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Re-Energize Your Workout after Falling Out of Step

It's officially Fall, which means a fresh season and a shot at turning over a new leaf. If your focus on working out has waned, or disappeared altogether, now is the perfect opportunity to hop back on that treadmill with some tenacity - even if it means showing yourself some tough love.

Let the guilt go

Whether you've been absent from the gym for a couple of months, or a couple of years, odds are the guilt you're feeling is more debilitating than the loss of conditioning. It's alright to feel blameworthy - at least for a few minutes. However, don't let these negative thoughts hinder you from getting and staying motivated. Set yourself a time limit to sulk, then deal with your failures and let it go.

Be honest with yourself

To move forward and ensure you don't get caught in another workout slump just as you get started, determine why you took a break in the first place. Did you:

  • Feel too busy?

  • Hit a plateau?

  • Suffer some stress?

  • Get burned out?


If you're reading these and silently nodding 'yes,' you need a dose of truth serum: these are just excuses. At the time, it might have been an easy way out to placate your guilt, but perhaps you were simply employing a cookie-cutter defense to justify a lack of motivation. First, change your mindset, only then can you change your body for the long haul.

Adjust your expectations

Starting a new workout regimen is exciting, but don't fly out of the gates so fast that you immediately hit a wall. Understand that you're not going to start back up exactly where you left off. While it's a bummer to realize that your past progress is masked by a layer of lounge-chair flub, don't attempt to atone for your sedentary stint by working out twice as hard. Doing so risks loss of energy and focus from over training. Instead:

  • Set attainable goals.

  • Start each workout slowly and finish strong.

  • Listen to your body. Push it when you can, but know when to back off the intensity.

  • Cross-train to keep from focusing all the stress on your target area of training.

  • Reexamine your technique to make sure loss of muscle and cardiovascular fitness hasn't led to poor form.

Update your techniques for staying motivated
Obviously, if you've fallen off the workout wagon, your motivation techniques lacked a little gusto. What once got you going, might not egg you on like it used to. Refurbish your goals and grant yourself new rewards for achievement. Here are some tips that might help you re-focus:

  • Go old school: If you've never tried pairing your tape measurements with some Polaroids, get out the old pen and paper - archaic, I know - and document your starting point. Tracking the changes in your body will help you keep up the hard work.

  • Go high-tech: Alternatively, if Smartphone apps are more your style, download FitSync for Android or Couch to 5K for the iPhone and use them to stay on track.

  • Hold yourself accountable: Believe it or not, making the decision head back to the gym and staying dedicated to these goals are likely the highest hurdles you'll encounter. Much of your exercise program is a mental game. The key is to set the right goals, then follow through.

Start today!

Procrastination is your enemy - so start now, even if it's a short workout. Remember that even a marathon starts with a first step. Don't hesitate to take yours.

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