Tips From Fitness Experts On How To Get Back Into Working Out After Time Away

If there was ever a time when even the most dedicated fitness fanatics risk falling out of good habits, it's the holiday season. The days are short, the nights are long, the weather is cold, and there are extra treats calling your name. Before you know it, you're snoozing through your morning gym alarm and swapping your evening walk for one more episode of your favorite show, complete with a glass of eggnog and festive sugar cookies.


Fast forward to spring and all your hard-earned progress and habit formation has gone out the window. Is it possible to recover your groove and get it all back? Glam asked Hillary Lewis and Yaya Margarita, co-founders of Shine Society Fitness in Redondo Beach, California. Fortunately, their answer was a resounding yes. Here's the wisdom these experts shared with us about how to get back into the habit of working out after you've hit pause for a while. 

Manage your expectations

The fact that you were working out for 90 minutes four days per week before you took two months off does not mean you should attempt to resume your exercise program at that same level. "When you're getting back into a routine, don't put pressure on yourself to do a full hour workout," Hillary Lewis and Yaya Margarita explain. "Start with a 10-minute online workout or a 20-minute walk outside, two to three days a week."


At this point, the goal is to get back into the habit of setting aside time for working out on a routine basis, not to crush all your fitness markers. Set aside your pride and choose simple beginner-level workouts that won't feel intimidating to show up for. Once you've given yourself some easy wins and re-solidified your routine, you can increase the difficulty and length of your workouts to match your actual fitness level. 

Plan ahead

You likely use some sort of digital calendar to keep track of appointments along with work and personal obligations. Why not treat your workout like a non-negotiable meeting with yourself? "Put it in your calendar," Hillary Lewis and Yaya Margarita advise. "Schedule your workout sessions for the week on your calendar or better yet, make a reservation at a local fitness studio." If you struggle to find motivation in your calendar app, scheduling a fitness class or an appointment with a personal trainer should get you moving. 


These strategies don't only add an aspect of financial investment. They also create a situation where other people are expecting you to show up for them and for yourself. This can make a huge difference in your follow-through, especially if you tend to be a bit of a people pleaser. If you have a history of working out purely at home and are struggling to get back into your routine, it might be time to invest in a gym membership. Investing in your own success offers a unique boost in motivation, especially if you've never done so before.

Set realistic goals

Once you've started working out again, don't automatically assume that your original fitness goals still apply. Your circumstances may have changed or your goals may have been less than realistic in the first place. "Make sure you are realistic when it comes to your short- and long-term goals. If you eventually want to work up to four to five days a week of exercise, start with two-three shorter workouts and build from there," Hillary Lewis and Yaya Margarita suggest. "Fitness and wellness is a long-term choice, not a quick fix." 


Consider planning out a few non-food-based rewards you can commit to making happen for yourself when you reach each pre-determined goal. These can be anything from a pair of designer shoes you've been eyeing for years to a solo day trip to the beach. Focus on the items and experiences you often put off in order to prioritize other people or obligations. 

Find support

Support and accountability are absolutely essential when you decide to start prioritizing your health and fitness again. This is especially true if you are one of many women balancing work obligations with parenting, maintaining a healthy marriage or long-term relationship, and caring for a home. Putting your own wellness on the back burner while you care for every other aspect of your life is frighteningly easy to do and before you know it, years of self-neglect can pass by.


Hillary Lewis and Yaya Margarita encourage you to "find someone in your close circle who will go with you or just support you in your journey! It could be a best friend or your significant other, who would watch the kids or make dinner for you while you're making time for yourself." In return, you can offer this same support to them, building a strong foundation for both your physical health and your social well-being. 

Exercise self-compassion

What would you say to a close friend or family member who was struggling to keep up with their workout routine? Would you tell them that they're lazy or unworthy? Probably not. So, why would you treat yourself that way when you face the same struggles? "You'll have moments where you will want to quit or where you'll get off the routine you've been trying to stick to. That's life! Consistency and baby steps toward your goal will pay off eventually if you just get back on the train when you can," Hillary Lewis and Yaya Margarita explain. "Ultimately, you'll feel like a better version of yourself when you're making time for self-care and wellness."


Expect to experience the ups and downs of life because they aren't going away any time soon. However, every time you make the choice to go back to your fitness routine, it will become easier to get back up when you fall in the future. It's all part of the process. Just don't give up!