Scenario: Happily going through your workout routine. Loving every minute of it without a care in the world. Then BLAM – curveball from life and now you haven’t worked out in too long and can’t figure out what to do next.
Here is a handy checklist I have created for anyone else who is wondering when it is worth it to start a program over versus just picking up where you left off:
1. Has it been more than two weeks since your last official workout?
2. Was your break due to injury?
3. Have you been inactive during the break (meaning little to no physical activity outside of normal everyday tasks)?
4. Are you in month 1 of your program?
5. Do you feel that your fitness has decreased at all?
If you answered more yeses then nos….you have two options – start over (which if you are in the first few weeks of a program is easy to do without losing much) or repeat a lower intensity week (go back to month one, weeks 1 or 2 and repeat that. see how you feel and go forward from there). And if you answered yes to question 2, you should automatically start over. Why? Because you start to lose fitness within one to two weeks of stopping exercise. Yes, 7 days off of exercise will literally set you back in physical ability. So this means that if you have been inactive or doing mostly nothing you are actually getting a little weaker/slower then you were before. With the 60-90 day programs (all of them..not just Beachbody), the intensity tends to build gradually over the weeks. When you take time off and lose fitness, your body recognizes that change, but your brain doesn’t. Your brain is going to want to go balls to the wall and kick butt…but your body is not ready for that like it would have been with no break. So you may end up injuring yourself, which does no good to anybody.
Obviously this checklist is short and there are other things that come into play – your beginning fitness being the main one. If you are already someone who has lost a ton of weight and are in great shape – you may just need the one drop back week to get back into the swing of things before going back into the program. If your program is Combat or TurboFire or P90x, you can probably get away with just a few shorter workouts, because the intensity of the workouts is very similar. Something like INSANITY – I would start that month over at a minimum. If you are injury prone, definitely be careful. I have horrific knees, so if I were doing INSANITY right now, I would most likely start over so I can build up again. Combat I’m less concerned because the program is inherently low impact.
So what am I going to do? I am going to start over with Combat. By the time I get to a point where my living room is free and clear (and so it’s clear – I’m going from a whole basement to workout in to a living room of a 1 bedroom apartment…so that’s why it’s taking so long) it will most likely be this weekend – almost 2 weeks of not doing a workout. I am going to try to get to the apartment gym…but with work and moving stuff left…it’s unlikely. So I would like to do at least the first week of Combat over with the shorter workouts. Well I was only finishing up week 2 anyway…so if I’m going to do week 1 over, I might as well just do the whole thing. And I’m totally good with that. I like the fresh start idea a lot, it’s something that I thrive on.