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Returning to the Gym? Prepare to Feel Better Than You Should

04/25/2016, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech


Have you ever woken up to the startling realization that despite your best intentions, there’s simply no way your body will allow you to descend the stairs, let alone hit the gym and chuck plates around for an hour?

A pinch in your back. A creak in your skull. A debilitating lack of energy or simple will to deal with the world. 

It happens.

These are just a sample of the reasons we’re blocked from our fitness routines. Sometimes your body simply needs time to recover from life inside and outside the gym, and sometimes our schedules simply get filled with other priorities. 

Anyone else dread that first session back from some time off? It’s probably the biggest reason we put off our return to training. 

It will hurt. 

My lungs will burn. 

It will hurt. 

Well, I’ve got good news: most of that dread is created exclusively in a location from where it can’t do any real damage anyways. 

Your mind. 

Mental Hurdles

The only person who truly stands to benefit from time in the gym is you, which is why the biggest detractor we often face is the one staring at us in the mirror. 

We get so worked up over the negative effects of the gym that we forget to spend any time thinking about all the positive outcomes. Sure, going back to the gym is going to burn, but it should burn, right? If you’re not in their working your butt off then what’s the point? This has nothing to do with taking time off, either. It only seems like a tougher hurdle to leap because we’ve had extra time to think about the bad parts. This is also why it’s easier to stick with a routine once you’ve started - exercise is contagious, and not in a bad way. 

Rest & Recovery

Committing the time to exercise is different than committing a mindset. Often when we’re rolling on our fitness routine, we think that this is enough and we forget things like nutrition and sleep patterns. In the short term we might survive, but sooner or later your habits away from the gym will catch up to you at the gym, and your body and mind will crash. 

When people take a week or so off from lifting weights, they have a lot more time and mental energy to focus on healthy eating choices and committing to a solid eight hours of sleep. Then, when you do return, your body is well rested and you’re fuelled and ready to go. 

That doesn’t mean you need to go ballistic in your first session in over a week. No, this is a sure way to put yourself back on the shelf. Weight training as an adult who’s not trying to make a team is like constantly climbing a series of larger mountains. You always start at the bottom, but each time you start it’s easier to get back to previous altitudes. 

There’s nothing wrong with starting from scratch. It’s your scratch anyways, so who cares? No one in the gym, that’s who. Take the time necessary to get your body feeling right or almost right, and then start again. 

Getting back into an exercise routine might seem daunting, but you might be amazed at how good it actually feels once you get the blood pumping again. Get after it, because the only person holding you back right now is you. 

And it’s all downhill from here. 

Or uphill, whichever you prefer. 

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