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How to Get Back in Shape After a Long Break

It happens to almost everyone. We work out, watch what we eat, and get into shape. Then we slide back into our old habits, and the pounds pile on. One day, you look at the scale or in the mirror and realize that something has to be done. However, you can’t just get up and hit the gym for two hours unless you want to risk agony or even injury. Here are the steps you should take if you want to get back in shape after a long break.


It happens to almost everyone. We get into shape and then take a break. Here's steps you should take if you want to get back in shape after a long break.

It happens to almost everyone. We get into shape and then take a break. Here's steps you should take if you want to get back in shape after a long break.

Prepare Yourself Mentally

Don’t feel guilty about getting out of shape after your injury or your laziness over the holidays. Tell yourself that you will get your strength back and that you will get back in shape. Remind yourself that your experience gives you an advantage over those who have never trained. Remember your first victory. Evaluate how you lost it with the goal of not making those mistakes again. Then make a plan for getting back into shape.


Start Slow

One of the most common mistakes people make trying to get back into shape is trying to get immediate results. They try to resume their prior workout regimen, and they get hurt since they lost a lot of their conditioning.

The solution is to plan a slow series of steps up as you get back into shape. Take your time and go easy on yourself. If you took time off because of an injury, ask your doctor to make sure the issue is fully addressed. You may need to correct muscle weaknesses or imbalances due to the injury.



Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

Don’t Skimp on the Warmup

You may want to begin with movement prep to restore your full range of motion. This can be a workout in and of itself if you haven’t been exercising for a long time. Take your time warming up and stretching before your formal workout.


Be Consistent

You don’t get fit spending one day in the gym. You have to workout consistently to maintain your current condition. You have to maintain your harder, longer workouts to stay at that level. Create a routine, and then stick to it. Try to train every day, but train at least every other day to make exercise a habit.

Photo by Nicole De Khors from Burst

Pick Up a Sauna Suit

If you’ve never heard of sauna suits before, they can help you in a number of ways. A sauna suit traps your body heat, raising your temperature. This forces your body to sweat more. It will also increase your metabolism and your pulse rate, giving your body a workout that you may only get sitting in a sauna or trying hot yoga. The greatest effect on circulation is seen in your extremities. It is invaluable if you have circulation problems i

n your legs since it naturally improves circulation in your arms and legs. If you’d like to try a sauna suit or vest and don’t know where you can buy one, you can get one here.


Work Your Workout Into Your Routine

While you may make workouts a habit if you go to the gym every day after work, you’ll make more progress if you make training part of your routine. Look for ways to walk more or spend more time playing sports. This helps you stay fit and healthy, while it builds on the benefits of your formal exercise regimen. Mini-workout-breaks at work will help improve your aerobic capacity even if you can’t make it to the gym for a couple of days.


Look for Ways to Make Training Fun

You’ll keep up with your training if you have fun with it, and this can make it easier to be consistent. Try new classes so you look forward to hitting the gym. Experiment with new equipment or play new sports. If you get bored, try new training patterns. If you can’t go for a run, try out a treadmill or rowing machine.



Regardless of how long you’ve been out of shape, you can recover. It will take time, effort, and careful planning, but it is possible.


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TWL Working Mom

Jennifer is the owner of TWL Working Moms. She is a full time teacher, a mom & step mom, and NBCT Facilitator. Jennifer lives in Washington State and is a born + raised New Yorker. In her spare time, she loves traveling, yoga, the beach, writing, listening to books and drinking coffee.

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  1. Consitency is my problem, I have a long break and then try and throw myself into it too quickly.

  2. Im currently 7.5 months postpartum and these are great tips, I will definitely be testing some out! Thanks!

  3. It is so hard to get back into a workout routine. We are doing a lot of walking outside, and we are lucky that the weather is warming up.

    1. Man after this pandemic i feel like it will be really hard to get back at it!

    1. me too! i usually try to do cardio first that way it is sort of my warm up too!

  4. The timing of this post is perfect for me! I just started working out again at home. I took time to focus on my mental health, forgetting that exercise is such a huge and important part of it. You’re so right, START SLOW! I can hardly walk today which makes it much more difficult to stay consistent 🙂

  5. Just what I needed after months of not wanting to workout. I need to get back to it. Thanks for these workout tips.

    1. Yesss not leaving the house is super hard! But working out at home is definitely doable

  6. I have been slowly getting back into working out on a regular basis. I just have to remember how good it makes me feel.

  7. Ah taking a break is sometimes needed but so very hard to come back from.

  8. i am finally exercising more regularly than i ever did before, and hope to keep it up for longer too.. and i will check out the sauna suit..
    zumba is my to go exercise and i am glad i can do it at home..

  9. Wow how did you know I needed this. I haven’t been working out since lock down.

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