Tag Archives: workouts

Getting Back Into Workout Routines After Time Away

I do not own this image. If you do, and would like me to remove it, please let me know.

I do not own this image. If you do, and would like me to remove it, please let me know.

It happens to everyone. You get in the groove a workout. You’re well on your way to your fitness/health goals. Maybe you start to see some results. Maybe you notice your athletic performance is getting better.

And then…

BAM!!! Something happens; you end up taking time away from your workouts/fitness routine. Many reasons can lead to this. Sometimes work or school gets crazy, and we can’t seem to find the time to stay active. Maybe we get sick and take a while to recover. Maybe we get injured, and need to step back from our fitness routine.

Say one of these previously mentioned situations apply to you. Something happened, you took time away form the gym, but you’re ready to get back into it. You’re excited to jump back into the swing of things. But, HOW do you go about it? Do you jump back into the routine you had before? Do you keep the intensity the same as before? Do you dial it back?  I discussed this  matter with Keith Gacrama, a coach in the areas of Strength and Conditioning/Health and Wellness/Olympic Weightlifting, based out of Houston, Texas.

Before we get into it, let’s make one thing clear. It is always best to check with a qualified fitness professional about specific fitness advice. These are only general ideas that may help guide the decisions we make, in a situation such as this. In addition, injury care and rehabilitation should always be done under the supervision of a qualified health professional.

I do not own this image. If you do and would like me to remove it, please let me know.

The first thing to consider when planning a return to fitness after a break, is how experienced you are at the activity you are returning to. We will use strength training, as an example. If you are an experienced weight lifter and have not taken too long of a break from lifting, you will probably be able to bounce back much quicker than a less experienced lifter would. Experienced lifters have a “possibility of being able to jump back in the groove,” says Gacrama.  Whereas, depending on the amount of time away from their routine, it may not be as easy to bounce back for less experienced lifters.  Gacrama explains, about folks with less experience in strength training, “normally I’d have to reassess them…especially if it’s been months.”

How come this is the case? Why is it more likely for experienced lifters to be able to quickly bounce back from a bit of time away from lifting, than for folks with less experience. Partly, it’s a question of neural efficiency. Neural efficiency is the idea that the brain puts less effort into movement. Meaning, the brain can be thought of as “quieter” in respect to movement. Athletes, in this case, would have a high neural efficiency. Their bodies know how to move correctly, without having to think too hard about it. With respect to returning to workouts after a bit of a break, for an experienced lifter, “if the neural efficiency is high, it’s easy” says Gacrama. For less experienced lifters, this would be less likely to be the case. Depending on the amount of time away from their workouts, one’s movement may have been negatively affected. When movement is less efficient, the probability of injury increases. This is why it may be a good idea to get a fitness assessment (or, re-assessment) to make sure that there are no mobility issues that may need to be addressed as one returns to a fitness routine.

Regardless if one has been away from their workout routine, it is always a good idea to pay attention to our bodies. Sometimes we push forward and work harder. While other times, we need to tone it down a bit. A strategy that Keith uses with his clients, is something called RPE. It stands for Rate of Perceived Exertion.  This refers to how one feels about the level of intensity during exercise. The RPE scale is usually from one to ten. One being, sitting on the couch; ten being, the level of intensity is so high one can barely breathe or talk. “I use an RPE scale with all of my clients” explains Gacrama. He uses something called “The Rule of Five.” With this rule, out of five workouts in one week, one might expect one of them to be really good, three of them to be pretty standard, and one of them to be a bit tougher to get through. This is because we are human, and we have some days that are better than others. Keeping the rule of five in mind, if even then a client has an RPE of 8 on a consistent basis, then it might be time to bring the volume of training down.

In the end, a popular rule in fitness comes about time and time again. We must learn to listen to our bodies. We learn what it feels like when it’s time to push, and what it feels like when it may be time to take our foot off the gas. This requires time and experience, along with good coaching.

For more information about Coach Keith Gacrama, check out his facebook page titled “KeithGacrama.com.” Also, check out his website, http://www.keithgacrama.com.

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It’s easy for him/her to stay in shape because they have a fast metabolism

 

You hear this type of excuse often. In fact, you wouldn’t have to talk to too many people before hearing someone give that excuse. They will say that everything is easier for everyone else, compared to them.

 

“She is skinny because she must have a high metabolism.”

“Look at what you can eat and it doesn’t affect you like it affects me.”

“It’s easy for him to work out because he works out all the time.”

“I don’t have a six pack because I’m big boned.”

 

Borrowed this from google images. If you want it back, let me know.

 

Be honest with yourself. Have you ever thought it must be easier for someone else because they seemed to be successful at the goals they have set and worked very hard to reach? The answer is probably, yes. It’s natural for us to make excuses or to justify why someone seems to have reached a goal we have trouble even beginning to strive for. It’s okay to have human feelings, cause’, duh, we’re human.

 

 

HOWEVER!!!!

 

 

HOWEVER, my good reader. It is NOT too much to ask to be aware of the feelings and thoughts that we have, and to stop ourselves once it becomes more than a natural reaction and becomes a straight up excuse that we allow to continue.

 

Allow me to elaborate.

 

Thoughts on:

 

That person who we may figure is just in good shape because they have good genes or they have a high metabolism.

  1.  Yes, genes can play a big role in physical performance and how our bodies look. But, guess what? You have no idea what your potential is until you actually make serious adjustments for a consistent period of time. Even if you made changes and still didn’t see much different, that’s not the end of the world either. You just make tweaks to your routine to find out what works best for your body. What works for one, may not work for another.
  2.  You’re right, maybe that person you are trying to bring down in your head does have a high metabolism. Guess what? That’s because they actually get up off the couch and run and jump and dance and lift and climb and walk and who knows what else. Yes, their metabolism is high because they MAKE it that way! It didn’t just happen! They eat a certain way along with staying active that makes this situation true.

 

The idea that it’s easier for that girl or guy to workout, in comparison for us. They are in good shape, so it must come easy to them.

 

  1. Wrong again, my friend. The reason why this person got in the good shape that they are in, is because they continually adjusted their routine to get tougher as what they did before got easier. You don’t make gains in your fitness routine by doing the same thing forever. That person who you may think this comes easy to; continually makes changes that make their workout just as tough or tougher than before! They are continually challenging themselves! It is not easier now than it was before. There will always be a challenge, because that’s how it should be. Yes, if you are an experienced worker-outer (I believe that is a scientific term) then it would be easier to get through a beginner’s routine. But, that’s an irrelevant point. You should be following a routine that is appropriate for your specific level.  Whether it be a beginner’s routine because you just made the commitment to live a more fit life, or you are a high level athlete still tweaking the routine to allow for physical growth. Workouts should never be easy. They should always be challenging.
  2. Once you make workouts a routine part of your life, yes, it is easier to stick to than when you are starting out. However, it took work to get to that point of consistency.

 

Recap.

 

When you catch yourself making excuses, realize why you are doing so. Stop. Begin to bring the focus back on yourself and figure out how in the world you are going to make yourself the one that everyone makes excuses about.

 

Take accountability. It’s up to you. It’s your life. No one will be a bigger advocate for you, than you.

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