Working up to working out: How to come back strong after a baby, a break, or an injury

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

For the last ten years, I have been an avid exerciser. I don't think I've taken more than a week off from working out in that time, and even then, it was for sickness or surgery. 

So now that I've been off of working out for five plus weeks after Henry's birth, it's mildly daunting to think about going back, especially since soon I'll be teaching Jazzercise classes again. It's one thing to accept struggling through a workout, but there's a whole other added element here when I think about being a motivator on stage. If I'm huffing and puffing, it might be more difficult to encourage others in the room to pump it up! 

Instead of prematurely worrying, though, I'm trying to set myself up for success with some easy tips to come back strong. Whether you're coming back from a baby, an injury, or a long exercise hiatus, the tips below will help ease us all back in. 

Pump up the water

Before you head back to work out, try pumping up the water. We all need more water in our lives, and this is especially true once the sweat starts pouring! Try to up your water intake -- whether that's an extra cup, an extra 10%, or an extra bottle a day. Being hydrated will help get you started on the right foot! 

Focus on the positives

It's easy to have negative self-talk when you're heading back in to the gym. "This is going to feel hard," or "I'm going to have a terrible workout" might be easy thoughts to have, but change that tune! Focus on the positives! "I get to workout today!" "I can't wait to move my body again!" "It will be so nice to put on my iPod and tune out!" Any positive things we can say to ourselves are good, especially if you can drown out the bad things! 

Cut yourself some slack

There's a solid chance you're not going to pick up right where you left off. That's okay! Don't be too hard on yourself. If you're a runner, it's totally fine to start back with walking or a run-walk program. If you're an avid aerobics class taker, there's nothing wrong with low impact until you can add the bouncing back in. Do what you can with what you have, and be happy to be moving! 

Don't compare yourself to others

It can be tempting to look at others and their accomplishments in comparison to yours. But the fact that you're back to working out is incredible, and you can't compare yourself to others (well, you can, but you won't feel good about it!). Let go of worrying about what others can do and focus on you. Celebrate YOUR accomplishments! 


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