After much needed time to relax with family and friends over the holidays, getting back into your routine in the new year can be quite the challenge, specifically when it comes to working out. In fact, research shows that December is the quietest calendar month at the gym, so it’s vital to start the preparation early.
However, it doesn’t need to be so difficult—experts at Fitness Volt have highlighted five tips to ease yourself back into a workout routine after the festivities.
Set specific times
Scheduling your workout time is a simple yet effective step. Getting back into the right frame of mind after the holiday buzz is just one of the ways you will have to readjust, and it can certainly take its toll. So, without a gym schedule, it’s likely that you will make plenty of excuses to not partake in any exercise. Consider your day-to-day schedule, and choose your workout slot based on where you have the most free time—this way, you can mentally prepare yourself as well as avoid any excuses that you are too busy. Plus, a planned exercise slot will ensure that your workload won’t take over, as it’s a given that you will be getting back into a busy work routine, too.
Don’t overexert yourself
While pushing yourself is usually encouraged in fitness, it’s sensible to not push yourself to the extreme, particularly after some time away from exercise. Whether it’s weightlifting or cardio, doing too much exercise can lead to overuse injuries including muscle strains and tendon injuries, thus making you a lot less capable of meeting your fitness goals. After some time off, it’s natural to not be able to lift as much or run as far, so it’s crucial to not let it discourage you, as you will soon gain your ability if you stay consistent with your exercise. Additionally, overdoing it can lead to a burnout in the early stages and make you dread a workout as opposed to enjoy it. If you feel yourself giving up, try to commit to five minutes and finish your workout if you don’t feel capable of doing anymore; but with this five-minute rule, it will likely motivate you to do more.
Personalize your workout
Fitness lovers aren’t necessarily all gym-goers. In fact, there are plenty of ways to work out that don’t involve the gym—and this is key for making it an enjoyable part of your routine again. If you’re a nature enthusiast and wish to do more cardio exercises, go for a run—or even a walk— at your local beach, park, or even around the block. Alternatively, if you’re into strength training but don’t enjoy the gym atmosphere, invest in equipment such as dumbbells and kettlebells to work out from the comfort of your own home.
Finding a friend with similar fitness goals is beneficial for many reasons, one being that it acts as motivation after some time away. For the days that you don’t feel like exercising, a fitness partner can motivate you to get ready and get it done. Plus, during a workout, your partner can even push you to take it to the next level, such as lifting a slightly heavier weight or increasing the incline setting on the treadmill. Having a partner can also keep you accountable to stay on track with your fitness plan and recognize any goals that are yet to be met. Better yet, it makes it a time to socialize so that you look forward to it more, not to mention your partner can spot you to make your workout safer.
Set short-term goals, too
It’s always important to think of the long-term result; doing so allows you to plan your workout and figure out which exercises are best suited to your needs. However, having only a long-term goal can become frustrating when you aren’t seeing progress straight away, and can even result in you to give up completely, which is especially easy to do when you’re trying to get back into your routine. Therefore, it’s vital to set goals over shorter time frames that are manageable, as well as not just focusing on your appearance. For example, you may wish to become stronger, so a short-term goal for the end of the month could be to increase your squat load by 45 pounds.
When it comes to the holidays, the last thing that needs to be on our minds is working out—it’s a time to spend with family and friends, and it’s important to make the most of that. However, it can be difficult to find our motivation to get back into it from some time off.
Thankfully, there are simple steps that can increase your ambition again as well as make your workout more enjoyable to ensure that you stick to your fitness routine in the new year and, as a result, enjoy the festivities without feeling guilty.