Getting Back Into Training & Exercise After A Break

It’s a brand new year and everyone is creating their own goals to accomplish, many of which involve fitness and health. As physio’s, we see so many people starting to exercise again which is so great to see. So let me guide you through your first few weeks to get you back safely.

Here is an amazing chart showing what happens to our muscles if we have gone on holidays or have had an injury that has stopped us from exercising.

Image sourced from Sports Injury Bulletin

Blue line – if you only reduce your usual training by 10% you will only get a minimal amount of fitness loss

Yellow line – if you reduce your training by 50% you will get a 5-10% of fitness loss

Red line – if you reduce training by 70% (i know i have over these holidays) you will have a 5-20% loss of fitness

Purple line – bed rest or no training means it may take you several months to return to your strength before you took the break

Green lines – starting to retrain and fitness coming back

Unfortunately we lose our fitness more rapidly when we don’t train or decrease training compared to gaining fitness. This also accounts for professional athletes, that is what makes their job so hard to maintain. 


Here are some tips on how to get back to training safely:

  1. Do not go back to the weight you used to use before your holiday, make sure you drastically decrease then slowly increase. This is a good time to have a physio or exercise physiologist help find your new baseline.
  2. When getting back to running, we lose this fitness faster than our strength fitness. For example, sprinting fitness decreases in one week, how crazy is that!!!  Start off slow and decrease your distance. If you feel this is not enough, do a little strength work out after your shorter and slower run. Your fitness will start to improve and you can decrease risk of injury this way.
  3. Have fun while doing it. Put on your favourite tunes or go to the park to get some fresh air! If you’re in Australia, don’t forget to wear sunscreen!

Now that you know you have to increase slowly, stay tuned for my next blog on how many repetitions you should be doing for strength vs endurance training! And if you have any questions or would like help attaining your new baseline to stay injury free, click here to book an appointment with me and I can help you on your New Year’s journey to fitness!


Your friendly physio, Paulina Backiel



References (from Sports Injury Bulletin)

Issurin V. Block periodization: breakthrough in sports training. Ultimate athlete concepts; 2008.

Shattock K, Tee JC. Autoregulation in Resistance Training: A Comparison of Subjective Versus Objective Methods. J Strength Cond Res. 2020 Feb 13. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003530. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32058357.

Helms ER, Byrnes RK, Cooke DM, Haischer MH, Carzoli JP, Johnson TK, Cross MR, Cronin JB, Storey AG, Zourdos MC. RPE vs. Percentage 1RM Loading in Periodized Programs Matched for Sets and Repetitions. Front Physiol. 2018 Mar 21;9:247. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00247. PMID: 29628895; PMCID: PMC5877330.