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How Not to Return from an Exercise Break

Several sites, including this one, recommend that you take a break every 8 weeks after working out with weights. But how do you come back from that break and get back into your routine?

Does anyone suggest you just jump back in and do the same intensity as when you last left off? Definitely not.

This article will share a personal insight that I’m positive many people have faced when returning from a break or an injury. It will answer the question: how should I return to my workout after a week’s break from anything but relaxation?

Every 8 weeks I take a complete break from the weights. This allows my joints to recover, my body to heal, and gives me time to think about the next 8 weeks and my objectives. Upon returning to the gym you can take one of two approaches. Return full speed ahead, since you’ve had the rest, with the same intensity and the same weights. Or you can ease your body back into the program and re-establish the mind-to-muscle link that you have probably read about. (I suggest the second approach.)

Upon my return, I stepped up to the aerobics machine. A type of stair-master to be exact, and immediately selected level 10 out of 20. My memory recalls (if I used a journal) that I had previously been able to handle this level. By the end of the workout, I felt overworked, tired, out of breath and was at level 6. My body could handle it, but not as efficiently as it had previously. (I was not at all satisfied.)

Easing your body back into a workout for the first week allows the mind-to-muscle link to be re-established. It further allows your body to adjust to an increased level of intensity for the upcoming months. Coming back from a break and then immediately going into an overtraining mode does not entice your body or your mind want to continue the abuse.

If given the two approaches to returning from a break, I now opt for the second approach. Easing your body back into the routine will allow for a mind-muscle-link to be re-established and your progress will most likely increase. Take the first week to get accustomed to your routine (60% intensity) and the next 8 weeks to accomplish your goals (100% intensity).

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