Posted on April 09, 2021 by Kate Halsall
We previously blogged about getting back into the gym after the very first lockdown. Whilst we’re excited about the return to gym based exercise, this time it’s a little different. Let’s face it, we had Christmas and New Year, a couple of days in the gym and then boom – lockdown 3. Three months later, (and Easter with it’s chocolate glory), who knows what state our bodies and fitness levels are at! If you carried on those home workouts you found during the previous gym closures, or took up walking, cycling or running – then you’re already ahead of the game. But don’t think for one second you can stroll back into the gym, smash out a heavy session five days a week and expect to walk on Saturday! Here are some more top tips on how best to approach it.
- Get Functional. Focus on dynamic stretching and functional exercises – stick to the basics. The body is designed to push, pull, rotate, bend/hinge and move. Add to this sitting (squats) and walking (lunges) …you’ve already got the making of a great session. Beth covers this in her blog about planning your training.
- Drop Your Weights. Go functional and where possible go bodyweight. If you are desperate to lift something other than your own arm, drop your weights to around 50% of what you were using before Christmas and then look to increase this by 10-15% each week. Right now your focus should be on form, avoiding injury and rebuilding those gains. We’ve got to be cruel to be kind!
- Rest Between Sessions. I know I know…you’ve been resting pretty much for the last however long! But you need to be braced for the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), because believe me, they’re coming! The good news is that as Personal Trainers, we love the expression “active rest”. So on your “rest” days – or the days it hurts too much to sit down, do some light cardio instead of those weights.
- Mobilse and Foam Roll. Now is the time to honestly think about how you get ready to exercise, and how you end your session. I cannot stress the importance of a warm up to get your body ready, and a warm down to get the body back to that starting position (and hey, it may even help with the DOMS!). Lastly, after you’ve ignored our advice to warm up, take it light and rest between sessions, your body will be crying out for a massage – and this is where foam rolling comes in. All joking aside, foam rolling should be a staple of the warm up and warm down. It is your own personal sports massage and can help with muscle tightness and increase range of movement. And whilst it may be painful at the time, it can ultimately help to relax the body.
- Eat and Sleep. Now is the time to refocus and get fully “back-on-it”. If you’re starting to exercise more, or even differently; you need the right nutrients to help that body replenish it’s energy stores, repair and grow. And if you have put on a couple of extra pounds that you’d like to remove, a sensible calorie deficit is something that you can plan for. I’m sorry, but banana bread will no longer cut it! Likewise, a proper sleep routine will not only help your recovery, but will also mean you’re full of energy when it comes to hitting the gym!
The emphasis here is for an enjoyable return to the gym. It’s time to reset your goals, turn your bodies into finely tuned machines and come back in a way that is safe and injury-free. We’re looking forward to welcoming you back and if you need any pointers, please do get in touch!