How to Get Back on Track When Your Workout Goes Off the Rails

When it comes to workouts, we all occasionally fall off the wagon. Sometimes this happens due to a busy lifestyle; with so much going on, you neglect to hit the gym for a few days. Other times, travel might keep us away, or life might intervene with an illness or obligation. Sarah Cornett, owner of the Pilates Concept, understands that the occasional short or long-term absence is almost unavoidable. This month, we talked to her about some strategies to deal with a break in the routine. We also checked in with Christie Thomas, whose relationship with pilates is chronicled in this series, to see how she’s doing in the aftermath of her surgery.

For a lot of people, they feel like a failure if an extended break occurs in their workout plan. How common is this feeling, and what do you say to clients who feel intimidated about getting back on track?

Sarah: It’s very common for people to get down on themselves when they take a break from Pilates, or any other type of workout. When they do come back, people will often tell me they’ve been thinking about returning for six months, but didn’t because they were intimidated or scared. With pilates, though, everything is catered to the individual, and you can always start again. If you take a break, or take some time off, even if you start slowly, it’s much better than the alternative.

What are some reasons you see for lapses in clients’ programs, and how do you help people stay on track?

Sarah: It really depends on the individual. We have a lot of people who travel, or who financially need to take a break, or because family issues take precedence. We always work with our clients and try to give them tools so they can continue on their own. If we know that a break is coming, we might use the last workout to showcase things they can do anywhere. For clients who travel, we give them resistance stands they can pack and carry. We also text with traveling clients to answer questions or give them guidance.

If someone takes a longer break, do they have to start over again from scratch?

Sarah: Not necessarily. We always return to the basics, but a person’s muscle memory remains, so the workout will come more naturally to them. Some people, especially those forced to take a break because of surgery, come back and are very hard on themselves. They want to be right back where they were, and that’s not always possible. This is when pre-surgery prep work can pay off. For example, with Christie, we did so much prep work that we noticed an immediate impact when she returned. The important thing to remember is that breaks are natural. It can be nice for people to take a break from something they do all the time, and when they return, they’re reminded why they fell in love with it in the first place.

As for Christie, her surgery went off without a hitch and she’s dived back into her pilates program with renewed vigor. She greatly appreciates everyone who reached out over the past several weeks, and offers sincere thanks to Dr. Deborah Lehmann and her staff members Kelly, Crystal and Darla.