How To Get Back On Track After A Break From Fitness

6 min read

Have you ever noticed how when something is on your mind, all of the sudden you start seeing it everywhere? It’s like your brain is broadcasting your thoughts, or something is reading your mind. It can be harmless like, “Wow there are A LOT of white SUVs on the road!” But it can also be shameful like, “Ugh, not ANOTHER fitness ad!”

You know it’s been a while since you’ve made exercise a priority. Your day is full enough as it is without trying to squeeze in a workout. By the end of the day, you’re exhausted and need a break!

You know you don’t eat the healthiest, but sometimes that’s the trade-off for convenience. Not to mention, healthy food is bland, right? Who wants to eat rabbit food every day?

One day turns into a week. One week turns into a month. Before you know it, you feel like you’re too far gone. You can’t imagine ever getting back a body you are truly proud of. You start to accept how things are, except for that nagging thought in the back of your mind – the one that keeps making you notice all the little signs.

I need you to know something: it’s never too late to get started. I know what it takes because I’ve been there after three pregnancies. I’m going to share the secrets to getting back on track, even if you can’t remember the last time you exercised.

Don’t get yourself down; just get up.

When the negative thoughts creep in, it can be damaging. It’s weird how something intangible like self-talk can feel like physical chains holding you down. The first thing you have to do is change your mindset. No one else can conquer your inner critic.

Once you decide that you are capable and you’re going to go for it, don’t overthink it. Get up and move your body.

If you struggle with time, look at your schedule and find a spot that you can work in a workout. There are 24 hours in the day, and I know that time is in there somewhere. Carve it out and claim it as your time. Set alarms and make it a priority.

Side Note: If you are looking for an excuse to skip a workout, you will find it. Don’t do that to yourself. Stick to the schedule.

You have to start slow. Your body didn’t get this way in a day, so don’t expect to jump back into a workout and crush it. It’s going to be tough; that’s the point! You should aim for 20 minutes of exercise in the beginning. All of it can be modified movements. You can (and should) take breaks when you need them.

Commit to getting through that workout because you need that first victory. Celebrate the little wins. Use that to fuel you to keep going.

An object in motion stays in motion (with a little motivation).

At first, you’ve got this adrenaline fueling your motivation to keep working out. The same excitement that got you started won’t help you finish. You will face obstacles, and it’s important to spot them so you don’t get derailed.

The workouts are going to be difficult – every single time. The moment you can make it 20 minutes, it’s time to push for 30 minutes. Before you know it, you’ll be going a full hour! Then it’s time to modify less. Even today, if I’m not struggling in a workout, then I know I need to push myself.

Our good friend soreness is going to make an introduction and hang around for a while. If you’re pushing yourself, you will get sore. This is where it becomes essential to keep moving! Think about it… if you sit still, you will get stiffer, and it will be even more challenging to get going again.

You won’t silence that nagging voice filling your head with excuses right away. Don’t let something like struggle or soreness become the reason you stop. Before you know it, you will start feeding off of the challenge and learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

To keep you motivated long-term, you should follow a fitness program that has everything planned out for you. Fitness programs prevent you from getting in a rut of doing the same thing every day. Not only are you creating a habit, but there is intention behind how you exercise. This will keep you on the right path and create a second goal – complete the program and get the results you’re after!

There will always be those days. It’s something that is practically unavoidable. It can be the weather, something at work, something at home; it doesn’t matter. Something will knock you down, and you have to have something to draw on to keep pressing forward.

I like to journal my progress. Check your weight and measurements weekly, so you have something to reference. When I can see the numbers changing, I know I’m on track. I’m also completely aware that the scale and inches won’t always be impressive enough.

Take photos of your progress. You won’t notice the subtle changes in the mirror every day. When the numbers are deceiving, check your pictures and see the changes. If you’re staying on track, you’ll notice clothes fitting different too. There’s nothing more satisfying than slipping into a pair of jeans you swore would fit again someday!

Don’t sabotage your workout with food.

I say this a lot when I finish teaching a fitness class. You worked so hard, please don’t ruin it by eating junk! How you consume calories is just as important as how you burn calories. This is a critical point so many people miss, so pay close attention to what comes next.

Just because you’ve decided to make better food choices does not mean you are dieting. That label sets you up for failure. It makes you think this is a temporary solution. It makes you feel restricted, almost like a punishment for what you’ve done to yourself.

All of that could not be further from the truth. Choosing to eat healthy instead of junk is not restrictive. You are consciously deciding to make a different selection for your meal. You could eat chocolate – you could binge on chocolate until you made yourself sick – but you’re not going to. That’s your choice.

If anything, this should be empowering. When you make better food choices, you feel better when you eat. It’s not that gross feeling that instantly makes you lazy and sluggish.

So stay away from the “dieting” mindset, and please (please) avoid fad diets. These are literally the opposite of what we’re trying to accomplish which is lasting, sustainable results. A quick-fix will set you up for disappointment. The minute you ease off of that restrictive diet, your body freaks out and starts storing whatever it can to protect itself from your attempt to starve it into shape.

You should seriously consider getting rid of all food vices. At the very least, don’t leave them in plain sight. If it’s too tempting to know you have those cookies on the top shelf, ditch them. You don’t need that temptation in your life!

The same way you catch yourself eating the same junk over and over, you will find your favorite healthy meals. Don’t feel like you always have to mix it up. Stick with your staples, and you’ll be less likely to make a bad decision which is easy to do with too many options.

Small meals throughout the day keep your metabolism going. It also helps you practice reasonable portions so you don’t overeat during a single meal. When you get hungry, snack smart. Have healthy snacks on hand at all times for cravings.

Eventually, you’ll realize that when you eat healthy foods, you can actually eat all the time and still make progress on your weight goals! Eating plenty and eating often will destroy that restrictive mindset.

At this point, you may be thinking, “Easier said than done!” That’s fair. Here are two big tricks to making this work.

Build a library of healthy recipes – This is your go-to playbook of options to keep you falling back into old habits. There is an endless supply of recipes online. Pinterest is your friend. So is my recipe library of over 200+ healthy meals available with McClure Fitness Online.

Make a plan – Meal planning is simply making sure you aren’t stuck making a last-minute decision on what to eat. Chances are if you’re put on the spot, you will make a bad decision. Old habits die hard. You don’t necessarily have to meal prep (that’s next-level planning), just know what you’re going to eat every day.

Curious about what I eat in a day? I wrote all about it here.

This is not a sprint; it’s an adventure.

You thought I was going to say marathon didn’t you? Marathons have an end. An adventure is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, highs and lows. You will experience all those things, but trust the process, and the results will follow. Anyone can do it, and it starts with the first step. Take that first step and get back on track.

Need help getting started? McClure Fitness Online gives you the direction, motivation, and timing you need to get lasting results.

I’m Ready To Take The First Step →