What to Do When Returning to the Gym After a Long Break

Tips to Start Training After a Break

Image credit: ireshapeu

Return to training after a long break is always difficult. The body reluctantly and with a squeak reacts to loads, groans and resists, and we try at the first training at once to fill in all the omissions, than finally we prove to our organism that returning to the gym is a bad idea. Today we are talking about how to resume lessons correctly, gradually awakening to sleep the mechanisms.

So, you decided to go back to training after a long break. Now, in order not to break down and not to abandon this venture, you need a plan that will help you to adapt physically and psychologically!

Walter Thompson, a gymnastics specialist at the University of Georgia, studied what happens to the body during a break and what to expect when you decide to start training again. The good news is that you will in any case be able to return to the previous level and become stronger, faster and more enduring. The main thing is to do it right to avoid injuries.

The termination of training or the use of loads that are not capable of maintaining the achieved level leads to de-adaptation – the process, the reverse adaptation.

De-adaptation is a remarkable ability of the body to use the released resources in other body systems. That is, resources are taken from where they are no longer used, to where the building material is needed.

How the break affected your physical fitness

During training, changes occur in many body systems. If we decide to stop, our body gradually returns to its original state. First of all, the amount of blood that usually increases, if you are constantly exercising, decreases. But this is not the only indicator. For example, for runners after only two weeks of break VO2 max falls and dyspnea appears earlier than usual.

If you take the students of a sports university and prescribe a 9-day bed rest, the VO2 max will decrease by 21%, the heart rate will drop by 10%. It’s enough 10 days of standard trainings that these indicators again came to norm.

VO2 max characterizes the ability of the body to absorb and assimilate oxygen. This indicator is fundamental in sports medicine. With his help, assess the athlete’s capabilities and prospects for his progress.
Of course, if you are an athlete and go in for sports for many years, even after three months of a break your physical condition will still be much better than the state of the average person. But this still does not mean that you will be able to reach new heights simply by getting up off the couch and running the cross.

The level of your strength does not fall so quickly. In a month, most of your skills will be preserved. A year later, about half will remain. The new capillaries that appeared to better supply your muscles with oxygen will remain with you, the heart will be strong, and the Lung volumes will be greater, and they will work more efficiently than a person who did not go in for sports.

How the break affected your physical fitness

Image credit: RogerioBeatz

There are no formulas that would allow you to accurately calculate how much you lost and how long you will recover, but there are studies that can be used to estimate the overall picture.

  • If your break was several weeks, your respiratory and cardiovascular systems will lose a few points, while the strengths will remain unchanged.
  • If the break was a year, but before that you were in good physical shape, cardio-operations will be given to you by 15% more difficult, power characteristics will fall at least half.
  • If your break was measured for years, most likely, you will have to start from scratch. But you will be making progress faster than people who did not go in for sports at all.

A new training plan will depend on why you quit and what has happened to your body during that time.

If you had to interrupt due to injury, you must be sure that you have fully recovered. Therefore, it is necessary to visit a doctor. The physiotherapist will be able to tell you about the general condition of your muscles, point out the imbalance and identify the weaknesses.

If the break was taken because of the appearance in the family of a child or a busy work schedule (you always gave the new project), you need to understand how you can find time for proper sleep and nutrition so that in the future there are no psychological and physical problems.

Recovery speed

If your break was only a few weeks (holidays or holidays), only a couple of lightweight training sessions will be enough to restore you and you will be in shape again.

But what if you did not work for a year or more? If you went to the gym, Thompson advises you to take half or a third of the weight you took a year ago, and after a few weeks try your standard kilograms. Usually the recovery takes 1-2 months.

As for the sport, which requires endurance (running, bicycle, triathlon ), the intensity will also have to be reduced. In this case, Thompson advises starting with long walks, then switching to interval running with on foot breaks or running at a very low tempo. Distance in this case does not matter.

If after two months you have not returned to the previous form, then you need to revise the training program, or even better – to find a good coach who will make it up for you, relying on your physical condition and capabilities.

What to do if you have to take a break again

In life, things happen differently, and we can not guarantee that we will never make such a big break. The main rule is not to give up physical activity completely. Let it be walks or light workouts for 10-15 minutes a day, but they must be on your schedule!

Daily walks

Image credit: cocoparisienne

Fortunately, now you can find a video with a lot of short training, both power and interval. And if you can arrange for yourself such mini-training, then it will be much easier for you to return to your previous physical form. Yes, and psychological adaptation will be easier than if you completely abandon the sport.

When training in a volume of 25-30% of the former, you can maintain your form for two to three months.

On average, the time of adaptation after a decreased physical activity (you left, and you did not have the opportunity to exercise fully) is 2 weeks.

Leave a Reply