After a long lay off from training, one of the hardest things to do is to get back in to it. Since there will be a few of you going through this after the festive season, I thought it would be a good topic to touch upon.

The biggest mistake most people make on their first visit back to the gym, is to try and push their bodies to the same extent they did when they were in regular exercise. Some of you may actually enjoy the aftermath of your first session back but to the vast majority of us it’s a complete turn off.

I’ll guess at some point that most of you have woken up the next morning after your first session back feeling as if you’ve been run over by a bus. The idea of training again seems impossible and you think of every excuse imaginable that will prevent you from returning to the gym.

What you have to remember is even though you haven’t trained for some time, you will still have all the skills that you had before you stopped. The only difference is that your body is not used to being put through this type of workout anymore.

The human body is designed to repair itself so all the conditioning that you had done in the past will have gone. You will still be punching and kicking just as hard as before, which is why your shins may be sore after or why your arms ache each time you punch the pads.

A physiotherapist who trained at the gym once told me that our bodies can only take a 5% increase in exercise before injuries start setting in. I’m not sure if the percentages are completely accurate but I think it’s a good rule of thumb to go by.

Your body is built for what it does so if you’ve lounged around and done nothing for a while then that is what it’s used to doing. You have to train your body and let it know that it can do all these things again. Don’t worry, it is an amazing machine and can adapt very quickly, it just has do be done correctly.

My advice for your first week back would be to attend a couple of sessions, preferably a day or two apart. Even if everyone else is going 110mph you should just go a nice, steady pace, you shouldn’t be getting to a point of feeling sick on your first session back. If you need to take five then take five, you’ll know yourselves whether you are being lazy or you actually need a breather.

Each week add another day on to your training schedule, or if other commitments prevent you doing this, just simply up the tempo when you do train.

You will still ache after the sessions but not to the point where you are in agony to walk. It will be just enough to know that you’ve started the journey to getting back in to shape.

A healthy body does indeed equal a healthy mind and it won’t be long before you will back on parr with your old self or even surpass the level you were once at.