rapid drop in fitness during the first three weeks of inactivity before it tapers off. So, be prepared to take it slow and possibly restart when you head back to the gym.
Before your jump back into your old workout routine, pause and make a plan to get back into it. According to Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, starting at least 2.5 hours a week is best to achieve the health benefits of working out. This is about 20-30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise 3-5 times a week for most people. What’s considered moderate will be different for everyone; it’s important to pay attention to your body so you don’t overwork yourself. Generally, after about two to five weeks at that level, you can gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts.
The most important thing here is to listen to your body. If you immediately jump into your old routine and feel like it’s knocking you out, scale back.
Don’t skip the warm-ups
It shouldn’t be anything new when we tell you that warming up before a workout is essential. Warming up prepares your body and muscles for exercise, which will help decrease injury and improve overall performance. This prep is especially important after a long period of inactivity. Aim for 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretches and light activities like walking or jogging to get your blood pumping. Trust us; if you skip the warm-ups, you’ll be paying the price the next day with some major muscle soreness, which will only prevent you from exercising until you recover.
Remember, it takes time for your body to adjust to new training routines and exercises, especially after a break. Don’t expect to see immediate results and gains.
The good news is that our bodies tend to regain fitness abilities pretty quickly. Studies have found that our muscles hold a memory of their former strength and skills that might last forever. This means that if you’ve done the workout before, you should easily be able to get back to your previous level.
Be prepared for the recovery
No matter what exercise you’re doing or how long your break was, it’s important to incorporate rest days into your routine. After any break, you might feel some guilt or pressure to jump back in and make up for the lost time. But doing this will only mean you’re risking being very sore but also risking injury. Seriously, don’t skip the recovery days!
Even with rest days, when you haven’t exercised a particular muscle group in a long time, you can expect to have sore muscles for at least a day or two after your workout. This is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), which is thought to be caused by microtears in muscle fibres and inflammation as the muscle tissue is repairing itself.
DOMS is predictable when you’re returning to the gym, so be prepared before it happens. Set yourself up with solid pain relief and recovery aids, like our CBD Repair and Recovery Gel Capsules and CBD pain relief cream. No matter if you’ve taken two weeks off or two months, our CBD line is here to keep you working harder and longer without the pain holding you back
“The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it.” – Vince Lombardi
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