Former competitive kick boxer, Andrew Raines, explains how to safely ease your way back into a workout routine after taking a hiatus.
Whether you’re a weekend warrior or training hard to crush a personal goal in your next race, everyone goes through periods of reduced training intensity and duration. Often a result of overtraining, we sometimes lose motivation or need to reduce our time in the gym or on the field as a result of injury. Reduced training can often be an effective part of a training protocol as we can benefit from a taper the week before a race, or enjoy a well-earned off-season before the beginning of our next sport campaign. Regardless of whether we’re about to increase our training to prepare for a new season or return to the gym after a long rest, it is important to pay attention to how our body is reacting and make sure we are re-entering our training program in a safe and healthy way.
Restart…at a different starting place
When we return to the gym after a layoff, we’re motivated with memories of how we used to train and how much weight we were able to lift. If we’re re-entering our favorite sport or starting pre-season training, we often expect to have the same skill, reactions, and speed that we finished the season with. We can get in over our heads by pushing our bodies too hard and too fast, often resulting in excessive muscle soreness and inflammation, or worse yet, a pulled muscle or more severe injury.
Re-start your routine safely
If you are determined to get back into the gym or workout routine and are ready to sweat it out by completing a favorite exercise routine from your past, it’s necessary to first recall when you last performed these exercises. If we are talking months, years, (or you can’t even remember), it’s important to reduce the pace and distance, or weight, amount of reps and sets, you plan to complete. To make sure you’re steadily progressing in a safe and effective manner, it will be important to check your ego at the door! With some consistency and hard work, you’ll likely be back to peak fitness levels before you know it.
Before starting a brand new routine
If you’re picking up a new sport or starting pre-season training, it will be important to start slowly and keep your expectations realistic. Muscle memory is an amazing thing and while you might surprise yourself at how quickly you learn or re-learn important skills, the rest of your body might not be ready for this new type of training. This can lead to injury and too much time on the sidelines, resulting in frustration and a loss of motivation. A little cross-training goes a long way, especially a strong focus on core strength which can help your body transition to a new physical challenge. Make sure you give yourself adequate time for a full body warm-up, focusing on dynamic stretches that prepare your muscles for use better than static stretching. After your training session is complete, incorporate a light cool down, static stretching and a post-workout shake that incorporates both carbohydrates and protein. If you’re feeling like your body is suffering from extra inflammation, incorporating turmeric and ginger into your diet, making time for a little foam rolling and even some magnesium before bed might help you feel more prepared for your next training session. Keep in mind your body repairs itself during sleep. Ensuring you are getting 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep at this point is extremely important to make sure you are rested, recovered and motivated to keep improving.
This article originally appeared at MyVega.com
Photo credit: Flickr/AndyWagstaffe