We’ve all had time off from training. Whether it’s an injury, new baby, overseas holiday, burn out or just a break from training.
There is nothing wrong with taking a break it’s ok.
Following are 5 principles that you can focus your training around on your return to the gym.
Singular Training Focus
When returning to class, have once focus for that workout. Your goal might be more strength focused for one day. So typically, you will have your strength component for the class, which is great. Then for the workout, again you’re going to focus on the strength part of the WOD (workout of the day), rather than going all out in intensity. Slow it down and have that singular focus on the strength.
The same can be done for conditioning. In the strength component, you stay at a lighter weight, increase your reps. For the workout you choose a weight where you can stay consistent and move through the WOD with minimal rest. This approach will also minimise and injuries after your hiatus.
You Must Warm Up
A lot of us have desk jobs, where we sit a lot. You might have a sore, stiff, lower back from a labour-intensive job. No matter what your profession / past time, your warm-up is non-negotiable. It’s beneficial to be properly warmed-up, especially if you haven’t been doing a lot of physical work recently. Avoid injuries, get your joints and muscles warm and happy. Be at peace with this and enjoy the process.
Movement / Volume / Rep Selection
Think about doing…
- More full body movements
- Less dynamic or explosive exercises
- Focus on your core
- Time under tension (tempo work)
- Higher reps
- Isometric holds (superman, hollow body holds, strict pull-up holds, handstands)
By following these suggestions, it allows you to train the same muscle groups multiple times a week, without overloading them. Over time, you increase volume and load. By easing back into your training this way, you keep all your ligaments and tendons happy. Ligaments and tendons take longer to recondition than muscle fibres. Be patient. Be smart with your choices.
Choose Aerobic Over Anaerobic or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
You might get more of a buzz completing a HITT workout, but it’s more beneficial to prioritise your aerobic capacity. For your first few weeks back at training, it’s going to be much better to focus on conditioning and consistency, rather than going all out on a HIIT workout and potentially overloading your CNS (central nervous system), then needing more days to recover, which is working against your goal of getting back into training.
Don’t Train At 100%
This is a challenging ask. It’s leaving your ego at the door, it’s being ok with not coming first, it’s understanding that quality is better than quantity. Work at about 70-75% effort in your first week, then 80-85% for the second week. This allows your body to adjust. You might feel great and want to max out a lift, but its not worth it, be patient and give your body a few weeks to transition back into 100% training.
It’s the gradual increase of relative effort which is what matters. This makes it manageable, fun, allows you to stay injury free and remain consistent.
These guidelines can be applied for any amount of time taken off. The longer your break, the longer you allow yourself to get back to 100%
Don’t try to rush the process, this rarely ends well and sets you back.
Do it right, be kind to yourself, be patient and enjoy the journey. This should be a fun return to fitness.
Best of luck and always ask your coaches if you’re unsure about anything.
That’s what we are here for 🙂