Your routine will depend primarily on two things, your fitness level before the hiatus and how long it lasted. No matter the length of either, it is always a good idea to get back in the saddle after you’ve fallen off the fitness wagon. Here’s what you should know.
The good news…
Especially if you had a strong base before the hiatus, you won’t be starting at ground zero. Your body and muscles will remember what it felt like to get in shape, build muscle and move through moderate to intense workouts.
The not so good news…
That said, you will lose some fitness. For example, although you won’t be as slow as you were when you started running, chances are you won’t come near your personal best for a 5K. Likewise with lifting. You can expect to lift less and run slower.
Back to some good news…
Again, your body remembers so if you had a strong base you should remake your fitness gains fairly quickly. Here’s how.
If you had a strong fitness base, scale your previous routine back by 30 or 40 percent intensity. If you did not have a strong fitness base, start at the beginning. If you kept a fitness journal, developing your jumpstart plan may be easier. No worries if you didn’t keep a journal. Let your body and your breath be your guide. Workouts should feel challenging, not painful. If it feels like your lungs are on fire, scale back. No matter where you start, have realistic expectations and check in with your body to see how you are feeling. You likely will not have as much stamina as you did before the hiatus, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is putting in the work. Build your routine on where you are not where you were.
A word about diet…fuel your workouts with healthy carbs, protein, and fats. Fitness fads often encourage skipping fats and carbs. Bodies and muscles need both for energy. Rather than skip think quality. Opt for whole-grain carbs and heart-healthy fats like avocado. Both can help you go harder during your workout and feel fuller longer, so you avoid binging.
Don’t let lost fitness after a hiatus keep you from starting again. If you had a strong fitness base you have an advantage. Even if you didn’t, don’t give up on building one. Exercise is one of the best ways to improve overall wellbeing and physical health. Stick with it and when life gets in the way and you have to stop, start again as many times as you need to.