How to Come Back from a Gym Hiatus
Whether an injury, illness or overbooked life is to blame, having to revert to square one at the gym is a drag. Here are three tips to starting over safely.
- Accept where you are. Do not try to pick up where you left off just because you think you should be in better shape (a recipe for injury). You are starting over, so you have to expect that you will be weaker and slower. Be kind to yourself and to your body and you will eventually get back to where you were.
- Revisit the basics. A good rule of thumb is to start with about 10 percent less than the weight you previously used, and rest after a couple of sets – then see how you feel and adjust accordingly. If you were using 50-pound dumbbells for four sets at your peak, you might want to try 40 or 45 pounds – or if that is unavailable, whatever the next lightest – for two or three sets the first week back.
- Map out your plan. Do so not only in your head, but also on paper (or in your phone). By scheduling your workouts and knowing exactly what you are going to do when you get to the gym, you will be more effective and less likely to blow it off altogether. The more specific you are – weights, sets, reps, cardio, weekly goals – the better your rebound will go.