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Returning athlete or just starting out? We’re in the same boat!


I shall not bore you with an X factor style sob story. However a long story short, I used to be half decent at 400m hurdles, I’d trained for 10 years but had to stop due to an injury. Then for 4 years I got depressed about not being able to do what I loved, became lazy, and just generally unhealthy. All down to a lack of focus on things I could do to keep me active, rather than moan about what I couldn’t. Anyway, I finally got over that and started trying to get into a fitness plan in September (why wait for the New Year right?). But it’s so difficult! Although I know it was a while back, I expect myself to be able to run the same distances or lift the same weights as before. But it just doesn’t seem to happen! I find this frustrating!

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So after talking to some coaches and personal trainers I thought I’d share some helpful tips I’ve learnt to help overcome the frustration. Whether you are rebooting your boxing career, or you’re starting swimming for the first time, or anything in between, I hope at least one of these will help;


  • Stand up. I couldn’t recommend this enough. Keep your body moving though out the day to prevent you becoming lethargic. Go for a walk in your lunch-break, stand up at your desk once every hour, just anything to get off your seat!
  • Have a plan. Step onto a track or into the gym knowing all the exercises you are doing. Research your exercises and drills online before hand. And keep an app handy to remind you on the go if you get stuck.
  • Focus on the moment. This is the hardest one for me, but train yourself to overcome it. Keep your mind on bench pressing that 40KG, don’t focus on how you’d love to be smashing 80KG. You will improve if you have your thoughts on the here and now rather than where you want to be.
  • Set a few targets. Although completely contradicting the above tip, setting small, achievable, short term targets can prove beneficial. Start off with simple targets such as getting to the gym twice a week. Then move on to more specific targets like shaving 5 seconds off your 5k time. Keep them simple and manage them so you come back to them every few months.
  • Build up slowly. You’ve heard this before, but it’s worth being reminded. If you’re a returning athlete, your body may adapt to the exercises quickly but your recovery time will not be the same! Replenish your energy levels with good healthy meals and allow yourself to recover well. Don’t over-do it at the start.

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I appreciate nothing you’ve read here is new! I just wanted to remind everyone of the challenges that arise when starting over, but more importantly, overcoming them. Enjoy your exercise.

Author: Adam Waind