In our line of work we meet clients every day who have started a fitness routine, saw results and for one reason or another, didn’t keep it up. Sometimes life happens and we can get a little off track. Family commitments pop up, sickness kicks in, or work becomes demanding. Then all of a sudden your exercise routine goes from regular to non-existent.Weeks go by without training, you rack up consecutive days of poor food choices, you are suddenly afflicted with Gravitophobia (a fear of the bathroom scales) – and as a result, you lose confidence. So the question is—how do you get out of the rut and back into routine? If you have found yourself a little off track and needing a motivation boost, here are some of our tips on how to restart your exercise habit and get back into a healthy routine.


1. Realise That Falling Off The Wagon is Normal

First off, its important to show yourself some self compassion and realise that falling off the wagon is completely normal. Persecuting yourself for falling out of routine is not actually an effective tool in the journey towards your goals. In fact, negative self-thoughts are related to an interesting concept called the limit violation effect, where people blame themselves for harmful actions, like not working out or eating unhealthy food, and end up repeating those behaviors to a greater extent to cope with the shame and guilt they experience from the harmful actions themselves.

Self-compassion is a kinder approach toward oneself; it’s the understanding that one’s experiences are part of what everyone goes through during challenging times. You simply cannot move forward if you are beating yourself up for the past. You are a work in progress and you will reach your goal a little at a time, not all at once. 


2. Set SMART Goals

A goal can encourage commitment and create a determined mindset; you have a reason to stay focused, to maintain your plan and be loyal to your decision to get back to fitness. To find out how to make SMART goals check out this article.

Make short term (30 day) goals and longer term goals. Try not to make weight loss the primary short term goal – Sometimes we see clients new to SMART Training watching the scales daily and when they see no difference after a week of eating well and training, they are left feeling frustrated and disappointed which inevitably leads right back to where they started. Remember the scales don’t take into account that you will be starting to grow muscle and change your body shape.Set goals that are based around challenging your body because exercise is a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for what you ate.

Goal suggestions: I want to be able to run 5k after 30 days of training, or deadlift 80kg, sleep better, be able to walk up the stairs in work without getting out of breath, not feel tired playing with the kids or feel more confident in my skin.  


3. Start Small

If it’s been a while since you hit the gym, keep your workout short and sweet. Starting off with short workouts will mean that you will begin to gather momentum. Not overdoing it means that you are more likely to stick with your decision to get back to fitness, it will also provide you with small wins which will only help build your confidence.

Make sure your session is full of mobility exercises at the start to reactivate the muscles and the joints and finish with lots of stretching. Take your time and adjust to the new increase in movement before starting to develop strength and enduranceCommitting to running 30 mins every day instead of a much simpler goals like running 12 mins a day only increases the risk of failure and failure can often lead to giving up. Start small. Kick ass. Increase. Repeat.


4. Think About Your Feet

Your feet are vital in exercise so it pays to buy a good-quality pair of runners to get you going. If you are not wearing the right type of footwear, a 30 minute run can seem like a lifetime. When picking a pair of runners, prioritise comfort and support not style. Avoid trainers with very little arch support and pick something durable and strong. Asics have a high arch, strong heel and can take quite a battering in the long-run if budget is tight. They are also extremely versatile so can be used as a great gym runner also. 


5. Try A 30 Day Fitness Challenge 


Research suggests that on average it takes a minimum of 21 days before new behavior becomes automatic. A good way to make fitness part of your daily routine or a habit is by setting yourself a 21 Day Challenge.  Try challenging yourself to do some type of exercise every day, or every other day, for a month.

Some gym’s have a short term fitness promotions which will allow you to commit to 30 days of training in order to create these habits and get back into a routine of fitness. SMART Training offers a 30 Day Kick Start in our gym in Churchtown, Dublin 14 for Group Training and Personal Training where you will have the accountability of supportive, friendly, motivating coaches.

If you’re not ready to commit to a long-term challenge, working out on the same days each week will help to make fitness seem like a given, rather than an option.


6. Buddy Up


Commit to a workout with a friend, book into a fitness classes, join a running group or book a session with a personal trainer. If there is someone waiting for you, you are less likely to cancel.

Share your fitness schedule with your partner, roommate or family member, and ask them to hold you to it. A good fitness buddy can make you realize that your reason for ditching a workout is weak, or remind you of the reasons you started this fitness journey in the first place. You can return the favour by keeping the other person accountable, too.


7. Change Your Have to’s to Want to’s

“No Pain No Gain”. “Go Hard or Go Home”. Have you heard those phrases. You can be forgiven for viewing fitness as an exercise in pain.  Getting back to fitness is all about Mindset. While all of the above are important tips to helping you get back on track, changing your mindset around training will lead you to long term success.  How you view fitness will inevitably effect the outcome on days when commitment levels are low. It’s time to change the have-to’s to want-to’s. 

Old: “I have to workout to get back in shape”

New: “I want to feel confident about my body again so I’m doing this”

Old: “I have to avoid all of my favorite foods”

New: “I want to feel strong and lean and be proud of my body so I will be eating whole foods today only”

Focus on what you want, not what you have to do to get there. Remember your SMART goals and use them to drive you to move forward.


30-Day Kick Start Programmes

If you feel have a goal in mind and feel that you could use a the guidance or support of some of the best Personal Trainers in the country, we offer a 30 Day Kick Start programme in our Churchtown based gym. We offer both Personal Training and Group Training programmes. During the 30 days, you’ll learn what you need to know to continue on your own path following the 30 days, or you can always sign up for 1-on-1 Training or Semi Private Training or even Group Training at SMART Training to continue working with a personal trainer.