I’m Back: how to regain your grind after you fall off

personal trainer in gym

When’s the last time you have emphatically announced, “I’m back!”? 

You know, a time when you signed up for that class, closed the biggest deal in the office, or just did the damn thing.

I want to help you plot and plan your comeback. 

HINT: It’s all in how you say it.

I also want to give you a VIP Access to reserve a spot in my small group strength training class.


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This week, I’m going to be a part of the Grand Opening of Elle Studio + Wellness: a holistic health and wellness facility in Walker’s Point.

I’m hosting a small group strength training class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 PM.


This past summer, I did host my first outdoor boot camp (check out what some of my clients said: 12 People Tell You Why You Should Try My Boot Camp). But, if I’m honest, that was more of an “I came back!”

To say “I’m back! ” puts an emphasis on where you are now. As in, currently, I’m training at Elle twice a week in the evenings. And more important than the particulars, I’m excited. Hence the exclamation point.

All this summer, over three four-week sessions with up to 22 people, training at McKinley Park in West Allis, it was more of a whisper, “I came back!” Usually, after hanging out with a few clients talking about exercise and nutrition as I made my way back home for dinner and #NetflixandChilll.

NOTE: This post isn’t about the particulars of “what happened,” but if you’re interested in the backstory, you can read that here: Why I Quit My Career As A Personal Trainer

Both phrases, “I’m back!” and “I came back!”, mean that you have returned.

But, there’s more to it than that. “I came back,” emphasizes the act of returning. When an exclamation point is added, “I came back!” gives you a sense of a surprise. And surprised I was. It all started with a Facebook Messenger conversation (with my new intern, Mike) which led to a discussion about corporate wellness with one of my inactive client Tricia that ultimately put me back in the game, hosting boot camps.

Today, when I say, “I’m back,” I’m highlighting where I am now. And the exclamation point in, “I’m back!”, lets you know that I’m excited to be here.


“Why Go Back?”

The best answer happens to be short and sweet: the people.

I’m geeked to be working with Emily, the owner of Elle, and a  team of professionals offering massage therapy, nutrition services, exercise, and mindfulness.

I’ve worked with franchise owners (like Anytime and Snap Fitness) and a couple of local gym owners, but to be a part of a brand new space is…well…new for me too.

A lot of great people made up MISPIBO Fitness.

…my partnerships with local business owners

…my trainers and administrative assistant, Natali

…and of course – my clients

I have always been a coach with helping people, in mind. Whether football, fitness or financial aid. I’m here because of the people.


“Then Why Did You Leave?”

Again, this answer is not so short and sweet.

And if you’re interested, read this: Why I Quit My Career As A Personal Trainer

Here, I’ll sum it up in two reasons:

  • The culture of my company, MISPIBO Fitness, had changed so much from my vision, it was no longer in alignment with what I truly believed in.
  • As it was, I did not have the services or products I needed to continue providing my best work.

My gut was all out of whack,  but one thing I intuitively knew was: I’d have to deconstruct what I thought I knew if I wanted my best to be better and navigate the new landscape of health and fitness.


How to Get Back into Your Fitness Routine

Tomorrow, I’ll be on Day 1 of Week 35 of my Neuromuscular (another cool way to say exercise) Strength program, by Chris Barnard and Elliott Hulse.

I’m not saying this to brag. What you probably don’t know – I have failed to keep up with an exercise routine for years between 2013 and 2016. I’d go to the gym for a few months if I were lucky and most times not at all. It happens to all of us.

And it’s always hard to get back on the horse when you have fallen off.

Here’s exactly how to come back:

Understand We All Fall Off

Just in case you missed it, I’ll make it understandable: falling off is normal so expect it.

How would you treat a friend who says, “I’m going to start going to the gym?” With compassion, right?

Where’s your self-compassion when it comes to you getting back on the horse?

You aren’t lacking willpower or discipline…well maybe, but it’s not only that. You are a human being. And as a human being, we get to decide how we are going to respond once we’re aware of a stimulus.

When you fall off or want to bounce back, it’s essential you have some self-compassion. Does that sound too weak? Or silly? Well let’s look at all three of your options:

  1. You can be the criticizer – angry at yourself for falling off the horse
  2. You can be the criticized – react defensively to criticism, even if it’s your own
  3. You can be compassionate one – a mediator looking at the situation as it is and helping to move forward

Who do you call in a moment of crisis? Exactly.

This takes practice. You will be both the critic and criticized from time to time. The point is to use your compassion to work through it on both sides.


“One Week Makes You Weak”

A person with self-compassion is ready to evaluate themselves. When you lose, it takes objectivity, not judgment, to do better.

Before going back to the gym, I feared these two main losses:

Muscle and Strength

At first, I didn’t lose much with my erratic schedule. You might find that you don’t lose too much muscle if your lay off is less than three months.

In fact, “Strength trained athletes retain strength gains during short periods of inactivity (two weeks) and retain significant portions of strength gains (88% to 93%) during inactivity lasting up to 12 weeks,” according to Sports-Specific Rehabilitation.

For years, I told myself (and client) “one week makes you weak.” But it’s not true. Strength comes back relatively quickly.

Have you ever heard of the term “muscle memory”? Well, bodybuilders and strongman have known, for a long time, that muscle does have some “memory” of previous strengths. Now, science is catching up to the phenomenon. While muscles atrophy (become smaller), the myocluei, or nuclei of the muscle, remains intact.

Fat Gain

Have you ever gone on a weekend binge? Okay, maybe a feast that lasted a few weeks? During times like these, it’s easy to gain as much as 5% of your body weight (9lbs for a guy my size – 180 lbs).

But when you put on weight this quickly, most of it is not fat, it’s excess water retention.

You can’t believe the scale all the time. You have to be objective.

I would need an energy surplus of 31,500 calories to gain 9 pounds. If you think you have a gained even one pound because of a long weekend, ask yourself if you really had a surplus of 3,500 calories (what it takes to gain one pound).

Be objective and without judgment.

Hey, it’s possible. But not likely. Even though it’s most likely water weight, do this before you fall off the horse:

  • Give yourself one week
  • Reduce your calorie intake moderately (250 calories a day or 20%)
  • Hop back on the scale in a week

Now you can have an objective conclusion because any water weight should subside by this time.

I’ve seen too many clients call it quits because they’ve checked the scale at the wrong time with a lack of knowledge. Instead of taking a week or two to come back, they ultimately fell off. And some have never made their resurgence.

If you don’t think you can be objective or don’t get the science of body composition, get a coach who can help you.

For now, if you think you’ve gained weight over a weekend, or even a vacation, you are probably okay.

Easy Come, Easy Go

What do a lottery winner and a paralyzed person have in common? I swear this isn’t a bad joke.

They probably have a similar level of happiness.

Research shows if you won the lottery you wouldn’t be happier than your neighbor and a little happier than a person paralyzed in an accident (if they were already happy).

Being stubborn is great and comes naturally to human beings. It’s a resilient quality that shows when client reestablish a new baseline for happiness (or goals).

When it comes to happiness, human beings are equally incredibly resilient and stubborn. We are always establishing a new baseline of happiness, and I see this in my clients all the time.

I personally went from not squatting at all to repping 300+ pounds in a few short months. Yet, after changing my program (I was getting beat up), I’m still displeased I’m not back to where I was.

When what you “could do” becomes the focus, you are idealizing the past. This brings up feelings of defeat and sadness.

A practice of gratitude cures a mind stuck in the past. To be grateful calls for you to:

  • Step back
  • Think about how far you have come
  • Honor the process that got you here

Instead of focusing on the pounds on the bar, I think about the streak of 35 weeks. If you can practice gratitude, you will refocus and continue to grow.


Reboots Are Not Just for iPhones

Have you ever had to reboot your phone?

Well, sometimes you need a reboot too. It’s not as easy as pressing a button, so you are going to need about one week.

To begin: create a detailed list, that you know you can accomplish.

For example, if you are struggling with going back to the gym because you are worried you’ve lost strength, your “I’m Going To” list might look like this:

Here’s an example of how you checklist might look if you’re struggling with going back to the gym because you’re worried about how much strength you have lost:


  • Pick out workout clothes for Tuesday


  • Put on workout clothes
  • Pick out workout clothes for Wednesday


  • Put on workout clothes
  • Drive to the gym
  • Pick out workout clothes for Thursday


  • Put on workout clothes
  • Drive to the gym
  • Warm up for 5 minutes
  • Pick out workout clothes for Friday


  • Put on workout clothes
  • Drive to the gym
  • Warm up for 5 minutes
  • Do one set of barbell squats
  • Pick out workout clothes for Monday

And so on. The most important part is checking off this list. Not thinking about the outcome at all. It doesn’t matter if you feel weak when the goal is to be strong. Refocus on the list. Make your “I’m Going To” list so simple, at first, that it’s laughable and you will get it done.

When that critic pops up in your head, snap back to the present moment by bringing your attention to your checklist.

By the end of the week, you’ll be back in the gym and on your way.


‘Til, Your Good, Is Better And Your Better Is Best

At the end of the day, we’re all humans looking for meaning. Whether it’s exercise or business, it’s all about where you put your attention. Wherever you put your emphasis, energy follows.

So be purposeful when you leave your mark.

You decide if it’s about…

…what you did

…what your doing.

…or how you’re doing it

In case you missed it: I’m back! And I’m excited.

Here’s how you sign up for a free session with me this week:

Elle Studio + Wellness Grand Opening

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