Everyone encounters set backs in their journey through life at some point, your fitness journey is no different. You may face injuries or illness, or simply life events that cannot be avoided. Set backs are not always negative either, maybe you’ve taken time out to raise a family, travel a little, relax and reset.
As the great Chumbawamba once said, “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never going to keep me down.” The set back isn’t the issue, it doesn’t matter what barrier you’re facing, the only thing that matters is how you overcome it and move forward. What you need to keep in mind though is that’s it’s not a race, no competition, there’s no quick fix, you’re not going to be as strong or lean or fit as you were before your set back. Hold on to the fact that you will get there and you can go further, be a better version of you than you were before.
Coming back from different road blocks will take different amounts of time, and will differ between people. Some mothers can bounce back into the gym after 7 weeks off like they’ve never been away, others may take a little longer to find their gym feet again and any new routines may take a while to settle down. Some illnesses can take a while to get back to feeling 100% and people react differently to having to take time off.
Remember not to compare yourself to anyone else; they’re dealing with their own problems, not yours. What everyone has in common though is you need to take it at a steady pace; this isn’t the same pace for all, but a steady pace for you as an individual. Listen to your body, work it when you feel good but rest it when it asks and don’t forget to give it the right fuel! You can easily slip into bad habits with food if you’re not careful. If you’re not training right now, don’t eat like you are. Adjust your diet to suit the lifestyle you’re living, if extra calories aren’t going out then don’t put them in!
A common problem people face when returning to the gym after a break is that they burn themselves out within the first two weeks. They think they have to make up for lost time and go heavy or hard every session 7 days a week. Bad move guys.
You’ll just head back to square one. Ease yourself back in, start twice a week and build it up to three times over a few weeks, once you can consistently keep that up then you can start to add more sessions in. The key thing here is consistency. Make sure you are consistent with your training and food at the basic level before you make things harder.
You’ll probably not be able to lift as much or as heavy or run as far or as fast as you could before your set back so don’t try it on day one! Just as you’re easing yourself back into a gym routine, ease yourself back into those weights and distances. You’ll bounce back quicker and be stronger for it, than if you absolutely hammer your body. You’ll reduce the risk of injury and chances of more set backs. You’ve taken a little hit, that’s OK! You’re struggling at the moment, that’s OK! You’re afraid to get back on the fitness wagon, that’s OK! It’s OK to not be OK. You are not alone.
A wise man reminded me, “Help will always be given … to those who ask for it” – Albus Dumbledore. Reach out your hand, there are so many people around you that can and want to help. No one wants to see you fail. You had a set back now step up and move forward.