It’s that time of year again when students are getting back into their school routines after the carefree days of summer. During the summer months, it’s easy to slack off at the gym and give yourself more flexibility in your schedule, considering vacations and summer fun take precedence. Now that the summer is ending soon, it’s time to get back to the gym and back on track toward your fitness goals.
Effects of Losing Your Gym Routine
There may be many reasons why your gym routine has deterred over the summer months—whether you’ve been focusing more on family activities while the kids are home, or even if you’re not a parent, you still may like to kick back and relax your workout schedule more during the summer. That time off, though, can possibly have a detrimental effect on your fitness level and could set you back on all the progress you’ve already made at the gym.
When you stop exercising, your muscle strength, physical stamina, and endurance can fade. You already know it takes a lot of time, work, and sweat to build up those muscles or extend your cardiovascular endurance to become more fit, but it can take even less time for those gym results to suffer. The decrease in fitness level, however, is unique for each person and depends on several factors like the type of exercise to which you were previously accustomed.
A break from strength training for 12 weeks can cause a significant decrease in muscle strength, as you’re no longer putting muscles under stress. After just two weeks of taking a break from your gym routine, the number of muscle fibers used for exercise can decrease by 13% as your body adjusts to the lower exertion level. Research has also shown that even cardiovascular fitness can show a decrease after as little as 48 hours of stopping, but you would typically not feel those effects for at least two to three weeks. While this may be discouraging, the fitter you are before your workout break means you’ll likely have a slower rate of decline during your hiatus.
When your gym routine falls by the wayside, you can also experience emotional and mental challenges. Many gym-goers use that time as a stress-reliever, and the time spent in the gym lends itself to great results, which is also a motivator. When you fall out of your exercise routine, you lose the stress relief, and your motivation may suffer.
Tips for Heading Back to the Gym
It’s okay to take occasional breaks from your gym routine, but it can be difficult to recommit to your fitness goals. Ideally, you could switch up your routine during the summer and find a place like EōS with an indoor pool or a cardio theater (MOVEōS Cinema) that helps you beat the heat and still get a great workout. Or, if you love being outside, EōS has the Back Yard outdoor workout area to help you enjoy some fresh air during your routine.
Once you’ve decided to head back to the gym, remember these tips.
Set reasonable expectations while challenging yourself
In your previous workout routine, you may have had specific goals and increased those gradually based on your progress, but after a break from the gym, you may have to readjust your fitness goals as you get back into a regular workout schedule. Set goals that you can actually achieve and stay on track.
It’s important to continue challenging yourself as you adjust to your new gym routine, but you’ll also need to pace yourself. After a summer break from the gym, you likely won’t be able to jump back into the same weight levels, reps, and intensity that you had before. Find a good starting point that’s challenging and work your way up from there. You may need to reduce the time, speed, intensity, or weights at first to avoid injury and get back into your groove.
If you’re having trouble setting appropriate fitness goals or getting back into a regular gym schedule, talk to a Personal Trainer for a customized workout plan and nutritional guidance to get you back on track.
Even when you’re easing back into a regular exercise routine, you still need to prioritize recovery time to let your muscles heal and to decrease the chance of injury. Whether you’re resting or focusing on active recovery, it should be built into your routine.
Try a new exercise
Just as students expand their knowledge with another year heading back to school, you should take this opportunity to try something new at the gym. If you’ve always been a cardio lover, try strength training with dumbbells or kettlebells. If you’ve typically always used the strength machines, opt for free weights to see how they differ. Add some variety to your routine or try something completely new with one of the many group fitness classes available at EōS.
Working on your fitness and seeing results is challenging, as it should be. And it can be even more of a challenge to hold yourself accountable to get to the gym, put in the work, and eat healthy meals that fuel your body. You may be the type of person that can commit to yourself and hold yourself accountable, but if not, enlist the help of a workout buddy or accountability partner that is trustworthy, supportive, and not afraid to give you a nudge in the right direction, when you need it.
Benefits of Going Back to the Gym
No matter how much of a break you’ve taken from the gym, whether it’s a week, a few weeks, several months, or longer, the great news is that it’s never too late to get back to a regular exercise routine. In addition to building lean muscle and improving your cardiovascular health, regular physical activity helps control your weight and combats other serious health conditions, boosts your energy, improves your mood, and helps you sleep better at night. Those benefits are difficult to ignore.
Now that the kids are back in school, get back to the gym and start realizing some of the health benefits for yourself.
If you need more guidance on what types of exercises to do and what to eat, speak to a Personal Trainer at EōS. New Members receive a Complimentary Welcome Workout to help you get started on your fitness goals.