You took a break from training
Maybe, you had family obligations, work commitments, deployments, or an important surgery, and as a result you sacrificed doing something you enjoy, which is train in class. (If you’re coming back to training specifically from an injury, check out this video too.)
The break started with 2 classes, then it turned to 2 weeks, 2 months, or even 2+ years, but regardless of the length of time and reason, you know you want to come back.
Do you feel excited, relieved, nervous, or even embarrassed with getting back into the groove of training?
If what you’re feeling isn’t positive, let’s dig a little deeper and address what you’re feeling for some peace of mind.
Address what’s going on in your head
Sometimes, the hardest part of coming back to training is the mental fight.
If you’re feeling nervous about coming back, try to look at it a little differently: Being nervous means that you care. You want to do a good job and to be able to move and perform exercises well. Thinking of nervousness in a different light doesn’t automatically remove those feelings, so just try to embrace it even though it sucks.
Do you feel embarrassed about coming back after a long break? Maybe you’re worried about what people are going to think, or you trained when you were a bit younger, but now your body and fitness level isn’t the same as it was before.
Remember that Impact Martial Arts Academy is a goal oriented place, and we want you to improve by at least 1% every day. We’re not Cobra Kai, so you don’t have to worry about your instructor or a senior level student beating you up and breaking your arm when you come back. We’d be more happy with the fact that you came back, want to work on your goals, and want to train!
Differentiate between Expectations and Goals
You’re a ___ belt, and you have expectations for yourself to be able to perform like a ___ belt. You want to be able to perform a certain way, but because of the break, you’re not where you used to be either mentally and/or physically. If you expect yourself to be perfect or to be able to perform exactly like you did before a break, you’ll set yourself up for failure. If you’re going to have expectations for yourself, expect that you will not sandbag, and do your best.
Remember what your goals are
Think of what your specific goals are and break them down into measurable/attainable goals that you can work on within a time period.
Write down and post them in places that you’ll see every day like your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or computer monitor.
Make your action plan with the steps you need to take to achieve your goals.
Get back into a routine
If you’ve been off the mats for a long time, starting back up with two classes per week is a good way to get back into the groove. When you schedule your classes, you can have one day in between. It’s not too much time in between to where you’ll completely forget what you just learned and it’ll give you a little bit of time to rest.
Avoid changing too fast
You might be tempted to move/hit/roll has hard and as fast as you can when you come back, but ease back into it. Classes are usually already structured to where there’s a warm up at the beginning of class to build you up for a successful class.
When you get back into training after a break, you might feel out of breath or that it feels harder to breath than what you remember. Be mindful of how you’re breathing so that you get enough oxygen in your body. Inhale through your nose for a few seconds, and exhale through your mouth.
If you feel slower than before or start to criticize yourself for feeling slow, remember that you can build back up to speed – it just might take a little while. It may feel like you’re starting over, but even though you’re moving slow, you’re still moving and moving more than you had been during the break!
Reacclimate yourself back into the right mindset
You are your worst critic. When you start to think negative thoughts while you train, combat it with a different thought.
Here are some ideas/thoughts to help mentally “spar” during tough rounds:
“I’m so slow right now.”
“I’m so tired.”
“I can’t keep up.”
— “I’m moving slow right now, but I’m going to hit hard/work hard.”
— “I’m moving slow right now, but I’m giving my best technique.”
— “I know I’m tired but I gotta keep moving.”
— “I’m alive and breathing and won’t stop moving.”
Your instructors and peers will be there to help encourage you along the way, but don’t expect them to babysit you. Guide yourself to a black belt mindset. With martial arts training and fitness, you have to want it for yourself. Push yourself and keep moving forward even when you feel like getting back into training is hard.