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13/01/24 4

How to start training again after the holidays

Starting to train again after the holidays can be a critical moment for those who practice sports. Even more so for those who are used to training regularly. You can feel almost stuck.

For pleasure and sometimes almost out of duty (family obligations!), the holidays lead us to interrupt good eating practices and our training program. But as has been said (we have already talked about it in the article on the management of off-season) this does not necessarily have a negative effect on our body.

After the last binge, in fact, we returned to practice rested – with the right hours of sleep – and certainly with many more calories available. It amazes us like this, feeling deprived of strength or energy, weighed down. We also know that short periods of interruption do not lead to a large change in terms of muscle strength, nor at a metabolic level. Even with regards to aerobic capacity or VO2max, the impact of the stop would not justify the shock that may cause restart.

If there are no other factors that determine the difficulty in returning to running in the gym, or playing sports in general, the psychological aspect of the state of rest could be the factor.

Negative and positive reinforcements in the training routine: the psychological aspect of the rest condition.

If you are reading this article it is likely that you are a meticulous person in training or that you attach a certain importance to this aspect of your life. Even if you see a few extra kilos on the scale, what you are dealing with is not a physical change, but a mental one. What caused it is the mechanism of reinforcement, studied by behaviouralist psychology since the 1920s.

We often hear from those who practice sport that, having missed a session, they feel uncomfortable, guilty or even in a bad mood. Well: the obligation – commitment – result routine has an enormous psychological weight for those who have reached a certain level of conditioning. Positive reinforcement, in this case, can be made up of many factors, first of all the famous “endorphins” released during the recovery phase, that sense of well-being that the body triggers to compensate for energy expenditure or muscular use, the so-called muscle damage. Having trained then allows us to eat something more, avoiding – therefore negative reinforcement – the sense of guilt that is now culturally linked to indulging in food. Positive reinforcements are times that improve – who hasn’t bought a fitwatch or smartwatch yet? – the strength that increases in the gym, the compliments from friends.

But how does psychological resistance to training take hold?

To explain how this phenomenon occurs we must go back to the moment in which we learned the rudiments of our sport. What we don’t remember is, in fact, the pain linked to overcoming our initial psychophysical limits. The concentration required to learn the coordination necessary for movement will undoubtedly have been remarkable. Thus, our apparatus will also have had to record a large amount of stimuli to adapt to the required performance. To improve we had to suffer a lot.

If it is true that sport makes us feel good, it is for the systemic aspect of being healthy, but also and above all for the effort-reward mechanism that is at the basis of carrying out any sport.

By idling, this psychological structure linked to carrying out an activity to obtain something positive has disappeared, or rather it has been overturned. It thus becomes more difficult to break the barrier of initial “pain”, of fatigue, for the simple fact that – for a few weeks – the reward arrived without any suffering. A negative reinforcement was implemented between idleness and absence of fatigue.

Life is about commitment and results

If it may seem strange, it must be remembered that most aspects of our life link the resolution of a problem or the use of energy to the achievement of a state of well-being. It’s true in studies, at work, at home and even in relationships. The human being replicates this model in almost all of his works because it is an essential experience lived by each of us. Even ancestral, that is, linked to the species. From fiction, to games, to video games, to get the prize the protagonist will have to overcome a limit.

Advice on how to start training again after Christmas and the holidays

The solution for the lack of desire, for those who can no longer overcome the kilometre, is gradual repair – which will protect us from injuries or worse – and planning. Knowing where you are going is the perfect way to experience a gradual departure peacefully.

The advice is therefore to treat yourself to a few sessions of pure leisure, without excess, enjoying the beauty of sport without setting goals, listening to our body and its potential. Another trick to get into the mood can be to use preworkouts such as Sprintade Complete Energy, Sprintade Energy Gum or Energy Gum Plus before training and returning to handle or adjust our equipment to experience all the wonderful sensations linked to our sport.

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