How to get back to the gym when you really don’t want to
This is me today. Today is day 19 of a cold that has been plaguing me and my family. Honestly, I didn’t see an end in sight with this one, doomed to be a nasally, drippy mess for the rest of the season.
I had it all.
- Body aches
- A dry cough
- Mucus for days
- Plugged/stuffy nose
- Chest Infection
- No appetite
- No energy to leave my bed
So, needless to say, I haven’t been inside the gym in almost 3 weeks. Today is the day though! Today I feel 90% better and I’m excited to step back into the gym and lift some things.
Going 0-50 real fast
The thing about going back to the gym after some time off is that you are probably not going to be returning where you left off. For me this shows on leg day, the last leg day I did I was leg pressing 180lbs. I can guarantee you that if I were to try the leg press today, I’d be lucky to do 120lbs. I find my legs lose strength the fastest (though only for a week or 2) and your recovery absolutely moves to the gym with you.
Today I will be doing what I consider a full body assessment.
I will be doing workouts for each muscle group and seeing where I am for weights, stamina, and reps. I know better than to walk into the gym after time off and just go about my day as if nothing happened. That’s how injuries happen and you’re likely not going to have a killer workout physically or mentally.
This is where taking notes and checking in with yourself is really important. Don’t worry about your weight or measurements, focus on what your body is capable of and adjust your workouts. Fortunately, this isn’t like missing the gym for 2 years then coming back. The recovery period is a week or so instead of months, so don’t fret!
It’s OK to slow down
I have a friend that was recently in a car accident. This has caused her a bit of damage to smaller muscles she’s not used to using. We chatted about this the other day and how she was feeling a little defeated after putting in so much work and now she’s backtracking down to smaller weights that are still leaving her shakey afterward.
This is OK. Going back to smaller weights isn’t losing progress. Calories are still being burned, muscles are still being built and if anything, injuries are recovering in a way that will leave you stronger in the end. Healing muscles you don’t normally use takes time but will overall add to the work you’re currently putting in.
Now in my case, I don’t have any injuries, but I will need to go back to smaller weights for a couple weeks just to rebuild strength that was lost.
It’s not the end of your progress, it’s more of an ego thing if you really break it down!