Getting back into fitness after a break

By Alex Longworth

Let’s face it, 2020 has just kept on giving in terms of turning our worlds upside down! For many, the global pandemic has forced us to change so many aspects of our lives – we have been working from home or studying remotely, keeping to ourselves in line with social distancing rules and even now that our gyms are finally back opened they are more difficult to access.

Losing fitness and gaining weight during the COVID-19 lockdown is an established phenomenon all over the world – more than half of Aussies have reported putting on 2 or more kilograms during lock down and there are memes galore on the web about the ‘Quarantine 15’ or the ‘COVID 20’ – referring to the 15-20 pounds the average person has gained over recent months.

Sure, there are lots of good reasons why it has been hard to maintain our fitness during lock down but now we are coming out the other side and restrictions have eased, you may be ready to get some healthy new fitness routines established.

To help you on your way, here are a few tips from me that should ease the transition back to fitness and maximise your chances of sticking with your new fitness regime:

  1. Start somewhere – yep, as simple as it sounds, just getting moving is the first step – be that walking or running around the block, doing some push ups and sit ups in your lounge room – anything that gets the ball rolling.
  2. Build up slowly – don’t try and pick up where you left off as this is a perfect recipe for injury or quitting if it all feels too hard.  Use this re-start as an opportunity to try something new and expand your exercise horizons!
  3. Remember it takes at least 21 days to establish a new routine – the key here is to take small but consistent action every single day to gradually build up and embed lifestyle changes.
  4. Don’t try and change everything at once – think holistically and look at all aspects of your health including your diet, your exercise regime, your sleep patterns and your mental health but again the key to getting new habits to stick is to make modest and sustainable changes -don’t overhaul everything at once or you will struggle to stick with it.
  5. Listen to your body – if you are feeling a niggle, ease off on the intensity, avoid any exercises that seem to make it worse and seek professional advice if it doesn’t settle within a week or so.
  6. Mix up your exercise – by incorporating different types of exercise in your program, you can train more regularly with less chance of injury. If you have always been into weight training, add in some circuit or high intensity interval training (HIIT), Yoga or Pilates to mix things up. If you have always trained by yourself, find a friend or a training group to exercise with – make it interesting and challenge yourself in different ways.
  7. Stay in the moment and don’t look backwards – don’t compare your current fitness to what you were like before; focus instead on setting yourself short term goals – things to aim for today or this week.

In summary, if you are someone who has fallen off the wagon a bit (or a lot) in recent months in terms of your exercise and fitness habits, now is the time to get back into things.  If you start slowly and build up gradually, incorporate different forms of exercise into your week, set realistic short
term goals and listen to your body along the way, you will see results.

Come down and join us at TRL FIT for a fun, friendly workout that will get your heart rate up, build lean muscle and help you achieve your health and fitness goals!

Alex Longworth

Physiotherapist, Program Director and Co-Founder, TRL FIT