Whether you have been away on holiday, have been sick, simply just allowed your body a break or life has thrown a nice big surprise at you (hello global pandemic) it can be a challenge to get your head back in the game and re focus on your goals. It is actually so important to allow your body a rest and allow some switch off time but it can make getting back into it harder.
One of our MuscleFood Experts Becs has shared her thoughts on the best ways to get yourself back on track, no guilt allowed.
Acknowledge why you have taken a break
Before we look at anything, you need to first of all acknowledge the break. It may have been intentional or unintentional but it’s important to acknowledge it. By acknowledging this, you can determine if it was out of your control or if you allowed it to happen.
Perhaps if this isn’t the first time you’ve hit a wall and let your goals slip then you need to assess whether your priorities are in line with the goals. Maybe a few things need shifting around, maybe you need to take a step back and scale things slightly in order to work long term.
Are my goals still a priority?
Once we have established why the break happened, we can then discover if the goals are still a priority and still actually the goal. It is important to understand that goals can change, sometimes they evolve, sometimes other things get in the way that need to become more of a priority.
A goal doesn’t have to be set in stone forever, if you need to make changes along the way then do.
Now we can look at mindset. There is absolutely no point allowing negative thoughts to get in the way. You may be thinking “it’s been so long, I am going to be so unfit” or “this is going to be so much harder than before” or “I am going to have lost so much strength, it’s going to take so long to build back up to where I was” or “I quite like eating out and indulging, I just really don’t like the thought of cooking again”.
If negative thoughts like this are creeping in, you first of all need to move them aside and change your mindset. No one can do this for you, that’s something you need to change. Perhaps re-write down your goals and remind yourself of what you wanted to achieve in the first place.
Whatever the goals are, write down how you felt previously when exercising and eating well. How did it leave you feeling? What were your favourite exercises? What were your favourite meals? What made you feel really good?
When you have these written down, you will be in a much better and much more positive mind frame going forward.
Ease yourself back in
If you have taken a good chunk of time off exercising, there is absolutely no point trying to go full send on day one. Firstly, your body won’t know what has hit it! Secondly, you will most likely take longer to recover and may have to take more time off just recovering.
Ease yourself back into it, keep the intensity slightly down to begin with, do shorter sessions and don’t try and hit the same weight numbers you were hitting before you took the break. Spend a lot of time focussing on recovery between sessions. Make sure you are stretching before and after, and eating well around your sessions.
Particularly in the first few days of getting back into routine, you need to commit to what you set out to do. Giving up halfway through a session or giving into a takeaway when you had planned and prepared your dinner already, isn’t going to get you anywhere. You need little wins to push you to continue. You can then use these little wins as fuel to keep going.
Take a friend with you
Sometimes you might find your confidence has been hit a little after taking some time off, so find a workout buddy and take them along to the gym with you or sign up to a class with a friend. Keep things fun and interesting - this will give you the boost to continue and keep coming back.
You do not need to go on a ‘diet’
Too often we see it. You’ve been on holiday, you took some time off your training and then you come home and feel like you need to go on a ‘diet’ to get back to where you were. These are absolutely not the thoughts that should be going through your mind.
Making better, healthier food choices and working on improving your eating habits, does not mean you are on a ‘diet’. By telling yourself this, is only setting you up for failure. Telling yourself you need to go on a ‘diet’ is restrictive and creates a poor relationship with food and your body image.
Remove the mindset of ‘dieting’ and please avoid all fad diets you see. As we talked about above, create that positive mindset. Remind yourself of how healthier choices made you feel before. Remind yourself of how good food and trying new healthy recipes left you feeling compared to regular meals out or if that feels too much, look at non restrictive meal plans like Goal Getters to help you reset.
Make a plan
I can’t stress this one enough. When it comes to exercising, plan out your week. Write down in your diary when you are going to exercise. When it’s written in your diary you have to commit, particularly if you have agreed to go with someone. Maybe getting it done early first thing in the morning is for you. That way when it gets to the end of a long day you know you don’t need to think about getting your exercise done for the day. Sign up to classes, that way you know you have to commit.
When it comes to food choices, spend some time on the weekend mapping out meals and snacks for the week. If your meals and snacks are planned it makes it so much easier to make a good decision in the week. Trust me, you will thank yourself when you come in from a long day and find everything is there ready for that super simple stir fry you had planned.
Same goes for snacks, have your snacks prepared and take them with you to work. This will remove the temptation to pick up a muffin with your morning coffee or reach for the biscuit jar mid afternoon when you’re hitting that 3pm slump.
Think of your journey as an adventure
Whatever your goals are, think of your own journey as an adventure. An adventure has ups and downs, highs and lows and sometimes you take a wrong path. Just like your journey will have ups and downs too.
That’s life, things happen, sometimes completely out of our own control. It’s important that you take the time to do what you need to do. Your goals aren’t going anywhere, they will still be there when you are ready to tackle them again.