Due to different circumstances (Busy at work, Family Commitments, A Freaking PANDEMIC), we might
choose be forced to stay away from training for weeks, sometimes months.
Thankfully, time away from training is not forever, and we will be able to train again.
Current Recommendations For Training After Prolong Periods Away From Exercise
As we return to exercise after a long period of break, one of the things we often want to do is to get back to where we left off, or train the way we used to.
Unfortunately, we will very quickly realize that our body is no longer as conditioned as before. You gas out faster, can’t lift as heavy, and are unable to hit the reps and sets you were accustomed to. But being humans, we try to achieve the same performance as before anyway, and if we continuously ignore the body’s signal as we train, we will soon be met with a strain, or worse, an injury.
So as we return to the gym, it is important to consider performing the following:
- Always perform your warm ups, including short cardio and mobility work
- Start your strength work from a lower weight and progressively increase back to what you are used to
- Progressively increase the frequency of your training (eg. from 3 times a week progressively back to 5 times a week)
Nutrition To Support Training After Going Back To The Gym
There are some main areas around your body that we want to protect as you head back to the gym, and these are a few techniques you could use to do so.
Performance in training
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but you will need to eat to perform in training, especially when it comes to higher intensity based training like strength/power training, or sprinting.
If this is your first training back, I would highly suggest to not train fasted – the lack of food might cause your performance to slug out. Instead, go for something carbohydrate rich in a small portion. A banana, some oatmeal, or a small handful of gummy bears might be very helpful.
Recovery After Training And Throughout The Day
Protein would probably be your best friend after training, and carbohydrates to recover your fuel (glycogen) after exercise. For convenience reasons, protein powder and a small packet of gummy bears would do the trick, but for the food-first lovers, you can choose to use chocolate milk or an egg sandwich to meet your recovery needs.
It is also important to ensure that you are eating throughout the day to ensure proper recovery, so you want to at least meet your calorie requirements for the day.
Bone and Joint Health
Heading back to training would mean putting stress on your body. While that is encouraged to create physiological adaptations, it is also important to help your body recover from the created stress. Getting enough protein for your body will help with majority of your recovery, but you can also get collagen (in the form of gelatin), vitamin C, D, K and Calcium from food to help you improve your bone and joint health.
To get collagen into your body, you can consider making jelly with oranges and having them pre-exercise to enhance the collagen building properties within your body as you train.
For your bone health, vitamin D can be received from sun light, but if not, you can get them from mushrooms, dairy (you get calcium here too!) , or eggs. Lastly, you can get vitamin K from leafy green vegetables.
So when you put all the information together, you can see that a balanced meal filled with vegetables, protein and small amounts of carbohydrates in strategic positions can be very helpful as you get back to physical play!