While many of us are excited to get back into the gym as soon as the announcement arrives, some of us might be feeling nervous about swapping Zoom for a room full of weights, or not sure how best to ease back into exercise.
When it comes to fitness, we want to feel good about our weekly workout routine, and take care of our bodies to boot. So, whatever we feel about the upcoming announcement, it’s important to make this training transition as smooth as possible.
First things first – what exercise do you enjoy? Being at home may have made you realise how much you loved your regular workout routine, but you may have also discovered something new online that you can’t wait to try IRL.
For some, heading back into a gym for multiple sessions a week sounds like a lockdown dream come true, but others may feel that they want to take things more slowly.
Before settling straight back into old habits, I advise thinking about what your ideal week of exercise looks like, and creating a schedule that suits your new normal.
Online classes seem set to continue alongside in-person sessions for a while, so you might want to mix and match between the two, or slowly build up over the space of a few weeks.
Maybe you’ve realised how much you love having other people around to motivate you, and so want to incorporate some group fitness or PT-led classes.
Remember that gyms have been working hard to create new measures for their members, so you can still get that social fitness fix in a safe way.
The next step is to take a moment to check in on your fitness levels after lockdown.
Some of us may have finally had time to dedicate to increasing strength or working on moves we found difficult; others of us may have had to reduce or even stop our usual exercise activities as we adjusted to the new normal.
The key thing to remember is that you are on your own personal fitness journey – it doesn’t matter how you compare to anyone else (or even to your past self!).
What does matter, though, is listening to your body as you go. If you are heading back to the gym, be aware of how things might have changed for you since last time you were there and adjust your session to suit.
This could mean that you start by lifting lighter weights as you regain strength in certain exercises, but you might also be ready to try some more advance moves, especially if you’ve been doing lots of bodyweight activities at home.
Even if you feel that your overall strength has remained the same, remember that the types of exercises you do may have changed and some muscle groups may not be as strong as they were before.
The last thing we want is to get injured as soon as we get back to the gym, so work up slowly through compound movements that involve lifting a lot of weight, such as deadlifts or pull-ups.
Having someone to advise you on exercise intensity and form is going to be very useful at this time, too, to help avoid injury or burnout – group classes like ours are ideal as you can find your own pace while having a PT on-hand to help as and when you need them.
Remember that fitness should be fun, so try to not to put too much pressure on yourself. Finding a route back into a routine that works for you and your body will help you to create – and keep – a positive relationship with exercise for years to come.
Jess Brown is head coach at F45 Bristol Central. Find out more about F45’s online and in-person classes at www.f45training.co.uk/bristolcentral or follow them on Instagram, @f45_bristolcentral, for reopening updates
Main photo by JMP