For most of us, training volume and intensity significantly slows during the Christmas period. Whilst this is a good thing – it provides us with a physical and psychological break from the work, it also means that we will have regressed slightly during the time off.

The amount you’ll have regressed depends on a number of factors – the length of the break, how indulgent the break was (more food and drink can mean a lot more work to be done afterwards!) and whether or not you did any exercise during the time off at all. 

For the purposes of this article, we’re going to assume you’ve had a very indulgent break, meaning you’re effectively starting from scratch. What we’re going to show you is how to rebuild your fitness from scratch, putting together a strength training programme and an appropriately-structured cardio programme.

Time to read: 5 minutes


Key Points:

  • Returning to Training
  • Starting Strength Training Again
  • Returning to Cardio Training
  • Returning to Training - The Programme
  • Day 1: 2 sets of 12 Reps per Exercise
  • Day 2: 3 sets of 12 Reps per Exercise
  • Day 3: 3 sets of 15 Reps per Exercise
  • Rest Day Activities
  • Returning to Training with KYMIRA

For most of us, training volume and intensity significantly slows during the Christmas period. Here's what to consider when starting back after a Christmas break!

Returning to Training

One of the principles of training is ‘reversibility’ [1], this is where following a drop in volume and intensity of training, your body returns to its pre-trained state. Your muscles atrophy (shrink) and become weaker. Your endurance capabilities reduce and your connective tissues weaken and reduce in elasticity. 

We have to allow for this and assume it has happened across all of your physiological systems, meaning any return to training has to start from ground zero.

Starting Strength Training Again

Broadly speaking there are 7 human movement patterns. There’s debate over the nuances of these, but essentially human movement can be broken down into 7 fundamental patterns. These are…

  • Squat
  • Lunge
  • Push 
  • Pull
  • Twist
  • Hinge
  • Gait

To rebuild a comprehensive version of fitness we have to cover all of these bases – only then will we have made sure that we have built a training programme on sound footings. Regardless of your sport, whether you’re a runner, a cyclist, a triathlete or a team sports player, you fitness should be built on a foundation of strength and flexibility, given these are the injury-proofing [3] and force generating elements of your physiology.

Returning to Cardio Training

The principle of reversibility is present with cardio training as well, so just as you lose strength and power when you break from strength training, you also lose VO2 Max capability when you stop doing your cardio. Research shows that the de-training effect occurs as early as 2 weeks post-cessation of training [4].

In order to rebuild cardio fitness, we have to balance intensity with the ability to recover and cope with the demands. These are nuanced depending on the sport, so for example with runners the risk of injury is higher due to impact, so we may have to take it easier than with swimmers or cyclists, where there is little to no impact forces to contend with.

Returning to Training - The Programme

This is the programme we suggest you follow in order to regain your strength and fitness. In the programme you’ll cover all of the movement bases and can use this as a platform to rebuild a basic level of fitness.

Once you’ve done this, you can then work towards a more specific training programme for your particular sport.

Start each session with an appropriate warm up. 5 minutes on a rowing machine, followed by a very light set of each exercise is usually sufficient.

Day 1: 2 sets of 12 reps per exercise

Day 2: 3 sets of 12 reps per exercise


Push Ups

Walking Lunges

Shoulder Presses

20 Minute Walk/Run – Run until fatigue, walk to recovery, run again until 20 minutes completed

Day 3: 3 sets of 15 reps per exercise

Rest Day Activities

This is a 3 workouts per week programme, but that doesn’t need to be the only exercise you do. There’s nothing wrong with using your days ‘off’ the programme to enjoy a walk, a bike ride or any other form of low intensity exercise. What’s important here is to build back up to fitness at an appropriate rate – walking before we run, so to speak.

Returning to Training with KYMIRA

The infrared products that we sell are perfect to help you work your way back up to fitness and beyond. Alongside the performance-enhancing features such as improved strength, stamina and flexibility, there’s the injury-prevention and recovery enhancing effects too.

For general fitness work, these are the KYMIRA products we recommend…

Infrared Training Range

December 02, 2020 — Stephen Hoyles

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