Are you ready to transform your fitness journey from being stalled to sensational? Have you decided (finally) to leave all your excuses behind and become a stronger and healthier you? Life’s twists and turns may have distracted you from your fitness goals. Don’t feel disheartened, my dear friend! It’s better now than never!
Time to dust off those sneakers, leave sluggishness behind, pick up those weights and embark on a journey to claim your new self. Whether you have taken a brief hiatus or are embarking on a new journey toward ultimate fitness, we have covered all you need to know about how to get back in shape in this thorough fitness guide.
What is the Fastest Way to Get Back in Shape?
We all wish to get six-pack abs within days. While wishing for that is okay, thinking about getting that within an instant isn’t realistic. Our bodies need time to adjust to new routines and it takes ample time to let go of the stubborn fat finally.
All of this is a matter of discipline and perseverance. The good news is that if you have been a regular gym goer who stopped working out for some reason, you can regain your strength and fitness faster than those just starting afresh (1).
If you tend to let yourself off the hook, raise the white flag when things get tougher than you expected, send yourself on an unconscious binge-eating trip – BetterMe app is here to help you leave all of these sabotaging habits in the past!
Sounds exciting? If you are really determined to get back into shape, here’s what you need to focus on:
The food you consume daily plays a huge role in determining your fitness. About 90% of your weight loss is dependent on diet (2). If you are working out aggressively without paying attention to your diet, you are only expending your energy and tiring yourself.
Before starting to work out again, you must make adjustments to your diet. For example, you could (3):
- Do portion control. Reduce highly refined carbohydrates from your diet and instead incorporate whole-grain carbohydrates.
- Avoid eating ultra-processed or junk food.
- Avoid sugars and sweetened beverages.
- Replace beverages with natural fruit juices (in moderation).
- Drink more water.
- Incorporate leafy greens and fruits into your diet.
- Avoid eating too close to bedtime.
Acting upon these basic instructions will bring fast and prolonged results in the long term. Remember, your abs are made visible by your food intake. You need to focus on your diet to see your fitness dream come true.
If you are thinking about returning to shape after years of inactivity, you need to work out a lot.
CDC suggests that you could lose one or two pounds weekly if you work out regularly. Keeping the same consistency, you could lose up to eight pounds within a month (4). A few exercises you can incorporate into your routine include:
When starting to work out again, you should consider incorporating some cardio. Cardio is a surefire way of busting fat and shedding weight. Performing moderate intensity cardio daily or a few times per week can significantly contribute to your results and overall health (3). We all engage in minimal cardio by walking daily. You coukd run or jog up to 30 minutes daily to help amplify results. If you are not a fan of running, you can do other fun activities like swimming, hiking, or bicycling.
To spice things up, consider incorporating a full-body calisthenics workouts in your week as well, including squats, lunges, Pilates, or pushups. Following a consistent and balanced program can contribute to improved muscular strength, posture, and increased muscle mass (5).
If you are wondering whether you can do Pilates at home, the answer is yes! You can definitely do Pilates, as they require minimal space and equipment. Once you have established a workout routine, consider doing strength training to build muscle mass. You can even dedicate certain days to cardio and others to strength training.
Going further, you could also indulge in lifting weights or compound movements s to tone your muscles. You may experience soreness in the first few days. With that in mind, dedicate the next day to yoga or stretching to help reduce soreness and improve blood circulation.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
If you want to get fit within a month, consider doing the “30-day get back in shape” workout for maximum results. To achieve that, you must do HIIT or High Interval Intensity Training. The best aspect of HIIT is that you can build muscle and improve your aerobic capacity. It’s a win-win situation (3)
HIIT comprises high-intensity and moderate-intensity exercises that can help you build muscle and lose weight fast. A typical HIIT session may alternates between a 30-60 second high-intensity and a 30-60 second moderate-intensity workout routine for about 20 minutes.
An example of HIIT includes a treadmill workout. You can do HIIT by running for a minute on the treadmill, followed by two minutes of brisk walking, then speeding up for about 15-20 minutes. This helps you shed calories more effectively than any other workout. If you don’t have a treadmill you could opt for running outside, burpees or high-knee runs with the same duration.
You could do circuit training if you are not a cardio fan. Circuit training incorporates several exercises with high reps and less rest intervals. This may enhance your aerobic conditioning and muscular endurance and can helps you inch closer to your fitness goals.
Here’s a sample workout schedule you could follow to maintain your fitness routine (6):
- Monday: Do upper-body strength training with dumbbells and barbells.
- Tuesday: Do 30 minutes of running, walking, or cycling.
- Wednesday: Indulge in yoga or Pilates session
- Thursday: Take rest and focus on recovery to help reduce musclesoreness.
- Friday: Do lower-body strength training with bodyweight exercises.
- Saturday: Do a full-body workout
- Sunday: Have a rest day
How Do I Start Getting in Shape Again?
The first thing is motivation when thinking about how to get back in shape. If you don’t have the right mindset or the intense motivation to get back in shape, you will find it much harder to become fit. Many people often have the delusion that working out for a week will make them super fit, or they set unrealistic goals like shedding ten pounds within a month which in the end tires them out or makes them lose motivation before a month’s end.
Unless you don’t have the internal motivation to change your routine and don’t know why you are making this switch, you will not be able to reach your fitness goals. However, once you have decided, you should consult your doctor before getting a gym membership. A quick visit to your doctor will help clear all sorts of concerns and prepare you for what comes next.
Your doctor will ensure you are fit for physical activity and suggests ways to keep yourself safe at the gym. This actually helps you gain more motivation. An okay check from a doctor supercharges motivation and makes you feel accomplished.
Follow Beginner-Friendly Workout Routines
Some of you may not think of yourselves as beginners. It usually happens if you are a person who used to work out regularly earlier. Following beginner-friendly routines is still advisable as it is important to gradually increase the intensity, training load and stimulus over time, to allow for effective progression and reduce the risk of injury. Since the workouts designed for beginners focus on the fundamentals, they allow you to transition into an active lifestyle much easier than other workouts.
This way you will also be building the strength and stamina you need for progressive workouts. In this way you could skip the easy programs before long. After about twelve weeks, your body will get accustomed to working out and you won’t feel sore. You could then move to the next level of working out.
Have Rest Days
When you start back working out after a long time off you may only focus on exercising your muscles and doing more than before. It is good to be ambitious, but taking care of your body is important too. Working out after a hiatus has a huge impact on our bodies.
Since you will not be used to working out, adapting to the new routine may take time. Incorporate rest days in your routine to facilitate your recovery and help your body recover from exercise stress. Know that the soreness you feel in your muscles after a hectic workout is a good sign that your body is reacting to exercise and rebuilding your muscles, making them stronger.
You should also do yoga and stretch your body to help your muscles heal. You can maintain your active lifestyle on your rest days by walking briskly, cycling, or playing any light sport you may like. Research shows that staying active on rest days can help relieves muscle pain and improves recovery (7).
How Do I Get Back in Shape After Years of Inactivity?
If you are willing to get back in shape at 30, try to take it slow and analyze how your body reacts. Muscle mass and strength can decrease when not participating in physical activity regularly (8). However, both strength and mass can be regained upon return to a consistent resistance training routine.
Remember, don’t expect to gain much mass after hopping on your routine after a long break. Instead, take things slow, one step at a time. Carefully analyze each workout and see how your body reacts to it. If you hop into every workout your body will likely experience intense muscle soreness, and you may put yourself at a higher risk of injuries.
Start by doing light cardio and then gradually increase the intensity. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, it’s recommended to perform aerobic exercise for at least 150 minutes a week, for weight maintenance and positive health benefits g (9).
Set Realistic Goals
Many people make the mistake of setting huge unrealistic goals. Some of them may lose motivation and abruptly leave the progress midway. The key to achieving your goals is to set mini-realistic goals. Instead of aiming to bench-press for 50 reps, divide this goal into sizable chunks by achieving the target of doing 10 reps each day for 5 days.
This will help you feel powerful and accomplished since you will be achieving your goals in the long run. Refrain from falling into the trap of working out with the same intensity you used to do earlier in your youth, especially if you are thinking about getting back in shape at 50. Your body and your energy might dwindle over time. It is important to divide your goals into manageable chunks and gradually work towards your fitness (7).
Do Workouts that You Enjoy
Does cardio irk you? Don’t think too much about it! You can switch to strength training and vice versa. Working out shouldn’t feel like a burden. It is about energizing and improving your physical health, regardless of what you like or not. If you are a fan of powerlifting, go for strength training. If you love cardio, go for a run.
If not running, then swimming. Try to find what you like and then use it to accelerate your fitness goals. This will help you stay committed and close to achieving your desired body (7).
Can I Get My Body Back in Shape?
You can easily get back in shape if you put in the effort. There are many success stories of individuals who lost a huge amount of weight through dedication and commitment. Note that it is all about discipline. The more you stay on track, the easier it will be to get back in shape. Here are some of the ways through which you can get back in shape effectively:
Follow a Holistic Approach
The best way to get in shape is to employ a holistic approach, i.e., warm-ups, workouts, and cool down. Instead of logging reps, you must prepare your body for the workout. Do a warmup for about 5 minutes, and then proceed to work out. Warmups are important as they raise your body temperature, increase blood flow to your muscles and prepare the body for what’s to come (10).
Working out without warming up may badly affect your muscles and make you suffer severe Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) (11). After working out, don’t forget to stretch. Stretching after exercising helps your body cool down and get back to normal. It also enhances your mobility and flexibility (11).
You could also incorporate a few trips to your physical therapist and masseuse to aid your recovery. Employing these tactics will help you stay safe from serious injuries.
Keep Track of Your Progress
Sticking to a particular fitness routine after a break is hard. For this reason, you must keep track of your progress and log in to everything you do during the day, from eating to working out. This will help you stay disciplined and see where you are lagging or progressing.
Also, you should stay motivated to push yourself off limits when you see yourself progressing. Even if you shed a pound or an inch from your skin, that is still progress.
Get a Personal Trainer
If you are working out after many years, you may need help to initiate or understand your fitness requirements fully. That said, it is advisable to consult a personal fitness trainer to provide a personalized fitness program designed according to your body shape, needs, history, and goals.
Working with a trainer keeps you motivated as they constantly push you to do more. This way, you will quickly reach your fitness goals in no time (12).
Have a Workout Buddy
Working out alone can be hard. It’s difficult to motivate yourself, especially in your early days. Working out with your friend or partner is better as you two constantly motivate each other to work more. You can even join group classes to keep the momentum going.
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What Are Some Mistakes to Avoid When Getting Back in Shape?
When you wonder how to get back in shape, you could make certain mistakes would impede your fitness journey. Here are some of the most common workout mistakes:
When you start working out, you are fully motivated to engage yourself daily. But, this may cause your body to ache and suffer from muscle injuries if you are not careful. That is why it is essential to incorporate rest days in your routine to allow for adequate recovery and help your body get accustomed to the new routine. Once your body adapts, you can increase the intensity of your workout but proper rest will still be essential for recovery.
Fitness is not always about exercise. In fact, it also includes your diet. If you are not keeping tabs on your diet, you will not notice any visible changes. If changing your diet is hard, you can make mini changes. For instance, prepare your meals in advance and take them with you wherever you go. This will prevent you from getting takeaways and eating junk.
Not Consulting a Trainer
While working out yourself is okay, you may overwork your body or specific muscle groups Therefore, it is better to consult a fitness trainer to get a detailed and customized meal plan and fitness routine tailored to your preferences. By following a ready-made fitness plan, you will ensure a well-rounded program for effective results and inch closer to your goals.
The Bottom Line
Embarking on a journey to get back into shape and regain physical fitness is an endeavor that requires patience, dedication, and a holistic approach. This article has explored some strategies and tips to aid you. By establishing a regular workout routine, you may tread towards gradual but sustainable progress.
Remember that setbacks are a part of your journey. Embrace them as opportunities to learn and adapt rather than allowing them to derail your efforts.
Now that you have learned how to get back in shape, it is important to go through these tips to achieve success. Consult your physician if you are getting back in shape after a long time. Experiencing slight soreness after a workout is okay, but if you experience any sharp pain, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does it take to get back in shape?
On average, it may takes about four to six weeks of constant exercise to notice slight changes and about twelve weeks to notice a visible change in your muscular strength and body. This depends on our body type, fitness level, and diet. If you strictly follow a workout plan, you might notice results sooner.
Can I get back into shape in 3 months?
You may return to shape in 3 months if you follow a healthy diet and work out regularly. It can takes around 12 weeks to notice results. So, yes, you can get back into shape in this short of time.
Is it harder to stay in shape after 30?
Aging can result in a decrease in muscle mass over time, so it is important to maintain this with regular resistance training. . If you haven’t worked out in a long time, it may feel more difficult to get in shape after 30. However, if you are active it may not be difficult for you to get fit despite being over 30. It all depends on your lifestyle and previous fitness levels. It is never too late to incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle and you will gain many positive benefits regardless of your age.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Is Muscle Memory Real? An Answer According to Science (n.d., legionathletics.com)
- Weight loss is 90% diet and 10% exercise, say experts (2017, tribune.com.pk)
- How to Get in Shape by Memorial Day (2019, healthline.com)
- Losing Weight (n.d., cdc.gov)
- What happens if you do pushups every day? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- How to get in shape in 30 days: The ultimate guide (2023, themanual.com)
- Getting Back In Shape: 9 Steps To Take + Mistakes To Avoid (n.d., fitbod.me)
- Six weeks’ aerobic retraining after two weeks’ immobilization restores leg lean mass and aerobic capacity but does not fully rehabilitate leg strength in young and older men (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How much should the average adult exercise every day? (n.d., mayoclinic.org)
- Why Warming Up and Cooling Down is Important (n.d., tricitymed.org)
- Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) (n.d., physio-pedia.com)
- 11 AMAZING TIPS TO GET BACK IN SHAPE (2021, yourfuturefitness.com)