Getting Back to the Gym – Training Tips
We are moving closer and closer to a return to the gym and I am sure you are all feeling excited about getting back into a routine and doing movements you haven’t managed to do for a while. I wanted to give you some practical tips and sensible suggestions to consider when the time comes so that you can make a smooth and safe transition.
1. Remember why you Loved It
For some of us it might be hard getting back into a routine after being away for so long. Try to remember what took you to the gym in the first place and dont lose sight of that. Also focus on what made your time there enjoyable. That might be the social aspect, how it affected your mental wellbeing, how it has improved your body shape/fitness, what you were learning or maybe the friends you have made along the way. You may feel anxious and this is normal but try to reconnect with what inspired you in the first place and be aware that many will be feeling the same.
Many of you reading this may have been training consistnetly each week pre lockdown. You may or may not have managed to maintain that frequency over the past 12 weeks but I am sure if you have done, you will have had to lower the intensity of your workouts somewhat. When you return aim for a sensible frequency starting point. Don’t jump straight back into your old schedule. Give yourself a month to 6 weeks to gradually build up to it, plan it out and be disciplined enough to stick to it.
With intensity I am referring to the weight you will choose to lift or the exercise complexity. With volume I am referring to the amount of work you choose to do within a session ie overall sets/reps/exercises. Both volume and intensity should be lower than what you were doing previously, this will allow you to progress at a steady pace and stay clear of injury. Even if you feel great and full of energy, try to rein it in and complete a sensible amount of work in the first few sessions then slowly build it up. I am sure some of you will want to do every variation of chest and bicep exercises on your first session back ☺ but trust me, it will only set you back in the long run. Plan your sessions in advance and like frequency, be disciplined enough to stick to it.
Spend the first few sessions re learning the movements in your programme. I myself have mostly been training from home and only in the last week or two have I got into using our gym more consistently. I’ve found that some isolated machine based exercises as well as big compound barbell movements have felt a little alien to me (and I am experienced). When you are training week in week out you build up a feel for the movements in your plan. You know exactly what to focus on, what muscles to be contracting, what postural positions to adopt, how to use your breathing etc. Although the majority of that never leaves you, it does feel different after some time off. Make sure you give yourself time to get the quality of your reps back up to what they were. This will mean lifting with lighter weights and really tuning in to what you are doing. Don’t just jump on a machine while chatting to someone (you should never be chatting during a working set) then as soon as you finish check your phone (phones should not be with you while you are training). Each exercise needs your full attention so concentrate on how it feels and get your execution on point.
5. Keep it Simple
Single sets, simple movements and full body sessions are probably a sensible starting point. Split routines and more advanced training methods/exercises should be built up to. This will allow you to recover better and perhaps get a consistency back with a sensible frequency. Having a long term outlook is key to progress.
6. Enjoy it
Don’t get caught up too much in the end result (what you are trying to achieve) focus on the here and now and enjoy each session and how it makes you feel both physically and mentally. Yes I want you to have structure, be sensible, build things up gradually and respect the process but it’s also important you enjoy what you’re doing and sometimes focusing so much on the finer details can derail you from that!
If you found this helpful please feel free to let me know or if you would like our help going forward with your training feel free to get in touch