Get Back Into Shape After a Break With These 4 Rules

Despite your best intentions, sometimes you need to take a long break from your fitness routine. Whether it’s the stresses of life, an injury, or an illness that forces you to take a break, this happens to even the most dedicated fitness enthusiast. But after a period away from sports, the last thing you should do is go straight back to your previous routine. Why? Because after a period of inactivity, muscles lose strength, power, and size, and cardiac endurance decreases rapidly. So, we’ve come up with four important rules for getting back in shape after a break.

Jumping back too quickly can lead to injury, fatigue, and fatigue—and will force you to rest again, which will delay your return to your previous level. However, follow these simple rules to help you make a successful comeback so you can feel your best.

fitness woman writing her exercise goals

After a long rest, control your hopes: It will not return in the night. (Sorry.) A general rule is to take at least half the rest time to return to the same form.

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There are factors that can slow you back down—like your training history and previous fitness level—but don’t push yourself toward unattainable goals or feel discouraged if progress is slower than you’d like. Be patient, and you will come.

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women do dumbbell curls to lose weight in a week

Exercise “volume” refers to the amount of exercise you do—ie sets and reps, minutes of cardio, number of workouts per week, etc. Doing too much will cause problems. While muscles can regain strength and size more quickly, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments take longer to return to their previous levels – put simply.

When you come back, start with a very low volume. For example, if you used to train five times a week before taking a break, start with just two times a week. From there, you can gradually increase your workload. Every few weeks, plan to add another weekly training session. Then, every week, do an additional set or a few reps to get your body strong and flexible.

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people run vigorously in the winter, showing the exercise people should not do for weight loss

Whether you’re returning to strength training, walking, or swimming, it’s important to use proper technique. Why? Because after a long rest, the body needs to get used to the movement; without solid form, you increase your risk of injury, aches, and pains.

Always use proper technique when you exercise. Record yourself doing exercises, consider hiring a trainer, and follow perfect form from the moment you warm up to the finish.

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muscular man in the gym lifting a barbell

When trying to get back into shape after a break, it is important to increase the amount of weight you use a little at a time. Let’s say you squat 200 pounds before taking a long break. When you return, you can start with only 100 pounds, but do not try to increase the weight by 20 pounds per week-too fast and you will get tired quickly. However, gradually increase the weight with only five kilograms per week. It seems slow, but that’s the point! It is important to give your body plenty of time to adjust and adapt.

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With cardio, you can increase the duration by five minutes per week. Again, think long-term: Small increases add up quickly. And if you’re back in shape, we promise you’ll be glad you took it slow and steady.

Anthony J Yeung

Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, is a fitness expert featured in Esquire, GQ, and Men’s Health and the founder of GroomBuilder, a destination for men looking to transform their bodies for their weddings. Join our free 5-day course to burn fat and build muscle for the big day! Read more about Anthony


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