Well, you know my motto….Life Happens! Well unfortunately it certainly has.

I completed my ‘taster week’ of exercise to ease myself back in to things again, and it felt good. I found it tough and frustrating though, as I previously mentioned, but overall it felt brilliant to be back in familiar territory.

Generally when I start exercising again after having a good chunk of time away, I stick to very simple exercises, with medium effort, low sets (2 or 3) and 10-15 reps per set. I make sure I drop the weight down below what I think I can do, because I know that my muscles will definitely be feeling it the first few weeks back and I don’t want tight, sore muscles to delay my progress. Also, lifting too much too soon will increase the risk of injury.

My first week of exercise involves a lot of mobility and stretching, rather than exercising. This is because I find my body has ceased up quite a lot. I, like many people, spend my day sitting in front of a laptop, so I adopt the ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ posture quite quickly. Therefore, I do a good warm up and then spend a lot of time stretching out my chest, back, hamstrings, quads and hip flexors. Without doing this, I find I can’t exercise in the right position, so I wouldn’t be maximising my training time. So, this ‘prep’ week or two is very worthwhile because you often don’t go straight in to performing the key exercise regimes that give really good results. If you’re like me, you need a couple of weeks prep. And that’s no good if you’ve to be on a plane to Italy in three weeks’ time! So once again, start early and leave plenty of time to achieve your goals.

Another good reason for starting earlier that you think is because of ‘life events’. Things often crop up and get in the way to delay your progress. I got ill. A nice wee lung infection for three weeks. I’m annoyed and frustrated. My head is still in the zone of getting fit and healthy, but my body has other ideas. I tried to battle on to start with but so realised I was doing my body no favours and it really needed some TLC. So I have another week of no exercise (that translates to me as ‘easy exercise’) before I can get back in to it. I barely started before I had to stop. But this is a great example of real life. Things happen. It could be a heavy workload. A sick child. A family emergency. I have found that my original training diary has helped keep me motivated. Not because I have been able to fill it in with all the amazing workouts and good food choices I’ve made – but because I can look at the blank piece of paper and see the number of weeks that have passed by without achieving anything! This visual reminder of how easily it is to lose sight of time is a great motivator. Without it, I could easily slip in to the mind-set of ‘It doesn’t matter, I’ll start next week’ and just keep putting it off. But I really am driven to start training as soon as I can again, because the weeks are being ticked off, and that end goal date is fast approaching.

So, for the week ahead, I intend to perform two muscle workouts and no cardio sessions at all. I am a big lover of free weights, but again, in the initial weeks, I know my body will not cope too well with heading straight for these, so I’ll tackle the resistance machines in the gym as well as performing body weight exercises such as squats and lunges. I have to keep in mind that this week is all about muscle stimulation again – I am not aiming to lift heavy. I have to prepare my muscles first and ‘wake them up’ again. My nutritional goal is to keep introducing more natural food, while decreasing my processed choices. So, let’s see how I get on….. What are your goals for the week ahead?