3 Tips For Getting Back Into Fitness After The Holidays
The Christmas holidays are a time of indulgence for many of us, with parties to attend and plenty of tasty food and drink on offer almost everywhere we look. Whilst this is great, it does make it difficult for many of us to stay on track with our diet and exercise routines.
One missed gym session can quickly turn into two or three, and before you know it, you’ve gone weeks without hitting the gym, meaning your fitness is probably not what it was just a short while ago. Getting back into fitness after the holidays seems like a target which a lot of people have in mind and can feel like a massive challenge, but doing so will make you feel so much better as you navigate the January blues.
Exercise is a great way to get out of the house, get some fresh air and keep occupied, all of which will fight the sluggish feeling that many of us get in the New Year. So, if you’re planning on getting back into fitness after the holidays, here are 3 tips to help you through.
Take It Slow
After taking a break from exercise, it is completely normal for your body to decondition itself, regardless of how intense your workouts used to be. When you start getting back into fitness, you must remember to take it slow and not push yourself too hard, as this can lead to injuries that will only set you back further as you recover.
Regardless of whether you’re a runner, yogi or weightlifter, taking time away from your workouts means that you will lose some of your previous PBs and ability. This doesn’t mean that you will never be able to get to the same level, or surpass it, but it does mean you should start slowly.
After a few sessions, you can begin to increase the duration and intensity of your workouts. Or, you could try a few different gym classes, such as pilates or HIIT, to ease your body back into a mixture of different exercises. By spending 30 minutes a day doing gentle exercise, you’ll find that you have the energy to get on with the rest of your day and set the tone for your future workouts.
Change Your Nutrition Habits
You can’t outrun a bad diet and during the holiday season, many of us find that our diets take a backseat. Exercise and proper nutrition are key if you are getting back into fitness after a break and it is important to ensure that your body is properly fueled with the right nutrients from proteins, fats, and carbs.
If you don’t change or adjust your diet, you’ll likely notice little change or find it extremely difficult, especially in the recovery stage after a workout. You’ll find that you ache more and are more tired, so by properly fuelling your body, you’re enabling it to recover much faster. It’s a good idea to set up a proper eating schedule to ensure that your body is fuelled properly.
If you’re someone who doesn’t eat breakfast, start small with natural yogurt and fruit, working up to something more filling and protein-filled, such as porridge or eggs. Eating breakfast within one hour of waking up, followed by a meal or snack every 3-5 hours means that metabolism is running at max. By following a proper eating schedule and diet, you are also regulating your insulin and blood sugar levels and are more unlikely to snack on unhealthy and processed foods.
Another thing to do is take a look at your vitamin intake. When you are getting back into fitness, you’ll probably feel tired and achy, so you need to look after your body. Ensure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals from natural sources, such as leafy greens, vegetables and lean meat and fish. Your diet is just as important as your workouts and, as well as energy, gives your body everything it needs to run and recover. If you feel like you’re lacking in certain vitamins then you can take vitamins and supplements, such as high-strength fish oil and calcium.
Listen To Your Body
When you’re getting back into fitness after Christmas, you’ll likely be pushing your body to its current maximum. It is important to take note as to how your body is feeling once you head back to the gym and start working out again.
Of course, your body will be tired and achy for the first few sessions back, but if you experience any pain or pulling/strain, then stop exercising immediately. Wait a day or two to recover and, if it is still there, seek advice from your doctor before you start back. If you don’t properly care for your body during workouts, then this can lead to further injuries which can often be more severe and require a longer recovery period.
In order to ease your body back into exercise, start and end your workouts with a proper stretching session. Stretching is an essential part of every workout and helps to protect your body from injuries. By spending just 10-15 minutes stretching before and after your workout will help to maximize your workout performance and loosens up and relax your muscles.
You should also stay properly hydrated, and not just during your workouts. Around 75% of people are dehydrated on a daily basis, leading to sluggishness and increased appetite. Staying hydrated is key for having an optimal metabolism and, as our bodies are 50-65% water, it is essential that we drink around 2 liters of water every day. Water helps to flush un-needed sodium from the body and helps with bloating as it helps your digestive system.
So, if you’re planning on getting back into fitness after the holidays, then it is key that you listen to your body. You must take things slow and remember that you need to re-build your fitness to what it was before Christmas in order to prevent injuries and strains. Looking after your body by following a proper nutrition plan and staying hydrated will help you feel and perform much better before, during and after your workouts. Remember, it is a marathon, not a sprint and it will take time to get back to your peak physical fitness.
About the Author
Author Bio: Jamie Costello is a Junior Researcher in Public Health, based in the UK. He regularly researches around his sector to help improve his knowledge and produce valuable articles for readers. He’s previously worked with businesses that specialize in high strength fish oil which has helped to collate this article in particular.