CFTNT Training Article - How to get back to the gym after a break


It happens to the best of us. Something will get in the way off you going to the gym and that is fine. You are not a professional athlete and it’s going to happen.

The most important thing to do at that point is to break the momentum. Don’t let a temporary rut or mishap get you too far from your goals.

Here is a short list of things to consider when it’s time to get back to the gym.

  1. Motivation is gone. Many gym goers believe that motivation is what they struggle with and stops them from the gym, however, motivation is not the problem. Someone who doesn't miss a workout view themselves as someone who works out, that’s just what they do. They’ve done so many workouts that it becomes a natural part of their routine. Do you need the motivation to brush your teeth at night? Of course not. It just what you do. Building the habit of working out works the same way.

  2. Have reasonable expectations. If you haven’t worked out in a few weeks and you walk in on 1 rep max back squat day, don’t get flustered because you didn't PR. That’s not how it works. Whatever your PR or previous level was before leaving automatically deduct 20% and start off slow.

  3. Have reasonable expectations. A lot of athletes will make up their minds about how the workout will go before they even start the warm up. -”I haven’t been in for 2 weeks this workout will be impossible!”. This might be true if you’ve been sick or super stressed out while missing from the gym. If you’ve been on a cushy vacation with more sleep, sunshine, relaxation, quality family time, and ample nutrition you might just be set up for a great training session. Don’t talk yourself out of having a solid workout.

  4. You got sick. This is sometimes out of your control and you just have to deal with it. Make sure that you are recovered enough before returning that you don’t spread any germs. If the previous 2 examples required a small reduction in intensity this might require a more drastic cut. Start off very easy and slowly build from there.

  5. Getting back on track. Give yourself at least 3-5 session to get back to the level you stopped working out at. It will take another 10-20 sessions to start exceeding your previous level of fitness. The bad news is that when you stop working out you can lose fitness very quickly. The good news is that it comes back faster than it initially took you to reach that level.

  6. Communicate with the coach. If you are going out of town, get sick, or just fall off the wagon please let us know what’s going on. We want to know what’s going on in your life, it helps us coach you better. Let’s say you tweak your back carrying groceries and now we don’t see you for a few days. You don’t want to bug any of the coaches so you lay low until it feels better. A week has gone by and your back is still a little tender. Here’s what you should do instead. Message your coach right away and let them know what happened. We might have a stretch or two we can send you that will help you recover much faster. We can come up with a scaling option before you come into class. We direct you to “Plan B” which you completely forgot we offer. Maybe we do a personal training session and get to the bottom of your lower back problem once and for all. These are all things that will help you stay on track. We can’t do any of this if you ghost us.

  7. Anxious about coming back. You feel like everyone knows you “quit”. You don’t want me to yell at you as soon as you walk in the door. Maybe there will be a physical punishment of burpees for not showing up for 2 weeks? NONE of this will happen. The coach will welcome you back and make sure that we ease into the workouts. Your fellow gym goers will give you the usual high five after class because we all struggle with exercise from time to time and that’s OK.

Oscar Isacsson, Head Coach, CF-L3, M.S.