How to get back into the gym after a long break?

This article will take you 4 minutes to read. Feel free to leave your questions in the comment section, they will be answered!

This article is written for everyone who’s not been able to go to the gym during the lockdown. It also applies to anyone else who’s had an injury or taken a break for any reason (and yes, even if you just felt like slacking for a while!).

We don’t just want to give you the normal advice you’ll see everywhere like “start slowly”, “take your time”…

It’s true, but we really want you to feel like you’ll go to the gym after reading this article and stick with it.

If you are struggling right now to find the right mindset to go back to lifting weights, then keep on reading.

Why is it so hard to get back to the gym? 

That’s the first hurdle. 

Knowing that to get back to where you were, you’ll have to work hard for it. 

You know that these first sessions will show a loss of strength and capabilities which can be frustrating and demoralising. 

Before you know it, some newbie will give you his tips on how to bench more than 80kg, when you know you’ve had a 150kg PB before. 

Yep. This is what it might feel like going back to the gym. 

You’re not what you used to be!

The first thing to know is what to expect and fully embrace it… 

Lie to yourself and be proud about it for once!

If you know you’ve lost a lot of strength, why still try to go heavy for the first session? Just lie to yourself for a little while, it won’t hurt. 

Start off light for your first few sessions. Go light enough that you wouldn’t really be able to tell the difference between then and now. 

This way, you allow yourself to take the pressure off. 

Do sessions that aren’t too hard at the start.

If you want to go hard, challenge yourself with higher reps but don’t go heavy. That does not necessarily mean having to train to failure, but getting back to that feeling of pushing is good.

You can give yourself a two-week time period, where you just re-learn how to use your muscles. 

You get used to the environment again and what it feels like to be part of a gym.

Don’t just go back to the gym to get back to where you were

Before you get back into it, ask yourself, ‘What could I actually do to improve my old routine

By doing this, in the medium term, not only are you back in the gym, but you’re also MUCH BETTER than you were before you stopped. 

This way, you really feel that even if your first sessions suck, you’re already on a much smarter program which will get you to a level you did not even imagine you’d reach before.

You’re not going back just to “put up with the gym”… You’re going there with a smarter approach.

That’s absolutely key. 

Resetting goals

This goes alongside resetting your goals. 

Before making your smarter program, you will have to write down some exciting new goals. 

Knowing where you are heading again will help you to go in the right direction.

Don’t just only go back there because you have to. 

How much do you want to bench in 5 months time?

How much do you want to squat in 3 months time?

What sized biceps are you aiming to have a year from now?

Do you want to be massive or get a very lean and athletic physique?

Bring the spark you once had!

Revive the spark which made you want to go to the gym in the first place. If this means watching a Zyzz video, oh well – do it!

Listen to the music which reminds you of the good old days: the banger which you listened to when you got your all time deadlift PB!

Build some momentum and start working out at home by doing a few push-ups a few days prior to going back to the gym!

It’s not just about lifting weights

Granted, bodybuilding kind of is about lifting weights, but how about all the friends you make at the gym?

If you have been a long time gym-goer, you know what we are talking about. Don’t tell us you have not met one of your best friends at the gym.

If you did not keep consistency in your schedule and routine back then, you would have never met this person.

Think if all the great friendships that you are missing out on while talking to your packet of crisps!

Throw the damn crisp packet in the bin and go to the gym!

Example of a re-starting program

You want to reactivate your whole body as quickly as possible!

A full body routine or close to full body for the first two weeks is a good approach before you start following your smart new program!

Let’s see what it could look like:

2 FIRST WEEKS

Monday: chest, back, legs

Tuesday: resting and stretching

Wednesday: shoulders, arms, abs

Thursday: resting and stretching

Friday: chest, back, , shoulders, arms

Saturday: abs

Sunday: resting

When you’re done with your first two weeks, you can go with the routine you have made for yourself.

If you feel like you just need one week then you can rise in intensity again right after.

Muscle memory exists

It might take a bit of time but muscle memory really exists. If you’ve worked hard in the past and had great results, know that your muscle mass will come back much quicker than you’d expect.

Would it not be interesting to experience muscle memory and see yourself improve like you’re on steroids?

Charlie in his natural bodybuilding transformation interview explains to us how he had dealt with taking a break from the gym a few times and how muscle memory was super real.

Conclusion:

Thanks for reading this article. In addition, I would like to link out to my buddy Germans, who’s made a similar article where he explains well in 9 steps how to get back into working out. It is a great addition to what you’ve just read!

If you are lacking motivation, leave us a comment below and we will answer it with our best advice!