It’s official – gyms in Wales (and many other locations) are back open and fitness fans can once again return to their usual exercise routines, if they want to. Although I’m sure that home workouts will remain popular post-lockdown thanks to the Body Coach, Courtney Black and many more, gym lovers like me will surely be keen to return to the squat rack. But thanks to the uncertainty of the last few months, it’s understandable if you feel nervous about returning to your ‘usual’ routine because quite frankly, the situation is not normal. So if you’re thinking about making your return to the gym floor, here are some things you may want to think about.
Take it slow
Gyms have been closed since March and unless you invested in a squat rack (although I’m positive many people did!) it’s unlikely that you’ll have been hitting the same PBs that you did pre-lockdown. I myself bought some kettlebells and focused on HIIT training but although this helped to support my cardio fitness, it didn’t do much for my strength. So if you’re looking to get started on weight training again, don’t expect to pick up the same weights from the get-go. Instead, go easy on yourself and build up your reps or sets each sessions. And try not to overdo it – actively try to avoid the next day DOMs if you want to get your training routine back on track.
Get familiar with your gym’s safety rules
Although lockdown has lifted, we are far from back to ‘normal’ so you can expect new rules and guidance in your gym. Whether that’s limiting the number of members allowed on-site at any time, requiring members to wipe down equipment before and after use or keeping a 2m distance from other members, you should be aware of what’s required of you. Before visiting, get familiar with your gym’s safety rules so you can enter with *relative* confidence.
If you’re the type to have a training plan in the gym or even if you just have a few favourite moves, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to follow the same structure on every visit under these circumstances. After all, equipment may be reduced and you’ll likely want to limit the time spent in the gym. So be flexible with your fitness routine and the kit you use. If lockdown has taught us anything it’s that you can still get a good workout in with just dumbbells, kettlebells and bodyweight.
It’s likely that this will be part of your gym’s rules anyway, but make sure you’re wiping down your equipment before and after use and sanitise your hands every 20 minutes. Gyms should have these cleaning products readily available to you (I know PureGym certainly do) so this should be an easy addition to your gym routine. Even if another member wipes something down before you, always make sure to wipe down your chosen piece of kit yourself too. Safety first.
Hydrate and focus on recovery
Rest and recovery are just as important as the training itself. Yes, this is something I try to remind myself of after every session too. But especially now that you may have taken time off training or using weights, recovery and hydration will be vital to overall progression. Keep a bottle of water on hand during your session and throughout the day. Plus, always remember to warm up and cool down.
And one to finish on. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home. The virus hasn’t gone away yet, so we all need to stay safe and look out for each other.
So, will you be heading back to the gym this Autumn?