Aishling Hehir, Fitness instructor and Personal Trainer.
Now that we have an opening date for the gyms reopening, let's talk about how we can make the most of our return.
Due to their closure and cancelation of classes for the past four months it is only natural that we will all want to go hell for leather now that we can! However it is SO important that we give our bodies a chance to get up to speed.
The last thing that we want is to go too hard our first few sessions back and then get put on the side-lines again, or even worse the physio table. Staying injury free should be at the top of everyone's list. After all, our health is our wealth!
Unless you were one of the more fortunate ones who had a gym set up at home or access to equipment it is likely that you may be starting from scratch all over again, or at least feeling like you are.
It’s imperative to recognise that your levels of fitness, strength and ability may not be where they were back in December. Firstly this is 100% natural and nothing to be worried about. As I said, most of the country, if not the world, is in the exact same situation.
A few things I would recommend to think about when you get back onto the gym floor are…
- Reduce the load that you previously would use
- Focus on your form
- Quality over quantity
- Take rest periods and rest days,
- Ensure you are warmed up enough prior to your session
- Make sure you recover your muscles,
- Fuel your body
- Hydrate it enough
- Focus on enjoying yourself!!!
All these things will allow you to get the best out of your sessions and return to the gym. It's important to recognise that your body will not be used to the level of training that it was prior to gyms shutting. This is due to the amount of time since we all had access to such facilities.
Resistance training, no matter how heavy, is a stress on the body and if you go too heavy or too intense too fast you will be doing more harm than good.
Take your time, have a plan when you go and stick to it. You can then progressively make it harder and work your way back up to where you were pre-lockdown. It's vital to remember we are all in the same scenario, so do not be embarrassed or feel pressure to lift a certain amount or really push your limits when you go back.
Play the long game and get your body used to training again and build from there. It could be an idea for you to revaluate your programme if you had one from before the lockdown. Make sure that you are working the basics to allow your body to get into the training mode again. Fitness classes are a great way to build up your fitness levels and ability again. Due to the instructor being present they will be able to help you with technique and will design a class to cater for all levels.
Allow yourself to enjoy your training. What I mean by that is don’t push yourself too hard or feel like you have to get back lifting weights. The key to starting or restarting any fitness journey is to firstly enjoy what you are doing. The more enjoyment you have the more adherence you will have to the sessions. Exercise and the gym should be a place where you are able to let go of stress and clear your head.
Have a plan. Bring a friend. Be prepared. Enjoy yourself. Results will follow and your motivation will increase!!!