Getting Your Groove Back When Your Fitness Routine Gets Disrupted
Sometimes we can find a groove in our fitness routine, in which we’re motivated to workout every day, we’re feeling optimal and hitting our fitness goals – what could be better! – And then everything comes to a screeching halt. Any number of unforeseen events can come along and pull you away from your groove: Getting the flu, an injury, a family emergency, personal crisis, prepping for a special event, moving, your favorite running route getting blocked off, or a relaxing holiday that becomes extra relaxing.
Returning to fitness after a disruption? Go easy on yourself. Many people tend to revert to berating themselves when they lose the path. Beating yourself up is not going to get you any more motivated. There’s nothing more taxing that feeling guilty and ashamed. Instead, you can choose to embrace that you’ll have to find a way through this.
Recently, I acquired an injury that disrupted my whole system. My favorite physical activities -yoga, hiking, running were inaccessible to me for a couple of months, after having been in a comfortable groove for some time. I had a choice: I could wallow and think wistfully about the good old days, or….I could find a way through this. In choosing the latter, I was faced with the task of being willing to try new forms of movement that wouldn’t compromise my injury or cause me pain. It was an opportunity for growth, in that I practiced willingness, adaptability and stretched out of my comfort zone.
Here are some lessons I benefited from:
1. Reduce your attachment to one way of doing things.
Although you may be really connected to the routine you have, or one type of movement; it is really essential to apply a key life skill here: the ability to adapt. Shake things up every once in a while by squeezing in a different workout.
2. Create a backup fitness plan.
Think of a fitness back-up plan as an insurance policy: Our fitness activities keep us in top form (emotionally and mentally as well) for handling life’s events and challenges. If you relied solely on one routine, then everything would fall apart if that gets disrupted in any way. If your body is used to output, you may risk becoming a little depressed when it stops movement; so be sure to have a small list of alternative ways you can get movement in, and most importantly, practice these every once in a while. Schedule in one “Plan B” workout every 2 weeks, even if it’s not your favorite. It’s kind of like a ‘fire drill’ practice: be prepared.
3. Be willing to get creative within your limitations.
Even though you may have found what works for you, if you are disrupted or limited somehow, then it’s time to think outside the box. There are many, many opportunities for physical movement, or high-impact mini-workouts for those who face time constraints. Ask fit friends about their workout preferences, ask a personal trainer to help you discover new exercises, or consult with a physiotherapist-they are great resources for planning new forms of physical movement into your life.
4. Tolerate a learning curve for your new forms of movement.
If indeed you have said yes to an exercise back up plan, be aware that you may take some time getting used to it. All mastery requires a stage of awkwardness. Also, keep your ego in check. It may convince you that because this new movement is awkward or difficult, that it’s not worth pursuing.
All throughout life we will be faced with distractions, disruptions and unforeseen events. Nothing can ever stay comfortably predictable. The facts: committing to physical wellness involves much more than finding a routine you like and sticking with it. Adaptiveness, combined with determination, topped with a consistent readiness to step out of your comfort zone -if need be- are traits of lifelong fitness devotees.