Written by Jessica Anwyl

Getting back on track with your fitness goals

2020 has been full of challenges. The COVID pandemic hit and we’ve had to face many hurdles along the way. Now we’re all adapting to some form of new ‘normal’. This year has had a significant impact on the wellbeing of Australians, particularly in Melbourne.

You’re not alone if COVID-19 had you feeling down, unmotivated, missing your regular routine or team sports… but you’re excited with the new announcements, easing of restrictions, the sun shining and the excitement of your regular sporting routine returning. There’s a buzz of energy in the air, telling us to get out and go for it!

The city is starting to pulse with life, Summer is on its way, and the Christmas cheer is near. People are feeling better and keen to get back into hobbies and sports that make them feel good. That hit of tennis, a round of golf or a morning on the training track. So how can you successfully prepare yourself for a return to those things you enjoy the most?

It’s important to prepare your body for those activities, or just a more motivated fitness minded you. Hopefully, then you can avoid injury and enjoy your new-found freedom even more.

 

Tips for getting back on track & avoiding injury…

Let me break it down for you. It’s simple really, you just have to map out a plan and stick to it!

The end goal is always the most exciting! Whether it’s returning to running, planning your next hike or trying something new, like stand up paddleboarding. But rather than jumping in headfirst, I want you to think about this ‘thing’ called a process. A process that our body has to take so that we can build up to that end goal, value our body, and prevent injury.

If you’re like the majority, you’ve probably spent multiple hours at your home-made desk, slouched on the couch, or sitting up late in bed finishing that project that’s due tomorrow. This has left your body feeling exhausted, drained, and unmotivated. Your muscles have been hibernating and your joints have been hanging out in positions you never knew they could handle.

So, first things first, to move well you need flexibility and mobility. We call this Relieve.

Prepare your body for Golf

Relieve

Relieve may look different for everyone- it may be walking, stretching, mindfulness or just moving. Relieve can be in the form of hands-on therapy – massage, mobilisation, and manipulation or regular movement to relieve muscle tightness and joint stiffness. So what does Relieve look like for me? A regular release program – like my runners release class, a connected mind/body workout – Viva’s therapeutic yoga class, and regular work over with one of the Viva team’s magic hands!

If our body is limber and ready to go, then the next step in the process is to discover the building blocks to move well. We call this Restore.

Paddleboarding

Restore

Without restore you cannot perform. It’s a right of passage that the human body doesn’t like change. Change means exposure to new stimuli, new challenges, new beginnings. It’s our role to slowly prepare and expose our body to change so we can go out and do the things we love. By restoring movement patterns of activities we want to achieve, our body can react slowly, smartly and incrementally.

Breaking down your goal for exercise can help to create those stepping stones to get back, without causing injury! If we jump straight back into a back to back game of tennis, for example, and we haven’t played for the past 6months or more, our tissues – the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons – can’t handle the change. They eventually start to tell us. Hey! I’m here and need help – usually in the form of pain.

Restoring your movement patterns can involve a structured program to help you progress back to what you love, like what you’ll find in our clinical movement classes. This tailored approach can give you the tips and tricks to prepare and prevent your body for the future.
If injuries aren’t your main concern, it may be a lack of general strength or your body’s limited exposure to exercise and movement. One key step is to consider consistency.

A good way to remain consistent is to schedule a regular time and day to perform your exercises, it may be worth trying a class to lock yourself in. I’d consider addressing those fundamental muscles needed for creating a strong sound body, try exposing your body to muscles you may never knew you had with our Pilates mat class. Everyone is different and every approach takes a mapped out journey of mini-goals to achieve the big one!

But the burning question here is “When can I return to X?” – This final stage is Perform.

Tennis

Perform

Perform – is exactly how it sounds. Where do you see yourself performing? It may be out for a run, returning to your local basketball competition or trying out that new Chrissy present! We’ve all got something in mind that we want to achieve. The first part of the perform phase is knowing that you have prepared your body, that you’ve done the work to pre-hab your body in preparation for your end goal. This will give you and your body the confidence to take that next step – without a worry for your body’s ability to perform or maintain its longevity.

It’s hard to achieve yet sustain performance. Performance is a self perceived effort of something you have wanted to achieve. It would be easy to assume that once we reach performance that we would plateau and sigh with content. Although reaching your goal is a great achievement, remember to value what your body can give you. And that saying, take control and care of what your body does. Maintaining mobile muscles and joints, sustaining quality movement and applying these to your goals takes consistency, knowledge and determination.

To help you along your journey to maintaining optimal performance, we’ve made it simple with our Viva Strong or Runner’s Strength class – a challenge to help those muscles to keep up with your demands.

What does the process look like for you? Try mapping it out. Set yourself a timeframe of mini goals to help achieve an end goal. Where do you currently fit in with Relieve, Restore and Perform? How close are you to your performance goal? In January we’ll create tools to help you with this process.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Nelson Mendela;

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
Discover what your body can do!