U Perform Fitness Expert Arron Collins-Thomas

How to get back to training after a break - Arron Collins-Thomas - U Perform Fitness Expert - Episode 14

Tips to get back into exercise after a break

Watch Episode 14 here 👇

Amy Williams:

Hello everyone. It's Amy Williams here for the U Perform channel. And we have Arron, our fitness expert. Now, Arron and myself last week spoke about working out in those trainings zones, that kind of different areas from one and 10 and how to exert yourself. Today, we're going to talk about how to get back into the fitness into the gym after having a break, whether that's because you've been ill or you've had a holiday, or you literally just couldn't be bothered and you're falling off the wagon a little bit. How do we get back in without injuring ourselves or just burning out?

Arron Collins-Thomas:

So it is a tricky one because people want to get back to where they left off. And we don't like to admit to ourselves that we maybe we have lost as much fitness as we have of that period of time. It depends how much time you had off.

So it is really important just to start gently, you know, just to start taking it really easy on the body so that we're not going to cause any injuries. We're not going to over train. And then actually we see some results that are sustainable. People often go back at it too hard. They get really sore and they don't want to do anything for two or three days again. And that's not the point that you want to have a regular training program that is actually achievable and sustainable.

Amy Williams:

And I guess that's the thing, isn't it. Someone could be a regular gym goer you've suddenly had to be forced at home, workout from home. You might have only had one kettlebell, five kilograms, and then you want to go back to the gym. You're all excited. You suddenly whack on 60, 70, 80 kilograms on that squat and then, you know, disaster happens. So, I guess for you, it's trying to advise people how to slowly ease back into it. What would you advise them to kind of have those small steps to get back in, but yet obviously everyone wants to just get fit and get strong as fast as possible.

Arron Collins-Thomas:

Yeah. So from a training perspective, it is about dialing it back. So, I think it's important to really work on some of the fundamental lifting patterns and body movements before you go into that large lift. So let's say you're doing a dead lift, actually make sure your body can do some of the basic stuff first before going into that really heavy lift and risking injury.

If your muscles aren't used to doing that for a while, they might not be ready for it. Okay. So I'm doing some basic stuff to mobilize the body, to start taking it easy, taking longer over your warmups and mobility than perhaps you would have done before. Then go through some lighter lifts and then taking your time to build up to something slightly heavier over the period of a week or two. If you've been off for four weeks, you might want to start at 20 to 30% less weight than you had previously.

So if you've been off for a couple of more weeks, you know, it doesn't hurt to start at 50% and build back up from there. It's great to find a weight that you can actually do when you first go back to it. If you start lifting really heavy, I've done this and been demoralized thinking right, I remember I could do this, go to the bench and suddenly I'm only doing two or three reps at something I used to do 12; I'm like I get angry myself. I get frustrated. I know not to put myself in that situation anymore if I've had a bit of a break, I just dial it back, find some weights that I can do, get myself back into it, get the muscles feeling like they're working again and build that up gently over a period of a few weeks.

From a nutrition point of view, you know, if you've had a few weeks off, maybe it's been a holiday and you've kind of stuffed your face a little bit. Maybe had some more alcohol. Our bodies have got loads of sugar that we're used to having, therefore you're going through those sugar cravings. So if you suddenly go training really hard and then cut out the nutrition, and really kind of cut back all those sugars and go to being really, really strict on yourself, it might be too much of a shock to the body. And while you might hate it, because you're trying to do too much yourself, but your body's not going to know, what to do with itself. Because it's used to having all that sugar for energy and actually, again, you can get ill, you can get injuries. You're going to feel really to lethargic if you're not used to it.

So start to taper the nutrition gently. Don't just go boom, right from this down. I'm going to cut everything out. That's not fun for anyone anyway, but start to transition slowly with that as well. And then set goals that are achievable on all fronts on the training, front, the nutrition front, and then how much you can move every day.

You know, a lot of people set these really tough goals for themselves. I said, right, I'm going to go to the gym every day at 6:00 AM. That's all I'm going to do when they've never done that before in their lives, they hate getting up at six in the morning anyway. So you're setting yourself up for failure. And so if you don't and you miss that first day, then the rest of the day is almost even the rest of the week's almost ruined. I haven't done it. And you're giving yourself an excuse from the word go.

So make achievable goals and achievable programs that you can stick to. So, maybe say, right, I'm not going to do every day, the week, but I'm going to choose two days a week at 6:00 AM because we have to have a little bit of discomfort in our lives. We are maybe a bit too pampered up. We say, do those harder sessions and then place the other ones at times of the day that you know, you can do. Even if it is the winter and it's a bit dark and you don't want to go for that run after work, go for a long walk at lunchtime, get out and be active. I think we're always, um, over-focused sometimes on achieving everything in every session we do and getting too many results. A walk is just as important for you mentally and physically and emotionally then as well as, you know, a training session could be. So we don't always have to slam ourselves in the gym, the benefits can come from some of those lighter sessions as well.

Amy Williams:

And I guess it's making those good habits. You kind of touched on it; it is having those achievable targets, creating good habits that you enjoy. You know, you want to be able to train because you enjoy it and you want to sustain that because you've set yourself these goals that are achievable. And I guess that is just as important.

Arron Collins-Thomas:

Yeah. I mean, every goal needs to be achievable. And we've got to think about the little goals along the way. Often we think about that big picture and we want to be there in a few weeks’ time, a few months’ time. Right. But realistically, if we're trying to lose a stone or so if that's what someone's goal is, it's not going to happen like that in a healthy way. Yes. You could over train. You could eat the wrong stuff and you know, not eat enough and you could probably get those results, but not in a healthy, sustainable way.

You have to go. Right. That goal, push it a little bit further back, but look at those small goals along the way you go for those little wins, the little things to celebrate. Yeah. This week I did four sessions. I could have done seven, but I did four and that's really good. Yes. I've done a walk every day. Yes. I've meditated every day. Yes. I've drank enough water. No I didn't have a load of beer tonight. Right? Those little celebrations. Because it's consistency over time. If you can do those little things daily consistently well, you can get the results that you want to, and it's going to be sustainable and achievable.

Amy Williams:

So we touched upon the importance of goals and people having goals when they come back. Just give some people some tips, how can they write those goals? Prepare them, think about them, long-term short term.

Arron Collins-Thomas:

Yeah. Everybody's different. So the goals have to be applicable to you and what you want to achieve. It's very easy to get caught up in what other people are doing and try and do their goals that maybe aren't attainable for you.

So first of all, start with the small goals, those micro goals. And that's something that you can look at on a daily basis. And so it might be just as simple as right. I'm going to be active for an hour a day. And that, if you do it consistently, is going to get you some results. So that hour, a day could just be walking. It could be a combination of walking, running. Could be a combination with the gym work? You know, just not sat on your bum for all that time each day sat at your desk. It's just about being, making sure you're active in those.

And then the macro goals are maybe over every week. So, that'll be something right, okay, this week I've done five sessions in total throughout that week. And trying to stay with that consistently and make sure that's achievable. And again, that can be eating certain amount of meals every day. I've had five healthy days of eating and now I can I have my naughty couple of days, maybe, as long as you obviously reign those naughty days in at the right level. And then that will lead to your overall goal over time. It's just about how far away you set that large goal.

But if you stick to those small things and they're achievable on a day-to-day basis and a weekly basis, then you're going to get to where you want to go. And if you're not quite there, it might take you that little bit longer, but at least you've achieved stuff along the way. At least you're getting results constantly. You're still feeling positive about the journey that you've been on.

Amy Williams:

And I think it's allowing yourself to pat yourself on the back isn't it? Just over those tiny little goals, feel chuffed about it, you know, really think yay. You know, high five me, I didn't eat chocolate tonight or whatever it might be. That's one of my really big goals.

So yeah, it is patting yourself on the back and I guess it can become quite hard if you're suddenly back in the gym, you're around people that you've maybe done a HIIT session with them before and you're suddenly staring across. They seem a lot fitter than me. We used to be the same fitness. That comparing yourself to others. And that impact may be on your own goals. That could be quite hard can't it?

Arron Collins-Thomas:

It's really difficult. And we've all been there. We've all been to the gym and gone God. I used to be able to lift the same as that guy over there what has happened to me. Oh, you know, he's looking in much better shape than I am. And we do get a little bit jealous as that competitive streak, but that's probably the most dangerous thing that can happen to you in the gym because, you know, looking across at someone else and their goals might be completely different to yours. They might have a load of kit at home that they've been working out with when they weren't allowed to get to the gym.

You know, everyone's in a different situation all the time. We can't compare ourselves to others because that often means that we push ourselves harder than we should, and we could get injuries. And then often we are not very self-confident or self-positive because of that; we actually beat ourselves up about the fact that we're not as good as someone else at something, but they have no idea what we're good at. They have no idea what's going on in our lives and we don't know what's going on in theirs. So we need to stick to our own plan and stay focused on and stay true to what we want to achieve.

Amy Williams:

You're right. I think it's really important to stay true to you, to trust in that process, trust your program. You don't know what kind of life someone else has got at home do you. And I think as an athlete, it was always really important to try and not always look at those other competitors. You were always trying to be, I've got to be better than her, or, you know, compete, be stronger, be faster. And you can't, you just got to trust your program, trust your body. You're doing the right thing at the right time. And you will always get back to that fitness level when and how you need to.

Hopefully you've enjoyed our chat today and some great advice from Arron again about how to get back into that gym, into fitness after taking a break.

Now next week, Arron is going to be sat here and we're going to be talking about winter training tips, how to really get back into those cold, wintery, blustery, cold, rainy months, and how to still keep yourself motivated. So please hit that bell, subscribe and we will see you then!

We will be continuing this series in the New Year.

See you then!