How to get back to training after a long break?
Alexandre Vallot (28) is a French coach in Paris. He has been coaching for 6 years now. From pro athletes to regular folks trying to simply stay in shape, he likes to train anyone with a purpose and a desire to progress in their fitness journey. He does not only want his clients to be motivated while he coaches them, but he wants them to create a mindset that they will carry forever.
Today we go down the list of 5 important factors to consider when you want to get back in a training routine after a long break: your nutrition, your training plan, your routine, your relationships, and the goals that you have.
1 – Back to eating healthy
Weight is not the number one indicator of your fitness level and you should not stress about it too much unless you compete in a sport with weight classes. However, weight can be a way to measure your eating habits, which can tell if you have been eating less or more. Therefore, keeping an eye on your weight can be beneficial. Being inactive for a long time can lead to some unwanted weight gains.
What is your tip for people going back into training regarding their eating habits?
ALEX – First of all, it really depends who you are talking to. If we are talking about an experienced person, it is “easier” to have a strict approach. Usually the person knows what it takes, and you can be stricter for the first couple of weeks in order to really get back to the shape you want.
However, if you are talking about an unexperienced fitness enthusiast, you cannot cut back too fast. You need to take steps, otherwise it will not last. I like to not use the word “diet” as it sounds scary to most people, and just talk about making small adjustments day after day. First cut the extra drinks, then dial back on the snacks, add some veggies etc. But if you cut too much too fast, you risk ending up in this “new year resolutions” type of vibe, where goals vanish after a month.
2 – Finally training again
No matter the reason, not being able to train for awhile is going to have effects on your body and your mind. Some people will feel (too) excited about going back to the gym and may risk injuries. Some people may have lost the motivation and will find it hard to go back. For all those cases, how do you get back into training mode?
ALEX – You should not imagine going back to the gym as the perfect scenario where you are motivated, you are stress-free, you perform the same… Things have changed ! However, one thing that has not changed is how beneficial “moving” is for your body. Whether it is 10, 30 or 50 minutes, moving at least twice a week will do wonders. Your motivation will come back slowly but surely and seeing your body change and adapt is the best boost you can hope for.
However, do not try to do too much or too complicated too soon. Same as the nutrition part, take steps towards coming back to your routine. Those steps can include a training partner or a coach! This is the best way to stay motivated as you are now accountable to someone else. If you are a Compex user, use the Compex app to plan your training sessions, share your results with your friends and see your progress.
3 – Going back to a routine?
Lots of people have a fitness routine. You train around the same time of the day, you eat at the same hours, you sleep about the same amount every night etc. When that has been broken for a while, people may be lost when it is training-time again! How do you help people get back to their routine?
ALEX – You need to realize that in this situation, time is your best friend. Getting back slowly but surely is the best recipe to a successful come-back. You should also be open to changes in your fitness routine, and not desperately want it to be the same as before. Adding new movements and training methods can do wonders to your body. So why not start by trying something new? Bodyweight workouts, yoga, Compex-Training… You used to be a gym-rat that loves pumping weights? Try new sports and workout methods, your body will love it.
4 – The influence of your close friends
The fourth point may be left aside by a lot of people but is more important than we think. The influence that our friends and family have on our choices in life is huge. You cannot stop talking to people just because they do not motivate you, so how do you deal with your closest relationships when it comes to your motivation to be healthy?
ALEX – Like you said, you cannot stop talking to people just because they do not agree with you, otherwise you will not keep many friends! There are two different types of people in my opinion. First is the closest friends, then you have the people around you that are the closest to your training habits. Your friends might be party-people and maybe you get invited to diners often. However, the most important is: where do you train? Do you have a coach? Are these friends also training buddies? Having friends to party-with is not an issue, as long as you have a fitness circle to stay right on track with your goals. Once again, it is all about balance
5 – Defining your goals
Setting goals can be challenging. The way you write down a goal can instantly tell whether you will be successful or not. We hear often people say, “I want to be stronger” or, “I want to lose fat”. These statements are never to be fulfilled. The reason is: they cannot be measured. 1kg of fat lost will not make you happy. However, you still “lost weight” and according to your goal, you are successful. But we all know this is not how you will be happy. How do you help people set goals the best way possible?
ALEX – For me, the first step is defining who do you want to become. Do you want to be a professional athlete, do you want to be a fit mum, do you want to look good at the beach… These are all different approaches. When you have defined that, you can create a ten-step plan towards your goal. These steps must be small challenges, attainable, measurable, and realistic. For example, your first step could be “Eat three whole fruits per day this week”, or “Exercise 20 minutes, three times this week”. These steps are measurable and realistic, they will open the path to success in your fitness journey. I know it sounds all Instagram-ish but setting goals measurable and realistic goals is the number one key to success.