Retraining realistically

Whether you have been injured, have given birth, or been on a fitness hiatus because of life’s twists and turns, getting back into exercise can seem to be a daunting task.  Our first thoughts immediately go back to what we used to be able to do and how we once looked before.  We compare ourselves to our past too much – usually convincing ourselves that we might as well not bother starting again because we are so far away from a place we used to know.  What we tend to forget is that it once took us a lot of discipline, hard work, and training to get to the place we once were in.  So, what makes us think we will just magically reappear there?

As many of you know I injured myself 10 LONG months ago.  I have been teaching throughout because I can’t afford not to, but my own workouts have come and gone as my symptoms change.  Although I demonstrate things in classes (very briefly, reminding everyone not to blink for fear of missing it), I have been advised to avoid single legged exercises and even lunges.  I struggle to go a day without movement, so restricting my workouts has really been a physical, mental, and emotional challenge for me over the last several months.

I have begun to use a belt meant for SI joint injuries, which has been providing me great relief. I can now begin to reintegrate my own workouts into my weekly and daily routines.  However, I feel like a new exerciser again, afraid to take the leap for fear of not meeting my own expectations of what I used to be capable of.  I am holding minimal weight, sitting for my upper body exercises, and retraining my core.  Today, I decided to take the jump, work out a little more intensely and see what happens.  I can happily say I had no pain during and minimal ache afterwards.  Success!

For those who are having similar feelings, regardless of your reason for having to put exercise on the back burner, I created a small list of things to do to help you succeed.

  1. Determine what your goals are.  A lot of us get hung up on the past rather than seeing where we are now.  For new moms, we usually think weight loss, when in reality our bodies are now being used to take care of a new human.  For someone coming off an injury, the goal may be to exercise and move pain free.  If you need to get back into a routine, maybe your goal is just that.  Too often we get hung up on weight loss, or getting back to how we used to be.  Life changes and our bodies do too.  Adapt and readjust your goals to set yourself up for success.
  2. Retrain.  Think back to the training it took you to run 5km in your fastest time, squat your body weight, or hold a plank for 1 minute.  It didn’t happen overnight.  Small steps to retraining ourselves must take place in order to accomplish our goals.  For me, I have regressed to holding planks and side planks for 10-15s at a time and repeating, to rebuild proper core and pelvic floor activation and slowly test my core further.  Check out my latest Instagram post for the video!
  3. Be realistic.  Set yourself up for success.  Plan ahead and allow yourself time to recover in between workouts, enjoy your free time with others, and not let this consume you.  For me, I take a look at my schedule for the upcoming week and plan accordingly.  It not only helps me stay accountable but it also sets me up to give my body its best chance at success.  We usually are super keen to jump in with two feet but slow and steady wins the race when getting back to movement.  Our bodies will take time to readjust.  The best way to avoid injury and further setbacks is to be honest with yourself throughout the process.

Whatever fears or reservations you have about getting back into exercise and movement, you’ve got this!  All it takes is a shift in mindset, a plan, and some patience to get back on track to feeling your best inside and out.

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.


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