Taking a break from exercise is something that happens to everyone during their lives at some point or another. It’s only natural, and there are multiple reasons that can make it happen, but there are ways to make it easier for yourself to get back into it when you’re ready.

There are several things to consider to determine how successful you can be when you are ready though, so it’s important to know the facts and how you can help yourself to hit the ground running, instead of making some simple mistakes that can make it so difficult to keep it up.


Find Why You Stopped

Stressed man at work
One of the best things that you can do for yourself is to find out what made you stop the first time. There are a lot of factors that can come into play when thinking about your reasons to stop, some are inevitable, some not so much. If you were training to lose weight for an event or holiday, for example, it can be easy to stop once the time has passed even though you know you shouldn’t, whether you reached your goal or not.

Other more long-term issues can have a huge impact on your commitment too though. Not seeing your progress continue or even finding yourself in a plateau can be a huge obstacle to overcome in your training, but there's always a way around what is stopping you.

Once you have managed to find the reason, you're ready to move onto the next stage of the process of getting yourself back on track!


Building Motivation

Woman lifting barbell dramatically

The next step of your journey back to fitness is building up your motivation to help you find a reason to keep on training. It may even be the same as it was before you took the break, but now with a fresh attitude and some extra guidance, you can give yourself a fighting chance to stick at it and make fitness a healthy and enjoyable part of your life.

Even if you’re not sure where to start, doing some research as to what might have gone wrong can be useful, as well as finding what works best to reach the goals you’re looking for, and finding ideas to keep things fresh.

Working out in a group like in a class or even just with a friend or family member can be a brilliant way to get the ball rolling, especially if you are lacking the confidence to get back into it or the drive just to get things started again after your time off.


Muscle Memory

Woman curling dumbbells

One good aspect that is definitely on your side when it comes to getting back into your fitness routine is that your body has a good way of keeping you in good condition even after your exercise.

Muscle memory means that even if you haven’t trained in a long time, the extra cells that you did produce when you were training are still there in your body, just waiting to be needed again and giving you much faster progress than you would have seen the first time you were training, no matter if it was for strength training or for cardio.

This means that you’ll be able to still perform to a good extent even though you haven’t been as committed as you maybe could have been. This is a great way to build up your confidence and motivation and means that you’ll progress faster too. It’s a win-win and a great way to encourage you to get back into your fitness plan.


Progressively Build Up

Person dead lifting carefully

Even though this may sound a little bit of a contradiction, this doesn't mean you can just walk into your gym and get back on the bench with the same weight you had when you left. You're muscle still needs time to build up, and your form or technique may well be off too. Start slowly and work your way back up or you are just asking for an injury to happen which may take you back out of your training quicker than you started it.

This applies to cardio too. Although your legs or arms may still be fairly toned, your stamina has likely gone downhill and you won’t be able to perform as strongly as you were doing. This can be really demotivating, so don’t push yourself too hard and make sure you’re just doing the best you can be, in the shape you are in when you do decide to get back into things.


Plan Ahead

workout plan example

Finally, one of the most important things for you to consider when you’re getting back into your training is to plan ahead. Getting used to putting time aside for your fitness can be really challenging after a long time off as you often have other things that will be filling up your time.

Plan to find when you can be doing it effectively and when you are most likely to do so without having to sacrifice other things in your life, otherwise, you'll likely take another short break or start missing workouts that will hinder your progress and make you want to stop again.


Remember to take things at your own pace, and don’t expect instant gratification. Fitness is a hard thing to master and needs to be a long-term situation, not a short-term fix to get to where you want to be. Only you can control how you’ll train, but with the right attitude and the right knowledge, you can get back into a routine in no time at all and it will feel like second nature.



Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.