Training and working hard day in and day out to build as much muscle as we possibly can is just a way of life that we simply cannot get enough of. It is at the core of our very being and it drives us daily to be better than we were the day before. Our schedules become dependent upon when we train, our mealtimes revolve around our workouts and the excitement that comes along with knowing that at some point during the day, we’re going to get to do what we love doing, is enough of a driving mechanism to propel anyone through the toughest of days. But what if, for some reason, going to the gym became a thing of the past for any of the numerous reasons that can arise, and all of a sudden you’ve found yourself in a situation where your daily workouts are non-existent and it’s been months and months since you curled your last dumbbell? Do you give up on what you loved because you’ve lost so much since that last workout or do you find your way back? If you ask me, I say you find your way back, build yourself back up slowly but surely and look at it as a fresh start to doing what you’ve known for so long and here’s how you do it.

Design a Training Program and Stick To It

Undoubtedly so, you most likely have a significant collection of exercises stored in your memory that you could perform each day as you make your way back to where you left off. Unfortunately, in my opinion, I don’t necessarily think that just relying upon what you used to do is going to be your best place to start things back up again. In fact, I don’t think it’s a good idea at all simply because it allows for way too much leeway with what you need to be doing. So rather than approaching the situation as such, take the time and sit down to design a properly structured training program with a list of exercises you’ll perform within the training split you decide upon and stick to it like glue. This will give you something to focus on, something to work on getting better at with each week that passes, something to gauge your progress and something to take ownership of as you are your comeback. By doing this, you’ll know that each day back is a mission for you to accomplish in that you have to be better than you were the week before and that in itself will be motivating enough to keep the fire burning and the weights moving up and down.

Fix Your Diet

Secondly, if you’re going to be putting all of that new effort into your training, then you may as well complement it with a sound diet plan. I have heard many people say that they’re just going to focus on the workouts first after their lay off and then slowly work on the diet. Again, I say bad idea as your training will only be that much better if you’re eating correctly. You cannot have one without the other if you’re serious about your return and you should be if you’re going to dedicate this much time and effort out of your day for training. So again, sit down and take the time to properly construct a diet that will meet your energy needs, meet the requirements for progress and set you up for a positive experience as you ease your way back into things. The worst thing that could happen upon your re-entry into this world is nothing. When I say nothing I mean that nothing positive occurs and you get frustrated and annoyed by the fact that you aren’t changing at all. This will most likely be the case if you don’t focus on your nutrition right out of the gates. You want results quickly as it will be both encouraging and rewarding at the same time so get your diet right as soon as you start, meaning have set meals in place at the right intervals throughout the day, so you can move your comeback along at the right pace.

Don’t Rush Things Strength-Wise

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Probably the biggest obstacle you’ll have to overcome upon your return is how much strength you’ve lost since your last workout. There’s no denying the fact that you are going to be weak, relatively speaking of course, by comparison to what you used to be able to do. This is by far the most frustrating and discouraging feeling you will have as you make your way back. In this regard, time is going to be your friend and patience is definitely going to be a virtue. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but it’s just a fact. You will not be able to push, pull or press anywhere near what you used to be able to do and nor should you for fear of injury. The good news, however, is that it will all come back and muscle memory is a real thing that does exist so you just have to keep all of that in mind as you progress through your weeks of training.

Along with building your strength back up, you are most likely going to be really, really sore as your muscles won’t be used to the daily beating of the weights and acclimating to that will also take time and its toll. For this reason, I highly suggest you add a couple of phenomenal supplements into your daily protocol as these products will significantly improve your rate of recovery and speed things up strength-wise as well. You’re going to want to use BCAA 4500, GL3 l-glutamine, and VP2 Whey Isolate. Use the protein shakes all throughout the day putting a serving of the GL3 in each one and take the BCAA’s before, during and after training. If you do all of this, your strength, size and recovery needs will all be taken care of. 

So there you have it, a sure-fire way to get yourself back into the game after having to take a longer than expected lay off for whatever your reason may be. It’s not the end of the world if this occurs and it has occurred to many of us at one time or another. Sometimes multiple times over the years, however the most important thing to do in these circumstances is simply find your way back. Whether it is to the magnitude that it once was or to a lesser degree, all that matters is that you eventually get back to what you love doing and view the time off and subsequent start-up as a fresh new start back into a lifestyle you once lived and enjoyed. When one thing ends something new has to replace it and I can’t think of a better place to start a new adventure than in the gym. Welcome back, friend!

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Building Back Up: A Fresh Start After a Long Lay Off

by Dana Bushell time to read: 6 min