2 Essential Techniques For Getting Back To Your Workouts

For most people, it’s not if you’ll fall off your workouts, it’s when. Believe it or not, it’s not an indictment on your character – it just is. But getting back to your workouts needs attention, just like anything else you want to happen in your life.

We tend to think of our workouts as a luxury or “add-on” in our lives. So they’re the first things to go when life gets busy. That’s a reason for falling off, but what’s the solution?

I don’t believe in guilt, shame, or looking back when my clients miss workouts. Moving forward can only happen if you hold your head high and hop back on with self-love and forgiveness. After all, we know you want this. But your workouts have either fallen to a lower priority or your motivation is lagging. Either way, it’s a normal part of the process that can be fixed.

Falling off happens for a variety of reasons, but I’ve found these factors are always true:

  1. The less experienced you are with falling off and getting back on, the more disappointed in yourself you’ll be (and the harder it will be to get back on).
  2. Not admitting you’ve fallen off (or hiding from your coach), is a surefire way to never get back on.

You’ve got to know these truths and how to work around them.

2 Essential Techniques For Getting Back To Your WorkoutsI tell my clients right from the very beginning that I’m here for them if they stop following their program. Not to punish or reprimand them, but to help lift them back up. It’s very common and part of the process.

If you don’t have a coach, you’ve got to be able to do this for yourself over and over. Otherwise, falling off for a month can turn into forever. 

Getting Back To Your Workouts With Grit

After years of coaching hundreds of smart, beautiful ladies (and yes, a number of guys, too), I’ve found two techniques that are essential to getting back on track. Neither involves putting your head in the sand, so if that’s your M.O., you can keep on walking.

1. Cage Your Inner Critic

Chicks who lift already have grit. But everyone has a critical voice in their heads when they don’t do something perfectly.

I don’t know your Inner Critic or hear the brutal insults she hurls at you when you fall off program. The level of abuse our Inner Critic inflicts varies widely from person to person.

The important thing is what you do with this voice. Ignoring her only increases her power to keep you mired in a pit of sticky tar.

So acknowledge this bitch. She’s horribly mean, but she’s not running the show unless you let her. Listen for a moment – is she telling you you’re a failure, lazy, incompetent, or whatever?

When you face her head on, it hurts only for a moment. When you try to push her down or win, the hurt always bubbles back up.

You can quickly and surprisingly shut down your Inner Critic by simply acknowledging what she’s saying.

“Thanks for sharing,” you say back in a neutral voice, your eyes steady. “You’ve had your piece. Now I’m moving on.”

Then do something. Do one thing towards getting back to your workouts:

  • Make an appointment in your calendar to go to the gym.
  • Make sure your gym bag is ready.
  • Plan your workout.
  • Tell someone you’re going to train and when.
  • Do a mini-workout right now (20 bodyweight squats, 15 push-ups, and a one-minute plank – three times).

Now you’ve proven your Inner Critic wrong. Now you ignore her.

2. Keep Your Head In the Game

No matter what your reason for falling off, you need to keep your head in the game. If you’ve been out of it for awhile, let’s still look at it as keeping your head in the game. You’re not totally out of it, you know. You’re a gritty girl who lifts – it will always be part of who you are.

I can’t emphasize this enough. I don’t care if you have 40 family members visiting for a month, a new job with an hour commute each way, or unrelenting irritable bowel syndrome.

You must stay connected to your “why.” 

When you go awhile without training or eating differently, your brain loses that connection. Sure, on an intellectual level you remember why you should work out (or choose better food). But it’s more of a subconscious memory and feeling that gets lost.

These are the exact words I wrote to a client a few weeks ago.

I asked her to email me when she’d completed 30 minutes of lifting over the weekend. She did.

I also told her that she must lift weights at least once a week to keep her head in the game. You might think, Well, that won’t do any good – why bother?

But it IS doing good – it’s keeping your head in the game. It’s preventing you from forgetting your goals and what it feels like to feel strong and fit. You still feel like you’re “in” it without guilt. Remember that you can’t move on without self-love and forgiveness.

That means even if you’re traveling, you’re committed to doing *something* – anything – to stay in the game. A brisk walk, lunges across the room, a dynamic warm up – these all count. It sounds very small, and it is. If you can do more, then do. But if not, do something for at least 30 minutes once a week until you are able to return fully.

Final Thoughts On Reboots

For me, training is my magic elixer; I can’t live without it. My workouts are non-negotiable, just like having a fresh-smelling body and teeth. But I know I’m in a very small minority. Getting to that point is something you can do if you want. But if you’re like most people, you just want to be consistent and see results.

There’s no failing or doing anything wrong when you fall off. It’s a neutral event that needs attention, just like anything else in your life. Think of it as a reboot and you’ve got this.

This article originally appeared on www.workoutnirvana.com.

11 thoughts on “2 Essential Techniques For Getting Back To Your Workouts

  1. As a fitness professional like yourself I always advice my clients not to rely entirely on willpower to maintain stick-to-it-iveness when life challenges arise. Instead I advice them to always begin with the end in mind, to always have a big WHY to keep motivation ongoing. Most folks just go through the workouts without a PURPOSE that can propel them forward during hard times. Do you agree or disagree?


  2. If you love working out, you probably won’t have too hard a time getting back into the groove. If not, then that’s something to focus on – finding a workout routine that is enjoyable. For me, working out is like my form of a morning cup of coffee – I need it to feel right before I can start my day. It’s my “why” as you stated towards the end. Good stuff!


  3. Hello Suzanne

    Really lovely post, most of us know that exercise is good for us, but simply knowing the benefits of exercise is not enough. We also need to be motivated and have fun, which can be tough at times! Being motivated or having fun exercising can be a real problem if you are overweight or depressed. It is really hard to imagine yourself losing weight, or feeling happy ever again. You feel really feel down and out. Sometimes just getting up in the morning can be a struggle. At that point, the thought of doing exercises for losing weight can go right out the window…

    If you work long hours, it may be hard to find the time or have the energy to exercise. Yet, the lack of exercise can cause us to be even more tired, creating a vicious cycle that becomes difficult to overcome. The key to becoming motivated sometimes is to start slow – but to start! You will feel the benefits of exercise much sooner than you might think. Obviously the benefits of regular exercise outweigh the occasional walk around the block, but any exercise is better than none. A walk can always help relieve the stress of everyday life too.

    Wishing you all the best in your future endeavors.


  4. Nice post! I’m a big fan of the mini workout approach. Just getting yourself to do something physically challenging (even if it’s light), can get you to remember why you workout in the first place. Hopefully a few mini workouts can build momentum and eventually grow into full blown workouts again.


  5. Such an insightful post for people like me who knows how much important is workout for our life but still dont practice any in day to day life. Instead of so much motivation around us it gets really difficult to workout. After reading your blog I am inspired again and will try to add this in my daily regime soon to stay healthy and fit mentally as well as physically.


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