The Health and Wellbeing column with Mel Spencer

Take it steady as you return to the gym following a break in training.
Take it steady as you return to the gym following a break in training.

For most of us holiday time is now a distant memory and we are back to the old routine. Gym life may well have slipped over this period (mine included!), and getting back into it can be tough.

As I’ve said before, it takes three weeks to make a habit, be that exercise, nutrition, whatever really.

It takes far less to break the gym habit.

Even after only two weeks of not training (one holiday, one illness), I found it hard to get going again.

The key is to aim for short term goals.

I focus on two weeks at any given time and by the third week I’m noticing the efforts of that first week and so on.

This would apply to any time out from the gym be it something enjoyable like a holiday or something more unpleasant like illness.

By week three you will start to see the changes make in week one and that will then be your motivator.

The worst thing you can do upon your return is go all out and pretty much kill yourself.

This isn’t sustainable and will only demotivate you.

Exercise shouldn’t be seen as a punishment for any holiday over indulgence, rather it should form part of your lifestyle – and that includes holidays and time out.

Of course, it’s not just getting back into the gym routine that we need to focus on, but equally nutrition. This can be hardest of all and you may feel like a few ‘good’ days can be overshadowed by a ‘bad’ day. The key here isn’t to beat yourself up over any slips you may have.

The key is to move on and get back on track. Berating yourself will only make you feel worse and turn to more food for comfort!

Alongside short term goals, it is beneficial to have a longer term goal in sight. For most of us I would imagine (and I hate to say it), that Christmas will be one of the next big events in our lives.

Getting into that little black dress is as good a motivator as any, and if you start now you will have a good 12 weeks to get cracking.

For any further information or if you have any questions, you can contact me at