Easing Back Into Training After The Pandemic
The pandemic has kept all of us away from the gym and our regular fitness routines. And while some of you may have been keeping up with your training at home, through our virtual fitness classes or app, some of you may not. Let’s be honest, most of us had serious concerns during this time and we may have let our fitness fall behind – and that’s ok.
You did your best during this unprecedented time and you shouldn’t beat yourself up.
We know that you may have gained a little bit of weight, or lost some of the of gains you worked so hard to attain. We know that you may be really excited and motivated to get back in one of our gyms. We understand that you might want to dive right back into your regular workouts or even train harder than before in order to get back on track with your training.
BUT before you do any of that – slow down. Take a moment to hear what we have to say about easing back into your training program.
Rushing right back into your old training program, or attempting to hit the gym really hard, might just leave you with more problems than results. So in order to avoid that, we suggest following the suggestions discussed below.
Take Time To Warm Up / Perform Corrective Exercises
If you’ve been relatively inactive during this period of time, you’ll want to spend extra time and put more attention on your warm ups and pack it full of exercises designed to improve your posture, breathing, mobility, stability, and more. Take your time and don’t rush your warm up. The warm up should be used to prepare the body for the training that is about to take place. It allows for greater results and less risk – we don’t want injuries.
Try adding in foam rolling, mobility for your trouble areas such as hips, spine, or shoulders. Make use of activation exercises for your core or glutes. Improve your blood flow and increase your body temperature with warm up sets of each movement/exercise in the workout that day by performing them with just body weight or a weight below 50% of your 1 rep max.
More Workouts Will Not Equal Faster Results
Hitting the gym multiple times a day, or double the amount you used to attend the gym, will not yield faster results. In fact, for most people it will only serve to add WAY too much stress on the body, boosting stress hormones, and eventually leading to excess inflation, burnout, and injury. You don’t need those things.
The strength or muscle that you lost during this time will bounce back quickly within a few weeks, there’s no need to hit the gym like crazy. There’s no need to be concerned, your muscles remember and will return to form in short order. Be wise and sensible about your training. Make use of total body, large movement, resistance training. Get adequate rest and eat real whole food – you’ll be ok.
Try working out 2-3x per week for the first 4-5 weeks. Then move on to 4-5x per week if that suits your needs and feels good after that initial period of time.
Also, take it slow on the weight you’re lifting at first. There’s no need to chase personal records right away. Your body will need time to adapt to lifting the same amount of weigh you were lifting half a year ago. You may want to spend time lifting weight that is manageable for the 12-15 rep range for 4-6 weeks, and then move onto performing your workouts with weight that’s manageable within the 8-10 rep range for another 4 – 6 weeks after that.
This will give your muscles, tendons, and ligaments time to readapt to the stress you’re placing on them during training. This is a great way to reduce your risk of injury and make sure you continue to get results.
Focus on your nutrition
If you gained body fat over the pandemic, it had hardly anything to do with the time you spent away from the gym. Fat gain and fat loss have EVERYTHING to do with nutrition and the food you’re putting into your body. If you’re carrying around some extra body fat at the moment, you’re not alone – a lot of people gained weight over this time. It’s ok, it’s nothing some small nutritional changes can’t fix.
Try this simple method 90% of the time …
1.) Eat real whole foods. If you can’t pick it from a tree, rip it from the ground, or kill it and eat it … it shouldn’t go in your mouth. Eat lots of fresh veggies, fruit, nuts/seeds, meat, seafood, and fish.
2.) Eat when you’re hungry, stop before you’re stuffed. Listen to your body, eat when you’re actually hungry and not just when you’re bored, anxious, stressed, or looking for comfort. Eat to the point of satisfaction and not being absolutely stuffed.
3.) Avoid junk/processed foods. This means try to eliminate, or greatly reduce, the amount of boxed, packaged, or frozen foods. Obviously fast food, cookies, cakes, sweets, deserts, chips, baked goods, and other junk food should be avoided. You may want to also pay attention to the drinks you consume. Enormous amounts of calories can be found in drinks that most people have daily such as soft drinks, fruit juices, Starbucks drinks, sport drinks, and more. Try to stick with lots of water, and keep the sugar in drinks to a minimum.
If you follow these simple guidelines and take time easing back into your training, you’ll not only maximize your results but also reduce your risk of injury or burn out. We want to see you healthy and safe, so take it easy on yourself when you first set out in the gym once again. Listen to your body. Remember, if you need help with anything – we’re here.