Let’s face it – the less you move, the less you want to move. Getting back into exercise after you haven’t done it for a while is HARD! Whether your break was due to injury, pregnancy and childbirth, or just life getting in the way – making a comeback can make you wonder if all the effort is really worth it.
As fitness professionals, it’s our job to make you feel like it is, BUT first I think it’s worth acknowledging exactly how hard it can feel when all the fitness you previously worked for has suddenly disappeared and the road to get it back feels long.
Having moved through numerous times like this both personally (two little people, a fractured ankle and various other inconvenient setbacks) and side by side with clients, I’m with you. I feel you!
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can re-introduce exercise without it feeling all too overwhelming…
1. Stop judging yourself
Whatever happened, happened. You are no more or less of a person for it. Life took control and you have found yourself where you are today. No amount of self-judgment and unkind words said to your body will help you move forward on this journey. Make a promise to yourself that you will stop – right now – laying judgment over the top of an already hard situation. You are now free!
2. Lose the ‘all or nothing’ attitude
Long-term health and fitness is not found in the extreme fitness routines and crazy diets. It also doesn’t all end on Tuesday if you eat a chocolate bar. Life will have its ups and downs and the sooner you learn to embrace that you’ll be pulled in different directions, the better. I promise that the healthiest people in the world understand the need to flow with life and get most movement done and eat mostly healthy food on most days – manageable consistency is key.
3. Ease yourself back to the gym
Or your favourite form of exercise. When you take time off, it’s super easy to get all enthusiastic and go too hard, too soon. Which may either result in injury or exhaustion – neither of which enable the consistency of your returned exercise routine. Allow yourself space and time to re-build.
4. Build foundations
And do the ‘boring’ stuff. I talk about this to my pregnant and postnatal clients all the time. When you’ve been pregnant and given birth, it’s important you take time to rebuild from the inside out. In my opinion, understanding your pelvic floor and transversus abdominis muscles are important for our entire population – even the boys! So many people sit at desks all day, then hit the gym and complain of backache or injury. I believe much of this could be relieved if we all learned how to ‘activate from the inside out’. Consult a women’s health or pelvic floor Physiotherapist for help with this.
5. Learn basic movement patterns done well
Before you add in the fancy stuff. I know the kettle bells and battle ropes look like fun but seriously, if you can’t squat, push (up) or pull (row) well then leave this gear alone for a while. Build on your foundations with basic movement patterns performed with great technique that will build strength and allow you to do all of those exciting looking exercises in the gym without jumping in too fast too soon and risking injury… I promise you’ll thank me when you find yourself sprawled doing burpees on the floor or slamming a med ball…
Jen Dugard’s Body Beyond Baby is the go-to place online for women to find mum-focused fitness services that are all accredited, experienced and partnered with women’s health physios so you know you are in very safe hands.