Finding motivation to work out is hard enough. Finding it after a long hiatus from exercising is sometimes impossible.
I recently completed a big time move from Greensboro, North Carolina to Berkeley, California. Getting the opportunity to drive across the country and see so many different places and people was a great experience, but I’ve got a secret to tell you all…
I didn’t work out during the entire trip!
Some might argue that as a fitness professional I should have done a better job. Maybe this should actually be an article about finding ways to work out while on the road.
Well, it’s not, so let’s move on.
I knew that once I arrived in Berkeley it would be difficult to get back into a routine and find the motivation to stay consistent in my new environment. This isn’t my first move though, and I’ve compiled a few tips to regain that motivation and to get back on track.
These tips apply for any situation in which you need to refind your motivation. So whether you had time off from a move or vacation, got sick or injured and weren’t able to exercise for a while, or you just fell off the wagon and stopped your routine dead in its tracks, you can still follow all of this advice to get you going again.
Have a Plan
This is always a thing. But it’s especially important when you’re trying to find the motivation to get back into working out.
After some time off, don’t just say, “Welp, I better start exercising again.” Have a plan to know exactly what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it.
Before I arrived in Berkeley, I had already researched the gyms and fitness facilities in the area so I could expedite the process of getting a membership and starting as soon as possible. I had a workout program set in place so I knew the exact workouts I’d be doing from day one.
And most importantly, I had a goal…
Revisit Your Goals
This is a piece of advice that I’ve written about many times before. Having a goal is a crucial part to any exercise plan. It’s importance is magnified even further when you’re trying to get back into things and looking for that lost motivation.
If you had a goal before your time off from working out, look back at it and make sure that it is still in line with what you want to achieve.
Is it possible that the goal itself was one of the reasons you stopped working out? Yep. So consider adjusting it to make it more manageable, realistic, or fitting to your schedule.
Know your goals? Good. Now it’s time to find out where you’re starting from.
Understand Your Baseline
When getting back into your exercise program, you’ve got to make sure you know what your baseline is.
If you’ve taken any more than 7-10 days off, chances are you’re not at the same level you were at when you stopped. It’s likely you’ve lost strength, endurance, power, etc.
The reality is that you’re going to have to spend a little time building yourself back up from that new baseline. It’s not fun, but the sooner you accept that you’re a little behind where you were before, the smoother your transition will be to getting you back to where you belong.
The last thing you want is to start out too intense and give yourself a serious mental blow by realizing you can’t do what you used to. Which brings us to our next tip.
“Is it possible that the goal itself was one of the reasons you stopped working out? Yep. So consider adjusting it to make it more manageable, realistic, or fitting to your schedule.”
Start Slow, Improve Always
Once you figure out where you are (your baseline) and you know where you want to be (your goals), you can then put the pieces in motion to get there.
Aim for slow and steady progress. Add a little bit to your workouts each time. I’ve written other articles on exactly how to do this, so I won’t go into too much detail, but make sure you’re improving each day even if only by one rep or one second. Over time this will add up and get you back on track.
No matter how much time you’ve taken off or motivation you’ve lost, it will take some effort to get you back up to speed. But doing it slowly and CONSISTENTLY is the absolute best way to get there.
This type of progress is not only the safest and most efficient way to get your groove back, it’s also provides the absolute best source of motivation: results.
Seeing yourself making progress – no matter how small – is a tremendous motivator to keep you going. By recognizing what your baseline is and starting there, you can continually make progress in each workout, it will feel good, and you’ll want to keep going. Simple!
As always folks, it’s easy for me to sit here and type out some advice that you probably know you should follow. The hard part is on YOU to act.
Don’t just sit around hoping your motivation will come to you. Make the choices that CREATE motivation within your environment.
And hello from the Bay Area!
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