I've been into a fitness routine for about 3 years. The last 5 weeks I've been unable to exercise due to sickness, work deadlines, and then a small holiday I had planned (which involved drinking, bad news bears)...

And now... I feel like I'm at the point of no return. I went to the gym yesterday, and I was as weak and unfit as ever, did not help at all with the want to go again.

Just any advice for getting back into it?

  • 2
    For whatever it's worth, I've found that "getting back on the horse" is the biggest factor when it comes to long term fitness. There will always be multi week / multi month challenges, office jockey or Olympic athlete. The whole game boils down to making progress when things are hard, not when you're in top form. It's easy to follow a program when you're at the top of your game.
    – Eric
    Apr 28 '15 at 21:43
  • Look at the mirror.
    – Ker p pag
    Apr 29 '15 at 1:30
  • @Kerppag.... motivated or not I just see a legend Apr 29 '15 at 7:18

Set some goals.

It's hard to get back into the swing of things without something concrete to work for. Sit down and plan out some goals that you would like to achieve, that all build into each other.

As Sean points out, it does come back quickly. At 5 weeks, you are not completely detrained yet. Common lore is that depending on your own personal physiology, you can get away with a week or two of inactivity. After that time, you lose about 2 days of fitness for every day of continued inactivity. So it will take you a couple months to get back to about where you were before the off time.

Also, don't beat yourself up about it. Life happens to everyone. Unless fitness is your monetary occupation, it's ok to wander off into the weeds now and again. Set some small goals, such as "Get into the gym 2 times this week, and 3 times next week". Once you get those, then plan some bigger goals. You should always have some short term, medium and long range goals that you are working towards.

  • 3
    Adding onto John's answer here, just acknowledge that your first few workouts are going to suck. Whether you do them now or three weeks from now, they're going to suck. But, if you get those first few workouts in now, three weeks from now you're going to feel great and be back in the game. Just dig deep and climb the vertical wall that is getting back on the horse.
    – Eric
    Apr 28 '15 at 21:46

Start small. Drop your weight to where you can finish your sets. Walk if you need to instead of running. Then start ramping it back up. The really good news is that it comes back quickly.


Some things that have worked for me:


Caffeine just seems to make things easier, be it coffee or a pre workout drink.

Motivational Videos

Watching a motivational video while getting ready for a workout can fire you up. Example


Look for a friend who will join you in your efforts. I've found that going to the gym together is more fun than going alone, and more motivating. Even if you can't workout together, you can hold each other accountable by checking in to see how you're doing with your goals.

Most of all, this has helped me because a good friend understands and will support you when you're going through a rough time, just as you'll do for them!

  • I do agree with this, it definately helps, but my work is of such a nature that I tend to travel a lot, so I end up going to random gym's every second week :P Apr 28 '15 at 22:16
  • I have illness/injury issues too and know how hard it is, and traveling must make it even harder! I agree with the others about giving yourself some grace, and I hope you get back into a good routine soon so you can be happy! Apr 28 '15 at 22:27


If you built up your fitness for years, there is no way that you are back to scratch after a 5 week 'vacation'.

In the worst case your body has become slightly weaker or heavier, but objectively it will not be a lot, and it will certainly not mean that you have to start from scratch again.

If you really think you 'lost everything' just push yourself a bit next week, write down the results and compare that to 3 years ago. Don't bother comparing with 5 weeks ago, you can do that in another 3-6 weeks.

If you really can't see any improvement compared to before you started I stand corrected, but otherwise I will just tell you to step it up.

  • 1
    I know, but I've been struggling with the"mental battle" so to speak... As previously it wasn't a question even, I'd no in a heartbeat... But I guess your right. Just do it son ;) Apr 29 '15 at 13:52

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