Bouncing Back After Taking Time Off From Exercise

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Blah. I had a terrible workout at CrossFit yesterday. I felt like my body wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do, and it frustrated the crap out of me. I also tore up my hands again, which were almost healed from “Murph.” I know”¦ woe, is me.

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When I got home from CrossFit, I received a bunch of pug kisses, which instantly made me feel better. I mean, how could they not? Murphy is the best little Therapy Dog. Check out that tongue! Haha! Pug kisses are just one of his many therapy services.

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I know everyone takes time off from exercise at one point or another because of an injury, illness, pregnancy, or just plain lack of motivation. Obviously, it’s not the end of the world, but it still can be frustrating trying to get back into the groove when you know you’re not as fit as you used to be.

I was definitely struggling with some negative emotions yesterday, and I thought some of you might have experienced the same feelings, so here are a few things I’m doing to help myself bounce back.

  • Be positive. Getting down on myself isn’t going to help me improve, but a positive attitude will keep me motivated to get myself where I want to be. A positive attitude goes a long way!
  • Focus on what you CAN do. I did 100 pull-ups on Saturday. Hey, I’ve still got it! Focusing on what I can do is so much better than dwelling on what I can’t do.
  • Don’t quit. What kills you only makes you stronger? I had a rough workout yesterday and wanted to quit, but I didn’t let myself, and I’m so glad that I pushed through. It definitely made me a little bit stronger.
  • Appreciate the moment. This is going to sound super cheesy, but it’s the truth. Every CrossFit class I go to, I take a moment to soak it all in and appreciate that I’m healthy enough to be there. There’s been so many times that I haven’t been well enough to exercise, so taking a minute to appreciate my physical health puts things in perspective.
  • Set some new goals. Exercising again after taking time off is like starting with a clean slate. Instead of dwelling on the past, I’m looking forward and setting new goals to keep me motivated.

If you’re struggling to get back on track with your diet or exercise routine, here are some helpful posts I’ve written over the years:


After CrossFit, I showered up, made some green juice, and then started to make lunch.

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I snacked on some grapes while I worked.

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On the menu: an open-face toasted sandwich with Garlic & Herb Laughing Cow cheese and cucumber slices with a little salt and pepper sprinkled on top. Yum!

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[I am an official brand advocate for Bel Brands in 2013. While I receive compensation for participation as a brand advocate, opinions are my own.]


Last night’s dinner was a good one! We had chicken salad with red grapes and celery, homemade French fries, and Kale Salad, which I made using the super easy instruction from the chef at Canyon Ranch.

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Mal and I ate dinner in the living room while we watched Weeds. We discovered there’s a new season of the show on Netflix, so we had a mini marathon last night.

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I ate about 500 peanut M&Ms while we watched TV.

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Question of the Day

Have you ever taken a considerable amount of time off from exercise? What did you do to help yourself bounce back?

P.S. BIC Bands just added 53 new bands! There are lots of cute ones!



  1. I completely know how you feel. Winter time my motivation drops a lot of the times, especially when it’s constantly pouring rain outside. It’s very difficult to will yourself into the gym.

    What I found works great is to get a workout buddy to help motivate me to get into the gym at a specified time. Does wonders for me. Or even to improvise & just get a good workout dvd to do at home. You can find some good weight resistance DVDs now a days too.

  2. The last time I had to take time off was last year when I had a slight tear in my meniscus. I couldn’t run or do any leg exercises for 6-weeks. It was tough but made me appreciate being able to workout even more when I got back into it. Plus I think the body needs a break from time to time (though not 6-weeks!)

  3. I have never had to take a long break from exercise. However, about twice a year I will have a zero week. I do nothing all week and at the end of the week I am craving exercise. I think this helps me mentally. It also helps me plan my goals in exercise!

  4. We did a half Murph on Monday, now I really want to tackle the full Murph. Do you mind if I ask what your time was for Murph? For the half I finished in 25:50, I fear the full would put me around a hour, I’m sure I’ll get pretty gassed 2/3 of the way through, but I’m ready to crush it!

  5. Ooouch!! Looks like you hand would really hurt. I’m sure the 500 M&ms would have soothed the pain a little. I often take a break from exercise but try to keep it less than a month at a time. I feel that my body needs a break sometimes.

  6. Oh I SOOOO understand this. I broke my foot and the doctor made me take 13 weeks off. I still did some things, but it was not even a little bit the same. And it was haaaaaard to lay off. But once I started really working, it was easy getting back into shape again. It was that first week that was maybe the most depressing, but after that things really started to open up.

    I started by treating the “get back to it” week like a training program. I designed my days and meals and everything to be as healthy and helpful as possible, and crossed each day off my calendar. I also rewarded myself with things like manicures and cute yoga clothes when I met my goals. Treats help.

  7. I had a bad couple of runs this week. Im just feel frustrated that my body does not want to get in the ‘zone’ and keep hoping that the next one will be better. Ive never taken a long break from exercise but even after a few days or a week i feel like ive lost everything. I like your tips on how to bounce back:) especially the one about staying positive. I can’t wait until the kale in our garden comes up! I love it as a side dish. And your cheese and cukes sandwich combo sounds awesome

  8. I have found that I won’t go running unless I have a race to train for. This meant that I haven’t really been running at all this year, after running two half-marathons last year. I finally decided to sign up for a 5k and get myself back into it! Putting some money down will definitely put my butt in gear!

  9. My last gym day was Monday and I haven’t been able to go the past two days due to work committments. I’m getting anxious! I have a serious weight loss goal so my gym time is uber important. I just set my alarm for 5:30am so I can go before work. We’ll see how that goes!

  10. It can definitely be frustrating to lose some fitness after weeks or months of life just getting in the way. I’ve been there! I just tried to tell myself that you can’t always be at the absolute peak of your fitness. It’s called a peak for a reason. All you can do is the best you can. And thanks for the tip on weeds! I haven’t watched in years, not since the cliffhanger gunshot at the end of season (?). it’ll be fun to get caught up this summer!

  11. I had to take a few months off of pretty much everything a few months ago after an emergency colon surgery. I found that slowly getting back into my routine and listening to my body (backing off when I needed to) was key to doing it in a healthy way. Also, reminding myself that breaks are a good thing and appreciating my body for what it could do at the time helped a lot. Now that I’m back to 100% I know that it would have been a slower process had I rushed into it too fast. Our bodies are smart – we just need to listen to them:)

  12. I had to take some time off last year when I injured my foot and it killed me motivation wise but then I started to focus on what I could actually do not what I couldn’t do from my injury and it definitely helped me to bounce back. Sometimes breaks can make you refreshed and more motivated than ever when you do get back.

  13. I’m going through the EXACT same thing. I had a few too many trips back to back and despite working out 90% of the time, I had a pretty rough day at crossfit today. I seriously wanted to quit (hell, before the count down timer even buzzed), but I just made little goals throughout the workout. I kept telling myself, “okay, just 10 more wall balls then you get to ‘rest’ with sit-ups.” At the end of the WOD, I was glad I didn’t quit.

    Btw, I was at the dog park today with my pup and a couple showed up with a pug named Murph! I thought you guys immediately! 🙂

  14. When I got my wisdom teeth pulled, I laid on the couch for 6 days straight. I actually lost weight because I lost muscle! Getting my stamina up again was the hardest part. It’s amazing how much you can lose!

  15. any tips for hand care? I’ve read a few things, and have recently been using Aquaphor lotion (greasy but pretty good) but my hands looked similar to yours last week and am not sure the best way to deal with the painful, healing skin at the base of my ring fingers. tips would be appreciated 🙂
    nice job pushing though today!

    1. I use a pedicure tool to “shave” down my calluses. I wait until the end of my shower until the skin on my hands is soft before I do it. It sounds gross, but it definitely helps!

  16. I’m going through a hiatus while I tackle a large move in my life. Although packing and cleaning seems to take a lot of energy out of me. Today I had to get my bikes to a friend’s to store until my new racks are put on my new car (of which I had to buy this weekend) then run home, ride the other bike there and run home. Somehow I keep getting in workouts!

  17. I have IBS and had had a flare up last week…plus I had overdone it with ab exercises the week before also. Everything was tense and tight. I only walked a few times and did a little yoga. This week I went back at it stronger than ever.

  18. I am going through the samething too. I took this past week off from working out, just feeling yucky. Feels good to take a break but that first workout back feels good but then you’re super sore! Glad to see you back at the gym.

  19. After Murph, I literally felt like my body wouldn’t cooperate. I took yesterday off, but went in today and felt pretty horrific. I honestly should have listened to my body and stayed home. After doing 100 pull-ups, we had more today and I felt like I just didn’t have it. Murph was killer! Today made me feel pretty down, but I like how you put it. I’m going to appreciate the fact that I was able to RX Murph (holy cow) and be happy with what my body is capable of.

    And to the gal above who asked about time, it took me 66 minutes to finish RX. You can do it!

  20. I start back at training tomorrow after 6 weeks off, it is both mentally & physically challenging but I have to remember not to give up on myself – it is amazing how quickly you lose your fitness and how hard you have to work to get it back.

  21. I hate those days at the gym! Usually a good wod cures all, but when your body turns on you and it feels like you’re wearing someone else’s body that totally blows! The only time I ate shit on a box jump was a day like that. Keep your head up!! It always gets better.

  22. I have struggling with that very thing this week. I took about two weeks off from running and ever since to have a good run. I know I can’t have set myself back that much but its super discouraging and is making me anxious for my upcoming races.

  23. Great post and I love every one of your motivational tips! It’s only been a week since my last workout and I was dreading my first run after the hiatus. Turns out it wasn’t as bad as expected! 🙂 I’m running the NYC marathon and it’s high time I get serious about training. Planning my own blog series for a motivation boost and some accountability. Stay positive!

  24. Just posted yesterday about falling off the diet/exercise wagon. I say don’t beat yourself up, know that it will suck at first, but do it anyway. Easy peasy.

    As for it sucking… just look at my face on Instagram after yesterday’s run. #scarygirl

  25. One more thing… since I moved to kipping pull-ups a few months ago, I’ve ripped my hands twice – both times in the center of my palms, and both times after I hit about 40 reps. 🙁 (G.I. Jane and a 21-15-9) Does this get better? Or is it my form/grip that needs to get better?

  26. I haven’t taken more than a week off of exercise usually when I have a cold or something. But I imagine coming back would be frustrating!
    Hang in their lady, you’re awesome! You’ll bounce back quick I’m sure!

  27. I like to ease back in with a few workouts of simple design and a time cap. My favorite go-to “get back to it” workout is a 12 minute AMRAP of 10 pushups and 10 squats. It’s simple in design, I can do great even if I don’t feel great, and the whole time, I know I only have to last 12 minutes. It gets my body used to moving again and helps mentally too. I really recommend this strategy!

  28. i was feeling really down on myself this morning after realizing a hike I used to be able to run was a little challenging as i walked it. so thanks so much for sharing! makes me feel a whoolleee lot better!

  29. Inspiring post. So true. We just took a heavy-eating vacation back to Los Angeles and now we’re back at the exercise scene. Never give up, stay positive. Great post!

  30. I just went back to TRX last night after being away for 8 days {such a lifetime, right??} and it was TOUGH! But I loved feeling my muscles work and even today, as I groan in pain whenever I move, I love that I worked hard!

  31. I’ve been in a workout slump! I haven’t been to Crossfit in a couple weeks and the longer I wait to go back the harder it gets. I’m terrified that when I go back I’m going to be weak sauce but I know I need to just suck it up and do it. Thanks for the inspiration to get back in the box.

  32. Good work! I saw that you ate approx. 500 peanut m & m’s”¦ and it reminded me that sometimes I really want some bad sugar”¦ Anyway, what helped me get that bad sugar quickly without going too far in the wrong direction, surprisingly is a little bit of CupCake frosting on a Strawberry”¦ After about 2 or 3 strawberries I have had enough.
    Don’t know why I shared that??? Maybe you can use that info or something”¦ I dunno.


  33. I’m confused-when did you take time off from exercise? You go to CrossFit multiple times a week

  34. Are you not allowed to wear weight lifting gloves at CrossFit? Weight Lifting gloves protect your hands all the way from keeping your wrists in the right position to covering your hands from your wrists to your 1st knuckle. I use them regularly if I”m going to be repeatedly lifting anything. I highly recommend some.

  35. I hurt my shoulder during the Crossfit Open back in March and am still in physical therapy and unable to work out. I’ve been really down on myself, and the prospect of going back and being nowhere near where I was before in terms of strength is daunting, so this post was a nice reminder to stay positive. Thanks! 🙂

  36. I work out 3 times a week, consistently, and aim for 4-5 times on a good week. I recently moved, and with the stress of packing, actually moving, and unpacking, I ended up taking 3 full weeks off from exercise. This past Monday was my first day back in the gym and I can’t lie, I was terrified. I knew it would be a tough workout since my body had been resting for such an extended period of time. I also knew I would more than likely leave the gym frustrated by my lack of ability. However, this week I have had 3 of the best workouts EVER. My body had so much energy, and I was able to really push myself physically. This leads me to believe that maybe taking some time off from exercise every now and then can actually do the body some good?

  37. Ohh seems like your hands had a bit of a workout too. I am still trying to get back into it after a few months now. I keep procrastinating but your tips seem quite good. I will be giving them a shot. Oh and thanks for the motivation!

  38. I just read your most recent post, and found my way to this one. Not only have I been recently diagnosed with celiac disease, but I am in recovery from ACL reconstruction surgery, which I had this past winter. I was cleared to start running again this month and it’s been challenging. Thanks for these tips!

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