That’s why getting back on the horse is one of the most powerful mindful fitness practices you can do.
Question: What do you do to come back from a break?
Look Mom I’m a Sloth – Making an Exercise Come Back
I have a secret to share, but it shames me so. I feel like I should be walking around with a big S sewn to all my clothing. The reason for my shame is that lately I’ve been slacking on working out.
It all started right after I ran my marathon back in October of 2013. I had a nagging knee injury and the idea was that I should take some time off and focus on healing. At the time that seemed like a good idea and it was.
But I know from experience that every time to wind down winding back up can be quite tricky. And that’s what happened to me. At first, I was very diligent about doing my physical therapy. Then I started doing a weekly kettle bell routine to stay active.
But once Christmas rolled around my activity started to dip even more. And by the time I came back to Portland, I was in full on sloth mode. I was lounging, I was lazing, and I was avoiding opportunities to go on runs.
I felt like such a hypocrite, but I didn’t know what to do. Partially it was because of being busy and partially it was because I didn’t want to deal with the fact that coming back was going to be hard.
But finally I decided I better come up with a plan and here’s what I came up with:
Step 1: Come clean on my blog (check)
Step 2: Reflect on my experience of coming back from long break
Step 3: Commit to doing something new publicly.
So now that I’ve gotten step 1 out of the way I thought I would share my step two with all of you. What follows are the things I have used in the past to come back from long breaks.
How to Make an Exercise Comeback
Accept the Suck –
I know the first time I workout after a long break, I am going to suck.
Despite the awareness that I’ve been slacking off, some part of my mind expects me to be able to run as fast and lift as much as I used to. Unfortunately, I know that’s not how it works.
I can remember my first long bike ride last spring. Despite the fact that I had spent much of 2011 training for triathlons, I soon discovered I could barely ride at 16 mph without panting. It was humbling to say the least.
After a few frustrating rides I had to accept I had changed. Our bodies adapt quickly to a change in routine, which can make the transition back to regular activity difficult.
But I found if I let go of the way things were. And embraced where I was actually quite pleased with my pace. By embracing my relative suck, I was able to move past it.
Appreciate the Virtue –
I’ve found that after the first workout or two I remember why I do this. I love the way my body feels when it’s tired. And I love how clear my mind becomes when I put my whole self into something.
Whenever I go to yoga after a long hiatus, I close my eyes and thank myself for showing up. Giving yourself gratitude is a nice but simple way to appreciate your willingness to put your whole self into your workout. It also helps you get up when the stay in bed Sirens begin to call.
Try Something New
When you are in the flow of training or the middle of a class, it can be hard to switch gears. That’s why coming back from a break is a great time to try something different.
For a few years, I’ve wanted to take boxing but have never made the commitment. So when I thought about coming back from this break I realized that this would be a great chance to try it again.
Check out your local gym or even sites like Yelp and see what you have in your area. Make sure to read the reviews and the contract terms carefully.
In general, I avoid places with long contracts and airtight clauses. And always ask for an introductory period, many places will be willing to offer one if you are nice about it.
Do Something Old
It’s easy to get caught up in the latest diet or exercise fad and forget why you started exercising in the first place. Coming back from a break is a great time to reconnect to your athletic roots.
Another reason I considered joining a boxing gym is they also offer wrestling classes. I wrestled a lot in high school and I like the idea of taking a class in my old passion.
If you can’t find any classes for your sports roots, consider checking out a local pick up league or even volunteering at a local school. These can be a nice way to reconnect to your past and give back to the community.
Sign Up For a Race
In the past, whenever I’ve needed to regain focus I’ve paid for a race. Races give me a deadline and a specific goal to shoot for. Plus, I hate to waste money on entrance fees or even worse show up and be publicly embarrassed by my clear lack of preparation.
If you’ve never signed up for a race before, I would suggest starting with something small. Even training for a 5k or 10k run or a community cycling event will help you stay on track and maintain your focus. Just remember that doing a race means also committing to some sort of training plan.
But I Get Up Again
The more times you come back from a break and keep going the easier it gets. Many of us have a fear that each slip will be our downfall. But each time we return from a break, we are actually proving that we can be trusted.