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How To Get Back Into Weight Training And Lifting After A Break

Ready to return to weight training after a long break? Getting back into lifting after a while away from the gym? Here’s a guide to help you plan your return to the gym safely and effectively, so you can get your strength and fitness back.

START SMALL

After an extended break, it’s normal to have lost some strength and in your fitness levels, but the good news is, you can build up to the strength and fitness you had prior. Whilst you may feel like you lost all the hard work you put in before your break, those efforts were not all in vain. If you were regularly weight training or lifting, you’ll likely reap the benefits of muscle memory to help you get back on track.

You may be tempted to get straight back to your usual weight training routine but it’s important to restart lifting at a reduced capacity, particularly in the first few weeks to allow your body to get used to weight training again and to prevent injury. How much you reduce this by will depend on how long you’ve been away from the gym. 

As a general guideline, if you’ve not been weight training for 4 weeks or more, you can start at give or take 50% of what you would have normally done in the first session. This session should primarily aim at getting used to being in the gym again and focus on your movement pattern when lifting weights, not about going hard and seeing how much you can lift. Reflect on the session over the next few days, checking in with how you’re recovering, and make sure to allow enough time for your body to recover.

By starting small you can always gradually build up and continue to make progress, which can also boost your confidence and build you up mentally in getting back into your weight lifting routine.

Remember to work at your own pace – keep in mind that getting back into things faster doesn’t necessarily mean that your results will be better or more sustainable.

SET SOME LIFTING GOALS

When getting back into weight training, it’s useful to set some goals you really want to achieve to help you stay motivated and allow that to direct what you do in the gym. Whether it’s a performance based goals such as achieving a 100kg back squat, an aesthetic goal such as building muscle on our back, or a goal based on neither – set ones that you want to achieve or gives purpose, and set some timeframes for when you can realistically achieve them by. Try to avoid spreading yourself too thinly by setting loads of goals – pick key ones you want to focus on now and break those down into smaller goals that you can implement into each session or on a weekly basis.

If you need some help with this, check our how guide on how to set fitness goals

CREATE SOME STRUCTURE

Now that you’ve decided on the goals you want to work on, you know your reason to train ( i.e. your purpose) and you’re prepared to get back into lifting, it can be helpful to give some structure to your weight training, based around your weekly schedule and needs.

Have a think about what commitments you might have, what your priorities are – taking into account things like your work life, time for family and friends and any other things that are important to you. Build your fitness routine into this so that you can address all your important things, and also do your fitness alongside.

Whilst we all may have 24 hours in a day, we all will have different priorities, needs and things going on in our lives. What matters is how you fit fitness into your life, not the other way around. If you can only realistically make it to the gym 3 times a week whilst you used to be able to go 5 times a week  – allocate 3 days in your diary for weight training. Ideally you would want to leave a rest day in between for this case if you can, for example training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Having these set days to train, which fit around your schedule can help you get back into your lifting routine, and you can always adjust if necessary.

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How to lose belly fat: the top calorie-burning exercises

When it comes to fitness goals, losing belly fat is probably one the most popular goals people have when they join the gym. Whilst doing endless crunches may help to make your core stronger, it’s not the most effective way to lose belly fat. A whole-body approach will be more optimal, combined with proper nutrition, along with other elements. 

We’ve combined two high-energy workouts consisting of full body movements to help strengthen and shape your body and help you achieve your fat loss goals. Watch them below and give them a go in the gym!

Also, make sure to check out our top calorie burning exercise list below for some exercise ideas.

WORKOUT ONE

  1. Burpee 8-10 reps
  2. Walkout into a push up  8-10 reps
  3. Mountain climbers 30 reps (15 per side)
  4. Bear crawl with resistance band 8-10 reps

Complete each exercise, back-to-back. Complete 3-4 rounds.

WORKOUT TWO

  1. Deadlifts. 5 reps
  2. Dumbbell thrusters 8-10 reps.
  3. Kettlebell swings8-12 reps.
  4. Jumping lunges 6-12 reps each leg.
  5. Mountain climbers 1-20 reps.

Make sure to warm up and cool down when performing these workouts.

WHAT ARE SOME GREAT CALORIE BURNING EXERCISES I CAN TRY IN THE GYM OTHER THAN CARDIO?

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 exercises personal trainers recommend when it comes to burning fat:

  1. Barbell or dumbbell thrusters
  2. Burpees
  3. Kettlebell swings
  4. Squats (and its variations – for example, jump squats).
  5. Deadlifts
  6. Lunges (and its variations – for example, jumping lunges).
  7. Pull ups
  8. Bent over rows
  9. Press ups
  10. Mountain climbers
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The Best Exercises To Lose Belly Fat

If you’re finding some extra pounds seem to be sitting around your waist and you’re interested in shifting your belly fat through exercise, the gym is the perfect place to start. Before we give some examples of the best exercises to lose belly fat, there’s some things we think would be useful for you to know when it comes to achieving fat loss:

  • Focus on your whole body: It can be very difficult to target specific areas of your body when it comes to weight loss, but by working out your whole body regularly, you should see a positive difference across the board.
  • Make the most of compound movements: Make sure your workout includes compound movements such as squats, deadlifts and bench presses to work multiple muscle groups at one time. This will help to build overall strength and size as you focus on your belly.
  • Go beyond cardio: While it may be tempting to stick to cardio to burn calories, you should consider including strength-focused sessions to build and retain muscle mass as you lose weight.
  • Watch those calories: In order to lose any kind of weight or fat, your body needs to be in a calorie deficit. Look at your nutrition and diet as well as increasing your time at the gym. Our guide to beating the belly fat can tell you more.
  • Consider total lifestyle improvements: Don’t forget other aspects of your life that can affect fat loss beyond exercise and diet. How much sleep you’re getting, how stressed you are, the time of year and so much more can affect your weight loss journey.

So now for the exercises themselves – here are five of our top recommendations for battling belly fat and burning calories.

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How to Plan a Weight Training Program

A good weight training program can really help to focus your workouts and assist you in meeting your goals and objectives. But what is a weight training program and how can you plan one yourself? Read on for more… 

WHAT IS WEIGHT TRAINING? 

Weight training is a form of strength training that uses weights machines or handheld weights, such as dumbbells, kettlebells or barbells to add a greater challenge to workouts. It offers fantastic benefits such as improved strength and balance, as well as body shaping and weight control. 

Read our What is Weight Training and What Are The Benefits guide for more detail. 

WHAT IS A WEIGHT TRAINING PROGRAM? 

A weight training program is a plan you make to ensure you’re consistently challenging yourself and reaching for your goals as you work out. This can be as simple as written notes to show what types and size of weights you are starting with and how you intend to progress each week or month, or could be a spreadsheet or app on your phone. Ideally, you’ll have this with you in the gym to refer to as you exercise; which will also mean you can also mark up any differences between your plans and your actual achievements as you go.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A WEIGHT TRAINING PROGRAM? 

Creating and sticking to a weight training program means you’re more likely to challenge and drive yourself as you lift, push or pull. You’ll be able to set and meet measurable goals and appreciate all the benefits from challenging yourself and your body in a targeted way. It also means you can easily track your progress and enjoy the successes you’ve achieved.

HOW TO PLAN A WEIGHT TRAINING PROGRAM

So much of creating a weight training program comes down to you – your starting point, your goals, your personal commitment. Whether you’re a complete beginner to weight training or have been working out with weights for some time, it’s important to have an idea of all of the below when creating your program. 

Once you’re comfortable that you’re ready to get started, you can start filling out your plan. Here’s a weight training program template that could serve as a useful starting point.

1. Understand your goals

Why are you focusing on weight training? Is it to build muscle, tone your body or lose weight? Perhaps you’d simply like to feel stronger? Maybe it’s to recover or strengthen your muscles after an injury? Or you’re keen to focus on strengthening and shaping one particular part of your body. It could be that you’re hoping to achieve several of these benefits as you train. Understanding your goals is the first step of creating a program, as this could change how you approach your training. For example, working with heavy weights will help to build muscle mass, while lighter weights over more reps is more likely to help build up endurance.

2. Set short and long term objectives

Once you know what you’re hoping to achieve, you can begin to set yourself challenging yet achievable goals to reach. Perhaps you’re hoping to lift a certain weight within 3 months, or would like to bulk up to a certain size. Note this down and aim to work backwards from here when planning your expected progress. It could be that you then realise your goal isn’t quite achievable in your time frame, so you can rework your program, or maybe you might be on track to meet it sooner than you’d thought. Mapping out your objectives will not only help you gain a better and more realistic picture of how and when you’re planning to meet your goals, but it will give you something specific to aim for and successes to celebrate as you achieve them. 

Remember, you won’t build muscle overnight; it might take some time to meet your objectives. Don’t rush yourself and instead enjoy seeing the improvements during your fitness journey.