Anyone who’s spent time training or leading an active and healthy lifestyle will at some point fall off the fitness wagon (so to speak). Whether you miss a couple of weeks of training due to vacation, injury or illness, or you simply have a bad week at work or home and your nutrition goes to hell, just remember that it’s pretty much inevitable and happens to us all.
The good news, however, is there’s no need to stress!
Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever strung together more than about six months of solid, perfect, training and nutrition without some sort of bump in the road. I’m constantly telling my clients that getting fit, strong and healthy is not a six-, eight- or 12-week program; it’s a lifestyle choice and a long term one at that, so you need to keep this in mind when life throws you a curveball.
I recently took a long overdue two week vacation and had a great time relaxing and unwinding. I still stayed reasonably active with the occasional hike, yoga session or surf, but it was a far cry from my usual routine and involved ZERO heavy weight training. Add to this a very different diet from the one I was used to (curry for breakfast… whaaaaaaaat?) and I was asking for trouble.
The result of my wagon fall? I lost about 3kg of lean muscle (insert sad face here) that in turn translated to a substantial loss in strength and a less than inspiring return to training. In fact, it was damn near depressing.
Now before any female readers prepare the lynch mob, trust me when I tell you that losing that muscle can be just as devastating as putting on unwanted holiday kilos! Weight gain or weight loss, the struggle is real.
This, however, was not my first rodeo and I know, just as many of you experienced campaigners know, that it’s all part of the game.
Firstly you need to understand that it’s only temporary. It’s all part of ‘the journey’ and all you need to do is get back on board and start training and eating well again. This of course is often easier said than done with the mental battle to get back into it usually being harder than the physical side of things. Remind yourself of the longevity of your goals, the healthy lifestyle you’ve chosen, this minor and temporary set back WILL NOT ruin your chances of achieving everything you want to achieve.
Would I jump right back into where I left off? No, I wouldn’t. Why? Well firstly in my case it was impossible because I wasn’t strong enough but secondly you need to take care to avoid injury. There’s no point hitting that F45 class with the same pre-holiday intensity, or trying to run your favorite 5km track in record time. Going too hard too soon and hurting yourself will only knock you out of the game for even longer. Another six weeks off is not going to help your cause. In fact, it’s completely counter-productive!
1: Don’t stress!
2: It’s only temporary.
3: Get back on board as soon as you can.
4: Take it easy. Don’t go too hard too soon.
5: If you find that it is annoying trying to do your old workouts or classes at a lower intensity, try a new class. You probably won’t even notice that you’re “not as fit as you used to be”.
6: Enjoy the ride and keep smiling.