Rising from the ashes

Starting back after a period of absence from the gym can be quite a daunting prospect. Whether the reason for not training be due to injury or perhaps more recently CoVid Lockdown. The path of your return is pretty much the same regardless and involves patience and determination for rapid recovery.

Over the 30 years I have been using the gym, there have been a number of periods when I couldn’t train for one reason or another. I have tried many different approaches over the years, some have worked for me, some have been an disaster. Here I want to share my do and don’ts, so hopefully you can avoid the mistakes I have made.

Let’s face it, you have been watching your physique slowly decline and are no doubt desperate to return to your former self as soon as possible. It can be all too tempting, after a period of rest, to charge straight back into your old routine. This would be a mistake and will probably cause injury; putting you back weeks or months as a result.

The below approach, if followed properly, will get you back to normal anaerobic fitness in less than 1 month. Each should not last more than the optimal 45mins a day and should be preceded by a 10 minute (full body) Cardio workout, to warm up. Some good cardio exercises I recommend are either Rowing-Machine or Cross-Trainer respectively.

  • Week 1: Two Full body workout sessions – bodyweight only (see core workout)
  • Week 2: 1 day on, 1 day off – full body workout 70% normal load 15-20 reps
  • Week 3: Normal routines (daily) with 80% normal load, 10-15 reps
  • Week 4: Back to normal.

Equally, with your previous sedentary lifestyle, all likelihood is you have not been so mindful of your diet. Sure you may have cut the calories, but you probably haven’t been eating for exercise. So an important part of your return is your diet too, if you want to avoid injury.

To conclude, if you want to return faster, sometimes taking it slower is more effective (less is more). The last thing you want to do is get injured and have to start again months down the line.

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