In the last 2 weeks I have been struggling with something that I never have before. Sure, I
have read countless articles surrounding the subject matter, but let me tell you – there is
definitely a difference between reading about it and experiencing it. I’m talking about
getting yourself BACK ON TRACK.
No matter what situation you have found yourself in; whether you skipped a week at the
gym because work was just “AHHHHH!”, missed 2 weeks due to illness, or whether you’re
like me and took off a full 3 months to go travelling all around Europe – we all face the
prospect of walking our bums back through those gym doors, and kick starting our regular
routine once again.
As I mentioned, the prospect of starting the whole ‘squat to dumbbell backflip thingy
followed by a billion kilometres on the rower’, was seriously daunting to me. I knew it was
going to be hard, and I would have to face the fact that I would be much weaker after my
time off, so in order for you to have a much smoother transition back into reality than mine
has been so far, here are four tips that I have been using to increase motivation, and
redevelop my healthy habits.
1. Talk to Yourself…CONSTRUCTIVELY
One of my favourite entrepreneurs Tom Bilyeu recently said “The things you believe about
yourself are so crazy, that your worst enemies don’t think about you the way you think about
Once you realise that self-talk is a choice, then you have the power to change it.
Take this example, you’re coaching a kid’s soccer team and you’re helping a child improve
their kicking skills. You wouldn’t tell the child that they are hopeless at kicking, and they
should never go near the ball because they’re a bad player. You would complement them on
their work ethic and enthusiasm, them provide one or two key tips for what they could do
to improve. So why do we not do the same for ourselves?
Instead of berating yourself for missing a few sessions (or three months like yours truly),
recognise how hard you have worked to this point, and what you have got out of life from
your time off! It is also worthwhile reminding yourself that the ‘#GAINS’ you have made in
the gym so far, aren’t just going to evaporate from your body after one week off (the body
is far more forgiving than that)!
Once you have acknowledged your effort, sit down and be constructive with yourself. Think
of how you may improve or change the situation that lead you to miss sessions, but
remember to make sure these changes are realistic. For example, if work is starting to pile
up, set a couple of times throughout the week where you literally block out your schedule
for the gym, and stick to those times each week. Turn off your phone/s. Let the hubby make
dinner for the kids. Tell your boss that exercise increases productivity if you have to!
Whatever you have to do to help you get back into your exercise regime.
2. Set a Goal
Being completely honest, when I was younger I used to hate goals. When my trainer asked
me what new goals I wanted to set, I sounded like I was reading an advert on the side of a
bus that went a little something like ‘I want to get bikini body ready’ or ‘I want to go a whole
week without eating XYZ’. Now I’m not saying these are “bad” goals, but for me they just
weren’t motivating or specific enough.
I knew that returning from a whirlwind European summer, I would have no job, no stable
place to live, and pretty much no money. So, before I landed I set myself some goals which
were going to make my transition back to normal life much easier.
For the gym, my mission was to do 1-2 sessions in my first week back (subject to jetlag),
followed by 2-3 sessions in my second and third week, and 4-5 sessions in the weeks after
that. It hasn’t been so much about absolutely smashing myself each session like what I was
doing before I left in June, but more about reforming the habit of getting up and going! I’m
currently only in my second week back, and honestly, it’s been really tough, particularly in
this rainy weather. I’ve almost had to trick my mind into believing I’m going for coffee, but
then actually driving myself to the gym…but it’s working!
My point is, if you’re able to develop a goal for yourself, something like the number of times
you will go to the gym, or the number of walks/runs you will complete in a week, you have a
platform to build on, a base which you can gradually improve upon, and before you know it,
you’ll be back to where you were before your time off! Keep in mind though that progress
doesn’t happen overnight, and depending on the length of time you have taken off, and
specific circumstances such as sickness, it will take varying degrees of time to work back up
to your previous physical state. So just be patient and consistent.
3. Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance
If you are heading to the gym for a solo session without your trainer, my advice is to always
go with a plan. The last thing you want is to be leaving the gym after having done two sets
of one exercise because you got frazzled and couldn’t think of what to do next (been there,
don’t that…don’t recommend).
For some lucky people out there, I’m sure they can head to the gym with no set plan in
place, and smash out an amazing workout, but for those people out there like me, I always
need to have a clear idea of what I am going to complete before I go.
Before I did my personal training certification, and completed my health degree, I used to
get my workouts from different google sites, and if there was an exercise I didn’t know, or
couldn’t complete, I simply replaced it with something else that worked on the same muscle
groups. Now however, I am knowledgeable enough formulate my own programs, but if you
don’t feel comfortable enough to do this, ask your trainer if they are able to write you
something you can complete on your own. Too simple!
4. Rest and Hydrate
We hear it all the time that we don’t sleep enough and that we should drink more water,
and when getting back on track, it is no different!
Getting adequate sleep and remaining hydrated, aid in cell repair and growth, improved
neurological function, and boost energy levels and mood. It is quite often that when we
become preoccupied with the stresses of life, we fall out of habit with these two, which can
be detrimental to our health both in the short and long term, leading to more illness,
increased fatigue, reduced physical recovery, and much more.
Two of the easiest ways you can help return your body to its regular patterns when getting
back on track is to (as childish as it may sound) set yourself a bedtime so you know you are
going to get between 7-8 hours of sleep each night, AND carry around a water bottle with
you to ensure you are drinking enough water throughout the day. By doing these you’ll feel
more energised, you’ll be more focused throughout the day, and you will recover faster.
So, I hope that if you are ever feeling a little lost after taking some time out, these simple
tips will help you to bounce back into your health habits easily and quickly.
Spaghetti Bolognese with Zoodles
- 500g grass-fed lean beef mince
- Diced tomatoes (400g can)
- 1 red onion chopped roughly
- 1 clove garlic finely diced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- ½ tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 zucchinis spiraled into noodles (“zoodles”)
- Handful of wholemeal spaghetti
- Place a pot of water over stove, and set to boil.
- Heat a non-stick saucepan over low heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic, cook
- Add the mince, and cook until just brown.
- By this point the water should be boiling, so add the spaghetti and cook as directed
- Add the remaining ingredients to the mince, and stir well, allowing to simmer for 5-
- Whilst the mince is simmering, over medium heat, place the zoodles in a saucepan
and toss for 5mins until cooked to desired texture.
- Once cooked, drain spaghetti and return to pot. Add the cooked zoodles and mince
to the pot, and gently stir.
- Serve and enjoy!
- This meal is also fantastic to take to work the next day for lunch!
Coffee Protein Balls
- 1 cup medjool dates, pitted (around 10-12)
- 88g desired chocolate protein powder (2 scoops)
- ¼ cup brewed coffee
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more for coating
- Place dates in a food processor, and combine until paste consistency
- Add the remaining ingredients, and mix until well combined and sticking together
- Roll into balls, and freeze for 20mins, or serve immediately
- Balls can be kept in the fridge or freezer for up to 1-2weeks
- Try using vanilla or caramel flavoured protein powder to mix it up!
- These snacks are great before or after a gym session