Gyms and studio classes have finally reopened. For many, nothing is more exciting than going back to the gym after being stuck at home for the past few months. Staying indoors and restrictions with gym/sports have caused us to tailor our exercise routines. Many of us wouldn’t be able to continue with our gym program at home (maybe because Kmart’s exercise equipment sold like hotcakes). It’s really important that we transition back to the gym safely from our home workouts. That’s where these gym tips come in.
We need to take into account if some of us managed to keep up our fitness with walks/bike rides compared to resistance exercises. Keeping up with cardiovascular fitness will differ from strengthening your muscles. The weights you use when returning to the gym may differ from the amount that you were using before the restrictions. This is especially true if you have not been keeping up with the exercises at the same intensity.
Warm-ups and Cooldowns
Investing some time in your gym routine for warm-ups and cool-downs will be highly beneficial for injury prevention and improving gym safety. Try starting with the first 5-10 mins of light exercise and stretches in the area you will be working on during your session. If you’re having an arms day, start with lighter weights to get the area warmed up before increasing the load. Dynamic stretches and foam rolling are also some good ideas before starting your workout.
Conversely, investing time for cool-downs will help you gradually return your heart rate and breathing to normal. Furthermore, gentle stretching after the workout will help with muscle recovery and repair once you finish the satisfying workout.
It’s important not to go back and deadlift your usual 150kg if you have been resting at home for the past few months. We tend to lose our strength quickly if there has been a break/period of inactivity. You should consider starting more conservatively and slowly increasing your load over the next few weeks. If you start off lifting too heavy too quickly, you may begin developing compensatory movement patterns that increase your risk of injury, or worse, you get an acute injury from it. The last thing we want is for you to get an injury or experience aggravated injury and spend more time away from the gym!
Proper Rest and Recovery
Returning to the gym after a break can be exciting, but it’s essential to strike a balance between pushing yourself and allowing adequate rest and recovery. Your body needs time to adapt to the increased physical demands. Ensure you include rest days in your workout schedule to give your muscles and joints time to repair and rebuild. Overtraining can lead to fatigue, increased risk of gym injuries, and hinder your progress in the long run.
Incorporating active recovery techniques like gentle stretching, yoga, or low-intensity activities such as swimming or walking can be beneficial. These activities promote blood circulation, reduce muscle soreness, and help you relax both physically and mentally. Remember, rest and recovery are just as important as the actual workouts in achieving optimal results.
Listen to Your Body
No one knows your body better than you do. As you return to the gym, paying attention to your body’s signals and accordingly adjusting your workouts is crucial. If you experience persistent pain or discomfort, modify the exercise or consult a fitness professional for guidance. Pushing through pain can exacerbate existing injuries or lead to new ones.
On the other hand, if you find that you’re performing exercises with ease, consider gradually increasing the intensity or trying new variations to challenge yourself further. Your body has an incredible capacity for adaptation, and by progressively pushing your limits, you can continue to make progress and avoid plateaus.
Seek Professional Guidance
If you’re unsure how to structure your workouts or need assistance setting realistic goals, seeking professional guidance can be immensely helpful. A personal trainer or fitness coach can provide you with a customized program tailored to your specific needs, taking into account your current fitness level, goals, and any pre-existing conditions.
Working with a professional ensures you’re performing exercises correctly, reducing the risk of injury and maximizing your results. They can also provide valuable insights on nutrition, supplementation, and lifestyle modifications to complement your gym routine.
Everyone’s fitness journey is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. By seeking expert guidance, you can access personalized advice that aligns with your goals, helping you progress efficiently and safely.
There is a high risk of re-injury during this period of re-loading and re-training. Remember to respect your body’s capacity and gradually build your load again. If you feel any niggles after your session, which feels different from your usual muscle fatigue, getting it treated early will help you avoid any more time away from the gym.
If you feel like you’ve overdone it at the gym, let us help you! Or, if you feel like you need more guidance and workout safety tips in your return-to-gym plan, contact us, and let us help you return to the gym safely.