Have you ever spent months away from your normal fitness routine before deciding to return? How did it feel? Were you confused where to pick up from? Did you try to return to your original intensity from the get-go? Or did you feel your way back to fitness? Well, these questions went through my head when I decided to return to working out after two and a half months away, due to a freak injury. This is what I did.
When I’m working out regularly, it’s safe to say that it becomes the central organising principle of my day. I like to work out in the morning, before my workday begins, and it does wonders for my concentration levels. As an excellent article by one of Lounge’s fitness writers, Pulasta Dhar, points out, the human body’s hormonal profile is at its peak in the morning, which makes it the best time to burn fat and build muscle. An hour and a half of warmup, workout and cooldown, followed by a hearty breakfast is a wonderful routine that I’d advise everyone to adopt.
The past year and a half of the covid-19 pandemic has been hard for everyone, and one of the ways I dealt with the isolation and the anxiety is to lean into fitness. And it worked wonders, until a freak accident in June rendered my left hand pretty much unusable. There was no question of working out till it had healed. Which it did, thankfully, in a month or so. But by then the easy life of not having to swat it out for an hour everyday had become my new routine. And it took a while to break that and ease my way in.
I know, from past, bitter experience, what the pitfalls are of returning to full-fledged weight training after months of inactivity. If you do so, you’re basically setting yourself up for an injury. So I decided to get back slowly. When I was working out, I had a full workout split in place for the entire week, taking in separate training days for shoulders, arms, chest, legs and cardio. I figured that I would give myself up to three weeks to work up to that level of intensity. But how was I to begin?
The answer was resistance bands! I’ve written about my love for them before. You can use bands of different weights to get a fantastic workout everyday. And since bands have their roots in physical therapy, they’re a great option if you’re looking to go easy on your joints while working on your range of motion (ROM). So I started with two of my favourite full-body band workouts on YouTube, beginning with a ten-minute workout by Bully Juice.
It’s a great follow-along workout that you can do twice if you workout for longer. And I did this every other day for about 10 days, and enjoyed the feeling of better conditioning and the sense of my mind-muscle connection re-establishing their bond.
And that’s where I am now. Next, I plan to move on to the tougher and longer full-body band workout by Christine Curry. This is another follow-along workout which really puts you through your paces. I reckon that after another ten days of doing this, I will feel fit and confident enough to return to strength training.
If you, like me, have been slacking off from working out for whatever reason, I’ll tell you this. Recent research has shown that it’s easier to get back to a life of fitness than you think. The body is an amazing thing and it remembers the fitness conditioning you put it through when you did work out. Once you resume—slowly, slowly— it will all come back to you. Remember, when it comes to fitness, patience is the name of the game.