Are You Getting Back Into Training?
Whether you’ve been on holiday, suffered an injury, or have taken time off from your usual training regimen, getting back into the swing of things can be tough.
For those who have simply taken a little time off, the struggle may not be as tough, with perhaps just a slight step back to lower weights or reps to rebuild your foundations. But for those who haven’t found their feet with an exercise routine that suits them, the prospect of getting back into it after the likes of the Christmas holidays can be daunting before even setting foot in the gym.
If you’re relatively new or haven’t missed the gym, the ‘Why should I?’ is easy enough to answer. For anyone off to a slow start this year, getting into a new fitness routine is exactly what you need. If you’ve let things slip a bit, not feeling your strongest, could do with toning up a bit or losing some weight, exercise is the answer. Furthermore, you will not only be doing justice to your physical health but also mental health by helping to balance your stress levels, while staying active through the darker, colder months.
At the risk of sounding on the fence, both jumping in at the deep end and taking baby steps may be a good start. This is a matter of your determination, experience and recovery rate. These are things known only to you, so even if you get the best of personal trainers, it may be something you could achieve yourself with the right motivation.
To help that along, pick exercises that you are comfortable with. Then again, if there’s a little voice telling you to get stuck in then perhaps a bit of guidance in the deep end is what you need.
Arguably more effective and enjoyable than doing it alone or with a personal trainer is to join classes at a gym. The shared intentions of the group, along with the motivation from an instructor could be the ticket. For many, the structured classes also help plan out your exercise so that you can see for yourself when and how you will be getting those health gains.
The formal structure of class times isn’t for everyone, and for some maybe the gym isn’t necessary at all. If it’s weight loss and toning you’re aiming for, then this can be achieved running or cycling outside and with a select few toning exercises at home if you have the space to do so. The trouble here lies again in the motivation.
Could you honestly see yourself getting it done without a little assistance when it’s there waiting in the next room, or would you benefit from the freedom? Furthermore, if it’s muscle and strength you’re after, then a gym is advantageous – unless you have space and funds to put together some kit of your own at home.
If you’re looking to burn calories and lose weight, cardio is key. But here you have the choice of marathon-type training, which is longer at an easier pace, or high-intensity interval training, which has been proven to be more effective in a shorter amount of time.
HIIT is an effective way to get you back into your routine – giving you the kick-start you need. The aim is to get your heart rate up followed by rest. Take running as an example. Aim for a 2:1 ratio, meaning you work hard for one minute and rest for thirty seconds. If health problems are an issue or the intensity unfathomable, then perhaps regular longer distance lower impact training is for you.
When it comes to weights, this depends on your experience, your ability to recover, and how long you’ve been away from training. Newbies should look at higher reps of moderate weights with a focus on technique, slowing the speed of reps when you begin to advance. For gym rats who are just a little out of the loop, don’t aim for a personal best. Go for a lower percentage of your maximum one rep capability in each exercise and aim for mid-high reps until you find your footing.
Once you’re seeing signs of your old self, lower the number of reps while increasing the weight to build your strength. Rinse and repeat.