Between lockdowns, gyms shutting their doors and general pandemic-related fatigue, 2020 took a toll on Americans’ health and fitness.
According to a recent study based on Bluetooth smart device data, people under shelter-in-place orders gained more than half a pound for every 10 days spent in lockdown, which adds up to over 2 pounds per month. Multiply that by a year, and it’s safe to assume some people gained upward of 20 pounds. 
Fortunately, optimism is in the air these days.
With lockdown restrictions easing, the weather warming up and the sun staying out longer, American’s are looking to get back into pre-pandemic shape. But before you dive into the proverbial deep end with your diet and exercise routine, it’s important to remember that healthy living starts with forming habits — not impulsive actions.
So, to help you set realistic goals and progressively work your way back into pre-pandemic shape, here are a few expert-guided tips to help you safely and efficiently get back into shape in 2021.
Slowly Scale Up Your Workouts
While it can be easy to feel the need to make up for lost time, it’s essential to ease your way back into your old training routine. Whether you’re a runner, weightlifter, cyclist or yogi, your body won’t be able to handle the same workload right away — it’s just the hard truth.
Training too hard too quickly can put undue stress on your body, leading to injury and fatigue. In more extreme cases, it can even lead to overtraining syndrome. Overtraining syndrome is triggered when you push your body beyond its current physical limitations. It can cause a series of unpleasant side effects, including extreme fatigue, agitation, insomnia, loss of appetite and metabolic imbalances. 
It’s not fun, and the physical and mental setbacks from overtraining syndrome will ultimately derail your big comeback even longer. So, be sure to take it slow out of the starting gate.
Set a Realistic & Tangible Goal
Setting tangible goals gives you a clear sense of purpose. Whether you want to run a mile in under 6-minutes or lose 10 pounds, there are few things as gratifying as seeing the indisputable results of your hard work pay off.
But while goal setting is great for results, be sure to set attainable goals based on your current fitness level. Setting the bar too high can lead to frustration and, ultimately, resignation. Conversely, setting unambitious goals can lead to uninspiring outcomes and demotivation. 
Monitor Your Progress
Monitoring your progress and seeing the results of your hard work is a great way to stay motivated. And, with the abundance of modern-day apps dedicated to tracking health and wellness measurables, it’s easy to find a simple system for measuring your progress.
For instance, if you’re focused on losing body fat, most modern at-home scales can easily measure your body fat from the comfort of your own home — no personal trainer required. Cutting back on carbs? Download one of the many diet tracking apps available these days.
No matter your goal, there’s most likely a way to keep a pulse on your progress. Use it.
Put Your Diet on Autopilot
Getting back in shape is no easy task, and you’ll need to make up for the additional time and effort by easing your workload in other areas of your life. Fortunately, we have a simple solution that takes the cooking, cleaning and prep work off your hands.
Meet Factor, the prepared meal delivery service that delivers healthy, chef-made meals directly to your door. Factor meals arrive on your doorstep, ready to heat and eat in minutes. What’s more, the menu changes every week, so there’s always a variety of keto, Paleo, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free recipes to keep your taste buds on their toes.
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