How To Get Back In Shape After Time Out

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Every year brings with it new opportunities for a fresh start, and to begin the year with renewed vigour, many of us often choose to make this the year that we work hard to get ourselves back in shape again. This is always a good idea, we can always be better than we currently are, and not just in the physical sense! We know that for many members of the Program, the hard work hardly stopped, you continued through the holiday period and are ready to step it up a notch this year again. 

Regardless of your starting point today, we hope that reading this you find a little extra guidance to help you move forwards into the new year, beyond January, with tremendous success. 

A common block to getting back in shape.

We have seen this commonly over the years in clinical practice, as well as more recently with members joining us around the end of January or early February. The hype and approach to January is often so significant that we get into things that are simply too much too soon. Accidents happen, form is not mastered, and injuries occur. The frustration with these injuries is that they’re so easily avoided. The activities that led to the injury are not necessary either!

When you’re starting out in January it is so tempting to look for the most intensive, fat burning, all in workouts that challenge you relentlessly, and why wouldn’t you! It’s great fun, feels like the job is being done and many of us will thrive in both the community atmosphere as well as the competitive environment! 

If we took a step back, and asked ourselves, what our goal was on January the 1st, it probably wasn’t “to get back in shape for January only”. It was more likely, “to finally get back in shape”. Or more explicitly, getting back in shape without reverting to “out of shape” immediately afterwards! 

With this in mind we think we’ve put together a pretty good framework to help you this year! We know that many members in the Program have continued to move from one year to the next getting fitter, stronger and more healthy in general. Sure there are blips along the way, colds, work & life events that get in the way, but on the whole there is a multi year upward trend in health and wellbeing. This is what we want for you this year, for some, it’s a reminder, for others, it’s new! 

Getting back in shape starts with a plan!

We know that many of you reading this are members, and great for you, as you already have a plan, but we’ll get more granular on that in a moment. For those of you that aren’t already, chances are you’re not an expert in these things, and we mean that with no disrespect. We’ve mentioned many times how inadequate we would likely feel if we were to follow you around at your workplace and try to “do your job”. Much better we simply follow your instruction. Yet when it comes to exercise, people often try to patch together exercises online or even just workouts without that guidance on where it is going. 

If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.

And, as many of you will know, 

It’s not so much what you’re doing, but how you do it.

These little one liners sound great but the meaning behind them is so profound. When we just choose exercises or even a workout, without the understanding of how to do it going forwards over time we will not get the results we’re looking for! 

For example, so many fall into the trap of doing the same workout with the same weights and reps for months on end! If you could already do the workout, you’re working within the realms of what can already be done, why would your body adapt? It only changes if you consistently challenge the body, signaling that it must undergo change in order to adapt to the consistent new demand.

Workouts and exercises you’re doing should follow this principle and be constantly enhanced. An important distinction here is that the same exercises in the same workout with increasing weights addresses the issue. So if last month you were using a yellow 10lb band and this month a 20lb band, you’re doing more, great! But 6 months on, you’re doing something wrong if you’re still using the 10lb band! 

You need a plan, that means exercises, within workouts, that progress over time.

Minimise unnecessary injury opportunities when getting back in shape

If you are an athlete, perhaps professional sports person, or someone pursuing sport in the competitive arena, explosive strength, and plyometric training is going to be necessary, you’ll need leaping and bounding, and to train impact movements like squat jumps, and burpees to simulate a competitive came scenario. And no doubt you’ve been doing this sort of training with these sorts of forces for many years, often since childhood, your body has adapted to this. Great!

In the same breath we know that almost everyone in the program is not the above person, so why look to add in squat jumps, burpees and the like, if you have a vulnerability in your back or bad knees, this sort of impact training, as fun and intense as it might be, is wholly unnecessary!

Have an honest look in the mirror, why are you doing this? 

  • Improve your energy,
  • Feel less pain
  • Improve your heart health
  • Better sleep
  • Better blood sugar control
  • Lose body fat & recomposition
  • Get fitter in general
  • Have the mobility to play with the kids or grandkids
  • Partake in leisure activities

There are many more besides these but generally they are simple objectives to improve your quality of life. If this is the case, then focusing on workouts like the ones we recommend in the program are going to be more than sufficient to get you back in shape. 

A focus on larger compound movements that involve many muscle groups together that can be scaled with resistance bands or weights allows you to make real improvements in strength and body condition over the weeks, months and years. 

If you’re finding the exercises too easy, we urge you to reach out to us, chances are that you’re either not following the video pacing, or your weight selections are too light and therefore there will be a need to dial these resistances a little to reach the desired intensity.

Do yourself a favor this year, and leave out any of the high impact exercises, you don’t need them and you’ll have much more long term success without them!

The best approach to getting in better shape this year!

Firstly, we’ve got the plan, and we’re not doing anything silly, see the last section! Now for all of you, take note that the last few weeks have likely involved some out of the ordinary activities, probably more calorific, sugar and alcohol intake than usual so give yourself this first week to take it easy, don’t go out and try to conquer Everest! Get back in the groove first with a 70-75% effort routine or workout.

Next step, for those of you in the program, whichever Phase you’re in, resolve to move yourself up to the next intensity, so if that’s from 3 sets  of 10, go to 4 sets. If you’re at the end of Phase Two, move to Phase Three, if you’re using certain bands in your workouts, use a stronger one. Whichever step up you choose, do one of these in the second week and stick at it. Sometimes you’ll need to give yourself a little extra rest between sets in the first week at this new intensity and that’s ok. Stick at it over the next few weeks and you’ll find, like we mentioned earlier, that your body will start to adapt, you won’t need that extra rest!

Usually after about 3 to 5 weeks you’ll find the workout starts to become much more comfortable, still a challenge, but nowhere near the first week. From there, you can make another step up in the resistances or “intensity” you’re doing, just like we mentioned in the last paragraph.

It really is that simple, so long as you’re making these small step ups in intensity every month to 6 weeks, you’ll find you have steady conservative improvement. 

It’s not glamorous, but it works, and by the time the summer comes round, you’ll be a different person! 

5 Extra Tips To Get Back In Shape Successfully!

If you want to take it a step further here are 5 extra things you can do to help support your efforts and really get yourself back in shape this year!

  • Discipline yourself with food. This means cutting out junk food and following some form of dietary regimen. So long as you’re meeting your calorie needs, and protein needs, and your food is whole, real, unprocessed foods. A tip for this would be that the food’s ingredients are the name of the food. For example, broccoli only has one ingredient, like steak only has one ingredient, just like an apple, cheese and milk again would be options. Don’t overcomplicate it!
  • Drink more water. Especially on days you work out, and if you’re working out hard, sweating a lot, look at adding a tiny bit of salt to your water to help replace some of the salts being lost in sweat, particularly if you experience cramping!
  • Commit to a regular bedtime/wake time. Your body loves consistency, we spend huge amounts of energy preserving consistency in our own internal environment, your hormones, energy levels and much more will all benefit from regularity when it comes to sleep. Remember that sleeping is when we heal, regenerate and benefit from our workouts so get this right!
  • Sustainable schedule. If you’re doing “hard workouts” commit to a number of sessions each week that is sustainable, i.e. 3-5 sessions. Sometimes we overcommit to our sessions in our motivated January the 1st condition and find by the 10th of January we’re sick of it, workouts are taking over our life. You can get amazing results from 3-5 sessions a week if you’re working out properly, granted for those of you earlier on in the Program this one isn’t relevant, but those of you that are later on this is a crucial one for long term success!
  • Share Success. If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together” so many members share their success in the group as well as their challenges, being part of a community in 2023 can make all the difference. There is something about sharing your challenges and success with others and having others share theirs with you. We’re all human and we can’t always be great, sometimes when our motivation lapses, reading of others on the same journey can be just the pick me up you needed to push on to the next level.
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