How do you get back into the routine after the holidays?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 09:16

A new year often brings about new goals and new beginnings … but it doesn’t always have to be about “new”. Quite often we have established good training programs and behaviours that are already working for us, but perhaps over the holidays things came up and we need a boost to get back on track. Holidays may mean that we’ve taken time off, relaxed our routines, had our routine thrown off by travel, gotten too busy, or indulged in some holiday celebration and there’s nothing wrong with that. Bodies need a change in routine sometimes to stimulate adaptation, so why not use this as an opportunity to re-energize your training. All we may need is a few simple steps to get back into the rhythm.

Tips for getting back into a training routine:

  • Take it slow

After time off your body has naturally begun a deconditioning process. It will take time to rebuild your stamina, endurance and strength to where it was before you took a break. You will need to start into your training program a level or two down from where you were when you left off depending on how low it has been since you trained.

Make sure to include a solid warm up and cooldown period to your workout, not only will this help to get your body ready for exercise and recovery, it will help maximize your training efforts and reduce risk of injury.

  • Set goals … build commitment

Create achievable goals. These should be small commitments that can be built on to create motivation and commitment. Starting small can be more challenging than you think but can be big when it comes to building confidence and momentum. But don’t give up, decide on a minimum timeframe for staying with the program and stick to that, but make it short term.

Give yourself a specific challenge, whether it is a weekly or monthly challenge. By breaking things down into a smaller timeframe it won’t feel as overwhelming. Also, make use of a calendar to schedule in your goals/commitments, so they are concrete and you can be accountable to them.

  • Start off easy … create progression

Build on the goals you’ve set. Don’t push too hard at the start. As mentioned earlier, start at a lower level of intensity and volume from where you ended off and build a progression within your successive workouts. By setting a series of attainable goals and creating that momentum, you will regain your training levels at a healthy rate. This allows your body to assimilate the physical adaptations it is responding to.

  • Listen to your mind and body

Make sure that you are in the proper mindset to re-start your program. Check in both mentally and physically to regain your positive focus. Make sure your priority is based upon what you need to do to make yourself feel good. Celebrate the milestones and accomplishments to remind yourself you are on the right track.

Pay attention to how your body is responding to your training. Even if you’ve only taken a short break your systems will need to readjust to exertion. Watch yourself for proper technique and moderate intensity to fit with where you are at in your training progression.

  • Avoiding injury

The last thing that you want to experience when retuning to a training routine is an injury. Being mindful of the tips above will go a long way towards avoiding injuries. There will be an expectation of muscle soreness after a period of inactivity. If you’ve been away for a longer period of time, perhaps it is a good time to check in with a coach or trainer to re-establish your program. It may also be smart to check in with a medical professional for any strains or pains that may crop up during this time. Ignoring a small problem may create a larger one long term if not treated or managed properly.

Re-establishing your training routine does not have to be an arduous chore. Keeping a few simple tips in mind can help you rebuild and re-commit to your training routine. Don’t give up, and build on each small success.


Cardiello, J. Jump back into your fitness routine. Shape.

Prather, C. How to start again after a break (from the gym or your diet).

Sports Medicine. (2015). 5 Fit Tips for Returning to Fitness after the Holiday Hiatus. UPMC HealthBeat.

Skye, E. (2016). 9 simple ways to start exercising again after a break. Women’s Running.