September 7, 2018

fitness

Getting back to business after summer - 5 tips to help ease you back into the gym

THE SUMMER FEELS like it’s well and truly behind us now, and as we enter into Autumn it is a natural juncture to settle back into a more structured routine.

Taking a break or a rest from your normal exercise routine over the summer months is normal, and I’m a big believer in having that balance when it comes to health, mindset and fitness.

But now September is here, the schools and colleges are back, and that glorious heatwave we enjoyed is a distant memory, it is time for many of us to refocus and reignite that fire for hitting new goals.

Getting back into a routine, and finding that motivation, after time abroad or holidays can be hard but once the initial stages are managed and you get over that hurdle, you’ll be able to pick up where you left off pretty quickly.

Here are some tips to help you get back on the horse.

Ease back into it

Perhaps your exercise routine over the summer months wasn’t the same as it was back in February.

First of all, it’s great that your going back into your routine, however my first tip is to avoid diving back into the deep-end which always leads to overdoing the first few workouts.

Simple things like just getting moving again by doing basic mobility work or light aerobic work is what I suggest here — you shouldn’t be aiming to run 10 miles having done little training over the summer, or squat heavy having not done so for a while.

Measure your first session back

Make no mistake about it, it can be tough to get going again.

As of right now, we might have enjoyed our summer that bit too much but that’s perfectly normal, so don’t beat yourself up over it.

My best advice here is to take small steps and give yourself an honest 4-6 weeks of getting back into things, following the plan and just gradually moving forward in the direction you want to take.

Measure your first session back and that will allow you to reassess at the end of the six weeks, providing you with guidance of how much progress you’ve made and where you need to improve.

Reassessing your progress every 4-6 weeks is something I like to do with my clients anyway.

This could be a before and after photo, a bodyfat measurement or even a bench mark workout.

I guarantee if you do look back on those six weeks you will have lots of wins in there which in turn will help you to ignite that fire again and get you back on track to hit your goals.

Set a goal

A great way of getting focused again is setting yourself a goal somewhere down the line.

Finishing 2018 with a target in sight is something that can only keep you focused and on track as we head towards the silly season (don’t mention the C word!).

I am a big believer in writing down your goals for the week ahead and I like to use daily reminders to keep me on track in getting after those targets.

I have talked about using a journal and logging your daily progress or even having a visualisation board to put all your goals on show for the year as another useful way of helping you out.

Log your weekly goals and every day write down what went right and what could have gone better. Remember the goal here should be to get 1% better each day — you don’t need to be perfect every single day.

Give yourself something to look forward to

This is important. Over the next 6-12 weeks, set yourself some goals but also have something at the end of it that you can look forward to.

I am big believer that this will keep you focused on the days you’re not truly feeling it yet still need to show up and do the work.

Remember consistency is the best way forward for any goal worth talking about and even just showing up and doing a bit is far better than doing nothing.

If you are going to work hard on those new goals and are looking to end 2018 fit, strong and healthy, then eventually rewarding yourself every now and then along the way is important.

Smashing a new goal, hitting a milestone or simply achieving something you thought was previously impossible all deserves recognition and there are so many ways you can reward yourself, such as new training gear, a break away or even a night out at the end of the week.

If you have worked for it, earned it and made it happen, then you deserve to treat yourself to something you want.

Top up your vitamins

In previous articles I have highlighted certain vitamins, minerals and supplements that can be of huge benefit to your overall health.

As we head towards the winter season, days are getting shorter and darker so it can be quite useful to supplement with some Vitamin D.

As much as we don’t want to believe it, the cold season is on the way and this is when we should be topping up our Vitamin C intake.

I hope these tips have helped you out and perhaps ignited that fire to get you back on track.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.