Sometimes it's easy to make working out part of your weekly routine, but unfortunately, it's usually easier to skip it.
One skipped workout becomes two, and before you know it, you can't fit into your jeans and walking up a flight of stairs feels like torture.
Everyone falls off the wagon sometimes. You just need to be able to get back on.
Recently, I had to admit to myself that I'd been avoiding the gym for weeks. And even after days of promising myself I'd put my sneakers on and "just do it," it didn't happen. Life gets in the way, you know?
The more time away from the gym, the harder it feels to go back. If you're currently avoiding the gym, I could tell you to get over it and stop procrastinating. But, I know firsthand it's not that simple.
Here are the steps you can take to make exercise a part of your routine again after weeks of avoiding the gym.
1. Accept that your body won't "bounce back" after one workout.
If there's one thing that stops me from going to the gym, it's the overwhelming thought of how many workouts it will take me to officially get back in tip-top shape.
One 40-minute sweat sesh isn't going to make your ass feel as good as it did before your gym hiatus. Getting in shape takes months to accomplish and a week of bad eating and laziness to ruin. Or at least, that's what it feels like.
Just remember that gained muscle and stamina doesn't disappear if you stop working out for a few weeks. You might feel sluggish, but the work you put in months ago is still there.
2. Schedule a workout and don't bail on yourself.
Step two is literally setting a gym date with yourself and not canceling it.
For me, getting my ass to the gym involves putting my cutest workout clothes and sneakers by my bed before going to sleep. It's less to do in the morning, and it helps me get out the door faster.
It's important to make it easy, but it's even more important to make it a priority. When you make time to work out, don't make bullshit excuses to get out of it.
When I wake up at 6 am to work out, I come up with every excuse there is to not go. I tell myself that sleeping later is healthier than working out, which is some of the dumbest half-asleep logic I've ever heard. But, I drag myself anyway because the feeling of accomplishment is worth it.
3. Do a full-body workout.
I get stuck on how to work out at the gym after a few weeks off. It's hard to pick a part of my body to work on since I feel out of shape everywhere.
When you're getting back to it, it's best to do a full-body workout. Full-body workouts don't have to take a long time. You can do a little bit of everything in 40 minutes.
Keep that first workout simple, but effective. For example, I run a mile, then do stuff like squats, lunges, crunches, pushups, planks and lots of stretching. Then the next time, I'll pick a specific area like my legs or back to work on.
You just have to start somewhere.
4. Reward yourself after the gym, but not with food.
This is when most health screwups happen. People tend to think that sweating warrants a greasy, fatty reward like a giant cheeseburger and a bucket of fries.
I'm not going to sugarcoat this: Indulging after exercise makes seeing the results harder. After a good workout, I like to reward myself with a long, luxurious shower.
5. Make a plan to work out again.
The only way to get in a gym groove is to keep it up. Consistency is key.
My rule of thumb is not allowing myself to skip more than three days of working out. After that, it's a priority. Sporadically working out just makes getting back into it more difficult.
I have one method that motivates me to stay consistent. I have a physical calendar where I mark the days I work out. After exercising, I come home and put a big ol' "X" on the date. That way I can't lie to myself about consistency.
Plus, it's easier to keep count of how many days I skip. If the calendar looks a little empty, it's obvious I've been slacking. As a competitive person, it's a good way of tricking myself to work out. I want to see more "X" marks this month than last month.
Going back to the gym after a vacation or getting over being sick is hard, especially when you already feel so mushy. You know what I mean. But, you'll be happy you dragged yourself in the end.
Just follow these simple steps, and you'll work exercising into your schedule without breaking a sweat.