Life happens. It rarely unfolds the way we thought it would. Sometimes things get way off track. Fitness can easily be one of those things. If that’s what happened to you for whatever reason, that’s ok. Just be honest about it and accept the fact that you’re not where you want to be. From there you can move on and start heading in the right direction. Let go of the guilt and apologies, they won’t help you. Leave the excuses in the past. This is about the new you.
If you’re coming back to fitness after a long absence, first get yourself checked out by your doctor. It’s best to make sure that they’re are no hidden issues or problems to worry about.
Once you’re cleared, establish some goals for yourself but be modest and realistic. No matter where you once were you are basically starting over now. That’s perfectly fine, the important thing is that you’re starting.
As you start your comeback, don’t try to do everything at once. Working out just three times a week is plenty to begin with. The body will only change so fast. Developing consistency right now is what’s important.
Approach your planned fitness activities as you would important appointments. Just like going to work or class, make a commitment and stick with it. Schedule yourself to go the same days and times each week. You want to give yourself structure and develop fitness as a habit. In time, you’ll be able to have more flexibility and still make it work, but for now be rigid and unwavering. Don’t let anyone or anything take you away from your “me time.” You’ve been away long enough, now it’s about you!
Try to find a fitness activity that you think you will enjoy. Sure, it can be joining your local gym. But if you’ve always hated gyms, that could be a reason things didn’t work out before. Ideally you want to enjoy what you’re doing as well as make progress. Check out some local health clubs and see what they have to offer. If it’s been awhile, you might be pleasantly surprised. But also look to do something that you know you’ll enjoy whether it’s hiking, working on your jump shot, pounding the heavy bag, swimming, or simply working out at home. The good news about your long layoff is that it won’t take much for your body to be challenged enough to start improving.
While having enthusiasm is great, don’t push yourself excessively at the start. You don’t want to get overly sore or even injured. Think in terms of taking small consistent steps that will add up over time. Fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. Faster is not always better. The goal is to start and never stop, not to burn out quickly.
Even if you’re the type that likes to figure things out on you own, get help if you need it. Hire a trainer or go to workout with a knowledgeable friend who can teach and encourage you so that your workouts are safe and effective. Find a source of quality information that you can trust and from which you can learn. Actively nourish and reinforce your decision to become fit by reading and watching inspiring fitness-based material.
Finally, be excited! This is a huge step you are taking in terms of investing in yourself. By following a fitness lifestyle, you will be adding quality years to your life with more energy, better health, reduced stress, improved appearance and by having a more positive outlook on life. Everyone that you care about will benefit from your fitness journey. You will be helping and inspiring others as you work on bettering yourself. Have fun and enjoy your journey!
Photo: Terry Goodlad