There will be times when you have no choice but to take time away from your workout routine. Whether it’s because work demands are increasing, an injury or a holiday, time away from the gym can actually be beneficial. However you need to know how to get back into your workout routine once you are ready.
Benefits Of Having Time Off
First of all, it is important to discuss the benefits of having time off from gym. Many men think that if they have a break and don’t get straight back into their workout routine, they will end up fat and unfit. It can almost become an addiction.
One of the main benefits of having time off from the gym is that your body will have a chance to fully recover. Although you will include rest days in-between workouts, you still may not recover in that time. Having longer periods of time off will allow your body to fully regenerate. You may even feel stronger when you go back to gym.
Also, going to the gym every other day, doing the same workout routines for months on end can lower your motivation levels. Taking 2-3 weeks off will get you more motivated when you return.
Another advantage of taking a break from gym is that you reduce your chances of developing training addiction. Overtraining can lead to serious injuries and if you’re not taking the correct steps to prevent it, you may injure yourself. See my post How To Avoid Overtraining And Improve Your Workouts and How To Avoid Training Addiction.
You should aim to take a break from gym once in a while. At the very least you should have one full week of rest after every six months of training.
Getting Back Into Your Workout Routine
Now that I have discussed the benefits of taking time off from gym, I am now going to teach you steps you need to take when getting back into your workout routine.
Stretch Your Muscles
If you don’t stretch before and after workouts, you will suffer a great deal of muscle soreness. You need to allow some time to stretch. The best time to stretch is when your muscles are still warm because they are most supple at this point. Stretch after your warm up and before you start lifting weights. Also stretch your muscles after you have finished your workout routine.
Reduce Your Weights
In your first week of getting back to the gym, you should reduce the intensity by about half to three-quarters. Therefore if you were dead lifting 80kg before you had time off, you should now aim to lift 40 to 60kg. This is only for the first week, so don’t feel like you are taking a step backwards.
The main reason to lower your weights is to reduce the chances of you suffering muscle soreness after just one day, preventing you from continuing and completing a full week of training.
When your body isn’t used to certain movements, neuromuscular adaptations occur that will increase muscle soreness the next day. You may struggle to get out of bed.
Once you have completed a week of low intense workouts, increase your intensity back to normal level.
When you get back into your workout routine you need to pay attention to your nutritional intake. If you have decreased the amount of calorie intake whilst not exercising to make up for the decrease in calories burned to prevent weight gain, then you need to add them back to your diet. This will stop you suffering from tiredness during your workouts.
If you have taken a step back from your cardio training and you are trying to get back into it, expect more of a setback compared to weight training. This is because we tend to lose our cardiovascular fitness faster than we lose muscular strength. However after a few training sessions your cardiovascular fitness should come back.
Slower the pace when interval training. Instead of going from 4mph (walking pace) to 10mph (sprinting pace) for example, go from 4mph to 8mph. Gradually build this up over time until you are at the same intensity level.
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Back To The Gym
If you have been away from the gym for a while then you should consider these tips. If you have only been away for a week or two you may find it relatively easy getting back into your normal workout routine. However, if you have been away for a longer period such as a month or more, you will need to be more patient as your body needs to adjust to the demands of exercise once again.
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