Habits are great until they´re not and you have to start all over again … and you should be ok with that.
Life happens and sometimes that means that existing patterns and routines, what we often refer to as habits, get disrupted.
When the disruption last for an extended period of time we can get frustrated with ourselves, become discouraged, and throw in the towel.
This experience is all too familiar to me. Since relocating overseas, I took a sabbatical from some of the habits that I developed over the past 8 years.
I disregarded the habits around nutrition and fitness that had served me so well in my adult life and just threw myself into the experiences afforded to me in southern Spain. It´s been fun, but honestly, not the healthiest way to approach life.
Lack of a regular sleeping pattern, over indulging in pastries and food in general, as well as an increase in the amount of alcohol all led to a 15lb weight gain and an increase to 15% body fat (my average is 10% in summer and 12% during winter months).
To be honest, this was completely my choice, but now it´s time to get back to a level of health and fitness that I know is possible for myself.
Here are some of the steps I´m taking to help reestablish the habits that result in feeling healthier, more energized, focused, and overall loving life – even more.
1. Don´t be hard on yourself. Simply make the decision to start again and take the first step in that direction.
2. Start with one area and then move on to the others. Making the decision to start working out again made it easier to slowly shift into better nutrition and sleeping habits.
3. Take inventory of the things you were doing when you were feeling the best you´ve ever felt. Write those things down. Questions like, what activities were present and how did those activities affect me? For me, I noted that I had a steady practice of going to the gym and had consistent times to eat and sleep. I focused on clean eating during the week, but allowed for whatever I wanted on the weekends - keeping it within moderation.
4. Start with what´s familiar. I started by doing workouts at home. I purchased a pullup bar and resistance bands and pulled out an old work out program and adapted it to the equipment I had. This evolved into joining a gym . I pulled out a 12-week strength training program I used years ago to get started. Having a plan is critical! It takes away the feeling of something being random and allows for a disciplined approach.
Full disclosure, the head games of the gym for me would have been somewhat demoralizing if I had not started with home workouts first. I would have attempted to go too heavy too soon. The home workouts help set the foundation for a smoother transition to the gym. It´s easy to give into ego, especially when you know you´ve done more in the past. So take time to set that baseline and build from there. Go slow. There´s an old saying in the gym, “Slow you grow.”
5. Attitude: I´m not in there to “kill the workout.” I´m there with no pressure on myself to PR or impress anyone else around me. At my age, showing up to do the work is impressive enough. My attitude is to do my best and keep improving by 1% every workout. That looks like 2.5-5 kilos per week added on from the week prior. I´m there to work hard, but also have fun in the process.
6. Do it with a partner (if you can). For most of my life I´ve worked out alone and managed to stay motivated and make some gains, but it´s different when you have the right partner. I had my most impressive gains, whether in the gym or running, when I was doing it with a partner or a part of a club/team.
These are the steps I´m taking and I hope that you will find them helpful. Feel free to add to this list in the comments.
If you need help getting back into it, reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here´s to a happier healthier you!