Four Strategies To Assist Your Comeback To The Gym

By: Coach Mitchell

The Holidays are over and as most of us have experienced, getting ourselves back into the gym for our New Year’s Resolution (or just getting back to our normal plan) isn’t going as smoothly as we had pictured right?

It can be tough taking extended time off from the gym for the Holiday season and then trying to jump right back into our normal routine. That’s why I have four helpful strategies to help you gain the motivation to reach your goals for the New Year!

Strategies for the “Comeback” Athlete


This one is the easiest and most helpful. That first step back in is always the hardest. There is never a dream “Perfect Day to Come Back.” Sorry, but you’re probably not going to look at the WOD and see a workout that has all of your favorites, be that perfect length you love, and not have burpees in it. You are not going to magically get out of your 3 p.m. meeting early, and yes there could be traffic. You simply have to do what you used to do and just go. One single time. Not a hundred in a row all at once. Don’t cherry pick the workout (in fact: A good strategy in my opinion is to simply not look at the workout online and just walk in).

Recognize (then shift) your self-talk.

I don’t know about you, but my inner self-talk can get ugly in the middle of a break. Sometimes we talk to ourselves out loud, but sometimes self-talk is that quieter, inner dialogue we have in our head. Check in on what you are telling yourself and then highlight the negative ones and note their frequency.

“I used to go to the gym all the time” “Now it’ll be too hard.” “Everyone else will be way faster than me.” “I’m so out of shape now.” “I’ve taken too long of a break.”/p>.

Once you catch these thoughts, you can edit them. Now instead of the defeated tone (“I used to go to the gym every day after work”), tack on “and I’m going to go again today after work.”

“It will be hard to go back to the gym, (add on) but it won’t be as hard as it was when I first started.” Or change it completely “I took a nice break, but I’m excited to get back to the gym.”

Simple edits on your thoughts like this can go a long way in creating a more positive headspace not only for the gym but just for life in general!

Do your best to reframe or reset your PR’s.

Once you are back at the gym and moving a bit again, something that I see creep up is “Well I used to be able to do…” or “The last time I tested a heavy squat was 3 years ago so I don’t know.” If you are coming back from an injury or a longer break…holding onto old PR’s can be discouraging.

I work to reframe the self-talk. Instead of kicking yourself, try reframing your response: “I PR’d my front squat for this year.” Or, “That was the best pain free front squat I’ve done in a long time.” Or, “That was the heaviest front squat I’ve done at this gym.”


“I used to come to the gym all the time. Now I’ve missed two weeks in a row and it’s so hard to get back into my old rhythm.”

This is getting right at that super-ego, perfectionist tendency right away. Remember the whole “I will do this perfectly at 6 a.m. every day until I die mindset.” All or nothing mentality really doesn’t work long-term.

One of the strategies I do with people that are new or coming back is simple multiplication. If I’ve missed two weeks, but I can start coming back in twice a week, that’ll add up pretty fast. Over the course of a year, I’ll see that I’ve only missed 4 out of 104. So again, in the grand scheme of things, two weeks off is not that big of a deal.

Above all, and I’m pretty sure I can speak for the whole of the coaching staff here at CrossFit Greenville. If you are worried about your coach giving you grief or teasing you, know that what we will say when you walk through that door (NO. MATTER. HOW. LONG. THE. BREAK) is “Welcome back. It’s great to see you and I’m glad you are here. How are you?”

If you take a break, enjoy it, and when you come back, we’ll be happy to see you and if you need help or motivation do not hesitate to come see a coach for a little extra help getting you back on track!