We prepared for you some advises how to "Get Back in Shape". Unlike other vacations, exercise breaks generally last longer than you'd like—and the mementos they come with are ones you'd rather not hang on to. You know how it goes: Two missed workouts snowball into two months of zero fitness motivation, and suddenly you can't button your jeans or do a pushup to save your life. In fact, research shows that body fat, weight, and waist size can rise—and fitness levels can dip—after just a five-week hiatus.
But 'tis the season of clean slates (appropriately following the season of full plates), so it's the perfect time to make your comeback. Whatever's been keeping you on the sidelines—a hectic holiday season, a hot and heavy relationship, an injury, a new baby, or a crazy work schedule—this customizable plan will help you bust your rut and then some. "After falling out of their routine, a lot of people make the mistake of going right back to their previous workout, and then they wake up the next day and can't so much as brush their teeth without a lot of pain," says Joe Dowdell, owner of Peak Performance in New York City. This program, which he created, has varying break-in periods before escalating the intensity.
But we know it's not just physical roadblocks; there are psychological and logistical challenges, as well. That's why we also asked experts how to tackle tricky setbacks (see our Comeback Exercise Tips). No matter where you are now, this plan will help you shape up to a hotter, healthier body.
Get Back in the Game!
This plan features two muscle-toning routines (see Workout Program A and Program B), plus metabolism-boosting cardio sessions (see Calorie-Crushing Cardio) that become more challenging each week. Pick the group below that best fits your hiatus, and then follow the corresponding schedule. You'll notice that the "moderately out of shape" and "out of shape" groups have longer plans (five and six weeks, respectively). The reason: These people will be especially rusty and need a week or two of easier training to return to baseline.
Out of Shape
Formerly fit people who have been fairly sedentary for longer than six months.
Moderately Out of Shape
Formerly fit people who have been sidelined for one to six months.
Slightly Out of Shape
Recently fit people who haven't been regularly active for a few weeks.