A lot has changed since the first lockdown when the gyms were forced to close. Some people have been smashing 5ks, others living room HIIT workouts, and some taking a well-deserved rest from 7 days a week in the gym. The time has now come and gyms across the UK are opening up again. For some, it’s the best part of lockdown restrictions being eased, for others, they may be slightly hesitant to return. We’ve written this guide which contains six top tips for returning to the gym safely with some helpful tips on how to get back to your best without destroying yourself.
Plan your workouts
We all want to run in and get back to our previous routine, but most of us haven’t seen proper gym equipment in months, so instead, before you go, write down your week’s plan of workouts.
After your first weights session, you’re going to be aching all over. To start getting back into weights (if that’s your thing) look at doing two exercises on each muscle in a session, you’ll still build muscle and you’ll be able to do more than one session in your first week back.
Fuel your workouts
We’ve all gained some lockdown weight we didn’t plan to, but this doesn’t mean working out on an empty stomach just to burn more calories. It’s important to fuel your workouts with the right nutrition. If you’ve got a gym session in the evening, make sure you load up on carbohydrates and protein to power through the session.
Ensure you drink enough water too! We can’t stress how important it is to stay hydrated.
Lower your weights
You’re not going to be where you were before the gyms closed, and that’s okay! What is important is building your fitness and strength back up gradually. Pushing your body too far too soon means your putting yourself at risk of injury, which will only put you back further.
You’ll regain the strength due to muscle memory, so focus on small increments of strength and fitness, and get slightly better each time until you’re back to your best. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad session either, it’s a marathon, not a sprint (if you’ll pardon the pun).
Set a fitness target
Instead of trying to get all 8 ab muscles showing, set a fitness target. Whether this be getting back to your 100kg deadlift, getting 10 pull-ups, running 5k, or being able to touch your toes in yoga. If you work towards something and measure your small improvements you’ll enjoy your fitness sessions a lot more.
Be kind to yourself
Like we said above, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Take it easy on yourself and don’t judge your progress against others. It’s hard whenever we log onto Instagram we see influencers showing off their perfect physique, the truth is it’s not reality. Typically fitness influencers will have abs for 2 weeks a year and shoot a year’s worth of content in that period, recycling old photos to make it look like they stay in that shape all year.
Focus on your desired fitness goal and the rest will follow.
Stretch and recover
I think we’re all guilty of not doing enough of this. If you can, spend time stretching and increasing your mobility, even if it’s just 10 minutes. This may seem simple, but it’s the one thing that always gets skipped and then regretted the next day.
Recovery is more important than your workout. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep and taking rest days seriously will help your health and wellbeing. Resting and taking on adequate protein will allow your muscles to recover, then on your next session, you’ll be ready to go again.
This article presented our six top tips for returning to the gym safely. However, don’t forget one more important thing, which is to consume enough supplements. Did you know that Omega-3s have been shown to reduce muscle soreness and swelling?