What to Expect When You Start Working Out Again After a Long Break

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Even the most dedicated gym-goers have off periods from time-to-time. Whether you’ve taken a break after an illness or injury, a vacation or laziness, it’s still totally possible to get back into the swing of things. You will get that strength and fitness back. Compared to somebody who’s never trained, your experience gives you a huge advantage that’ll make it easier to get back to form.

Don’t forget your first victory: That you came back at all! If you’re having trouble with the mental side of getting back in the game after a workout break, remember our five step guide to returning to the gym:

Don’t beat yourself up

Evaluate your losses

Be thankful for how far you’ve come

Make a plan

Execute that plan

Let’s peek under the hood of that plan. We spoke with Exercise Physiologist Walter Thompson of Georgia State University to learn what happens to your body during that time off, and what you can expect when you get back in the saddle. The good news is that even if it doesn’t feel like it now, you’ll get back to your stronger, faster self soon—if you’re careful to avoid injury.

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