Gyms have now been back open for a month or so and many fitness enthusiasts have been taking full advantage.
With several stringent measures in place, things certainly don’t look exactly how we remember them. And unless you’ve been training in a well-kitted home gym during lockdown, your body will not be able to train in the same way it once did.
If you’re teetering on the edge of whether to hit up your gym or not, this girl guide is for you!
It’s time to bid goodbye to the daily walks, zoom exercise classes and bodyweight HIIT in your living room. These 6 tips will help you return to the gym safely and confidently. Get your body ready and get back in the gym.
Let’s see how you can maximize your gym workouts to the full effect without going too hard, too quickly.
1. Familiarize yourself
Your gym experience won’t be the same as it was five months ago. When you first return, there will be various procedures in place to keep you and staff members safe during the ongoing pandemic.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your new training environment. Is there a one-way system? Could there be a limited amount of time you’re allowed to train? Maybe there are hand sanitizing stations and cleaning kit to wipe down your equipment after each use. If your gym has a social media presence, check their pages for any information, rules or tips.
Some gyms have even introduced apps that tell you how busy your gym is before you set off. Be prepared and your anxiety to return will ease.
2. Plan your workout in advance
If you lived in the gym before lockdown, you might think you’ll be fine to kill time in-between sets. But not with the new normal, girl. A lot of gyms are implementing strict rules to adhere to, especially when it comes to the amount of time you have to work out.
In order to completely maximize your time in the gym, it might be wise to plan your workout in advance. Instead of training certain parts of your body, why not try a whole-body workout over an hour? This way, it gives you the option to take advantage of every second you have and find out what your body can handle.
3. Ease into it
Planning in advance flows nicely into our next point – easing back into your training. Like we mentioned earlier, your body won’t be the same as it was all those months ago. You won’t be able to go straight to the same dumbbells or run as fast on the treadmills. You’ll have lost some fitness and that’s fine. That’s why this article is all about getting your body ready. It won’t be too difficult to get back into the swing of things and chuck those same weights about.
To avoid any injury, you’ll need to start slowly. Don’t go in too hard, too fast and push your body too far. Reduce your reps or your load and give your body time to adapt. Once you’re back into your routine, you can gradually increase it.
You should try to introduce some recovery sessions in the mix. This could be something simple like yoga, a stretching routine or even focusing on bodyweight exercises as you become increasingly more confident in the gym again.
4. Warm up and cool down
Warming up is very important as it helps prevent injury and could even boost workout performance.
When you warm up, you increase your body’s temperature and the rate of energy production. Dynamic exercises will increase reflexes and flexibility and even reduce inflammation. They essentially prepare you for exercise physically and mentally. You could walk, jog lightly or cycle for at least five minutes to prepare your body.
The same applies after an intense workout with a good cool down routine. Cooling down allows your body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure to gradually return to baseline level. Stretching your muscles after exercise can also decrease lactic acid buildup and reduce the risk of muscle cramp or delayed onset muscle soreness (the dreaded DOMS).
5. Keep your nutrition and sleep on point
Training back in the gym will mean your body needs the right type of fuel to stay energized. That’s before, during and after your training session.
Carbohydrates are your best friend for an energy injection. Plenty of protein will help with muscle recovery and growth. Try to drink a lot of water to keep your body hydrated too.
Sticking to healthy whole foods will ensure your body is energized and can recover well after each training session. These include foods like the below:
- Lean Proteins – Egg – Chicken – Tofu – Turkey
- Fruits – Bananas – Apples – Berries – Oranges etc.
- Vegetables – Broccoli – Carrots – Potatoes etc.
- Fats – Olive Oil – Cashew Nuts – Avocado etc.
- Whole Grains – Rolled Oats – Whole Wheat Pasta – Brown Rice – Whole Meal Bread
Getting enough quality sleep will also help your body recover and conserve energy. Aim for at least seven to eight hours a night for the best recovery. It will also ultimately increase your ability to train harder for longer.
6. Pick exercises you enjoy
Motivation levels might not be at their highest right now and that’s understandable. One way to get around flagging enthusiasm is to pick a workout you find most enjoyable.
Maybe HIIT is your favorite way to stay fit? Or is strength training something you really want to get back into? Whatever your favorite workout or exercises are, be sure to include these in your training sessions to boost drive and motivation.
To sum up
Not sure if you’re ready to head back into the gym? Don’t worry girl, we’ve all been there. Just follow these 6 simple tips and we’re positive you’ll feel more confident to ease yourself back into it and get your body ready.
All it takes is a little preparation, motivation, and knowledge. Just take the necessary steps and stay safe.
Reignite your fire for the gym and start transforming your body. Your gym is waiting!