The Last Time I Worked Out Was a Year Ago. How Do I Start Again?

Colleen Travers

It’s never too late to get back on the Bike.

Falling off your fitness routine – whether it be from injury or life just getting in the way – can be extremely frustrating. All that hard work you put in on your Bike, Tread, or with Peloton Digital suddenly seems to float away, and the idea of getting back into a groove can be daunting. Not to mention, once you do decide to start again you may feel discouraged watching yourself struggle on the Leaderboard on workouts you previously would have crushed. And while all of these feelings are normal, they can discourage you from picking up your routine again. Here’s how to overcome these mental hurdles so you can stop fretting and start sweating.

When Starting Over, Ignore the Metrics  

One of the best ways to overcome your workout anxiety is to focus on yourself. “Comparing ourselves to others is a major source of anxiety for many individuals,” says Jameca Woody Falconer, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and Peloton Member based in Saint Louis, MO. “I remember the first month I had my Bike feeling very intimidated about how well others were riding. It’s important to train yourself to ignore the metrics of your peers and focus on your own conditioning and personal goals.” The good news? Studies have shown that consistent exercise reduces feelings of anxiety, so the more you stick to your routine, the easier it will be to overcome those starting over jitters.

You May Need to Shift Your Focus

“It takes an enormous amount of focus to set up a time to begin a [workout] program, engage and continue to engage in that program,” says Dr. Falconer. This means that depending on what’s going on in your life at the present moment, resume a routine that will be as easy as possible to stick to. This might mean changing your usual 45-minute rides to 20 minutes in order to squeeze them in or using Peloton Digital for on-the-go workouts to stay in shape during a busy month of travel. Don’t think about what you used to do, focus on what you can do now.

Switch Up Your Self-Talk The biggest hurdle in picking up a workout routine again isn’t overcoming the physical hurdles (sure, those aren’t fun but with time will get easier) – it’s getting a handle on the mental barriers. “Everyone has some type of self-talk consistently playing in their heads, but when that self-talk is negative, it begins to challenge our thinking and our positive behaviors,” says Dr. Falconer. Instead of thinking about how out of shape you may have become or how you barely have time to shower, let alone workout, embrace what you are doing to keep yourself accountable and healthy. “Changing a thought from, ‘I’m not fit enough to do this workout’ to ‘I showed up for this workout and I’m stronger for it,’ are crucial ways you’ll be able to maintain a routine again,” says Dr. Falconer. Bonus: If you need help shifting your thinking, an on-demand meditation session on Peloton Digital is a great starting point to keep your headspace positive when it comes to your fitness, your goals and yourself.