10 tips to help face the first day back (again!)...and keep you going back!
Whether you’ve slacked off over the cool winter mornings, or are preparing to face the long, slow, walk of shame back to the gym, hitting that ‘first workout in a long time’ can often be the toughest one to show up for.
There can be many reasons we choose to take a sweat-fest sabbatical. And that’s all cool…no judgement here! Personally, I’ve done the ‘first session back’ more times than a groundhog can show his face in a day and my glutes care to remember. Each time I come back to ‘getting fit again’ I find myself hitting similar fears and also notice how old patterns (aka excuses) come dressed up in more fancy gear.
So as I sit getting ready to face yet another first, I thought I’d share 10 tips that have helped me face the self-judgement demons with my middle finger held high…in no particular order.
- You are not alone – there’s always at least one other person joining you on the first-day-back red carpet…and misery loves company! Seek solace and safety in the collective dread. Know you’re fully supported by those who are only a “oh God, my legs are so sore” workout or two ahead. And burpee-on boldly knowing you are anonymously revered by hundreds of others who are still sitting on the couch contemplating it.
- Start today – Don’t wait until Monday (unless today is Monday!) What’s the one thing you can do right now that will get you closer to your first day back? Dusting off your runners? Digging your workout clothing out of the dark depths of your closet? Research what’s available in your area, charge your Mp3 player and make a date with yourself! How do you feel now you’ve taken that first step?
- Now Celebrate! - And keep on celebrating the small stuff. You’re reading this post…high five! Have googled “will I puke on my first day back”…legend! Have updated your Spotify workout list…rocking it! Celebrate every small step towards making your first day back a distant (albeit painful) memory.
- Lament no more over fitness days of yore! – Start where you’re at and make peace with it. There can be many reasons why we take time out from exercise and why we reach the point of wanting to return. This is where you get to wholly appreciate the miracle of muscle memory. It really does remember all the pain you put it through last time and it will get you through it a whole lot quicker this time!
- You gotta love what you’ve got before you can get what you love – This is a biggy and it can go way deeper than just wanting to fit into your skinny jeans by next week. If you cannot appreciate what you’ve got now, it’s highly unlikely to change when you’re 10 kilos down and playing with 5k’s. True story. Getting into the mindset of working out because you LOVE your body will help slam fitness goals way quicker than hating it….and more importantly will keep you from throwing in the towel again.
- Make friends with your mind mafia - Beautifully designed to keep you safe and alive (and convince you your PT is a deranged, sadistic control freak to be avoided at all costs) the monkey mind will want to give up way before your body does. Embraced and tamed, the itty-bitty-shitty-committee residing in your pre-frontal cortex can make for or the most kick-ass training partner you could ever have on our side. Left to run riot and you’ll be back to square one. Choose your live-in workout buddy wisely & believe in your body…s/he can do way more than your monkey mind will ever give credit for!
- “Working out is a gift to my future self” - Use this lifesaver mantra when your current self is cursing burpees (agreed, they are the work of the devil) and realizing why the ‘beep’ test is so appropriately named. Movement is medicine for mind body and soul and you’ll be so thankful you took heed now when hit the mid-life-hump-slump.
- Set the intention, let go of the expectation - While goals are a great thing to have, life has a funny way of being on a whole other schedule to anything your brilliant brain can rep out on. So, while placing your 6-month order is a good starting point (and for your own sanity…keep it realistic!) just don’t get too put off if delivery on that gets stuck in holiday mode. Our bodies are exquisite and unique pieces of equipment…learn to listen, trust and adjust course weekly to keep on track. You’ll get there when your body’s good and ready to take you.
- Learn to stay in your own lane – -Ego loves a good comparisonitis body slam. The most destructive and sure fire way of NEVER achieving the body of your dreams (which in reality you actually already inhabit!) is to wish you had someone else’s. Your body really does take these things to heart! And just in case you stuck like a rabbit in the “oh God, what are thinking about me?” headlights…everyone is too worried about what everyone else thinks of them (or on their phone) to have any interest in you. Promise.
- Find your tribe - and your vibe. Don’t jig with the grunting gym-rat gig? Want to boot-kick the Bootcamp bunny? Runners bore the core out of you? That’s ok…there’s plenty of options out there. Keep searching and you’ll find your groove with those that will help you move!
- (Because let’s face it, we can always push out another rep) Enjoy it! – if it aint fun, it ain’t getting done!
Are you returning to exercise after a long time out? Or have you just returned after a break from fitness? Good for you!! Have any good tips to get us start over? Share them with us in the comments below!