How To Safely Resume Your Workout After a Pandemic Rut
Guest Post by CA trainer Charlie Dennis
The days are getting longer, the last of the snow is melting and, thanks to the vaccine, it seems that there is hopeful light at the end of the tunnel. It’s no secret that the pandemic has encouraged us to lead more sedentary lifestyles from being at home so much more than usual. If you’re one of the many that are considering getting back into a gym routine but have concerns, don’t worry!
Below are four pieces of advice I regularly give clients, friends, and most recently, my mom in the UK, on how to safely return to the gym and gain real results without injury.
1. Stay safe
COVID cases are going down and the weather is getting better, but unfortunately, the pandemic is still real. We’ve all heard it a million times, but wearing a mask, washing your hands and cleaning your equipment does really help keep you and everyone else safe. If you’re nervous about working out in one of our fitness centers, consider taking a quick in-person tour to help you decide if you’re ready to return.
2. Pace yourself and allow for recovery time
One of the most common causes of injury is doing too much too soon. After months out of the gym with reduced exercise and conditioning, your body won’t be ready for the same pre-pandemic routine. Try starting with lighter weights or resistance bands before hitting the heavier weights, or split your cardio session into two halves of 15 minutes rather than doing the full 30 minutes in one session. After breaking my back and not exercising for five months, I can tell you from personal experience: It sucks starting from square one again!
But gradually increasing your exercise decreases your chances of injury and builds a strong foundation for you to meet your goals. As you continue to exercise, don’t forget to allow your body time to recover. Check out our recent article for more on the importance of recovery. Overuse injuries are another common way people get injured as they get into a gym routine. While it might feel strange to skip the gym for a day or two, it’s a lot better than being forced to rest an injury which may take weeks. As my father likes to say, “Your brain writes the checks that your body has to cash.” Listen to your body!
3. Set your own goals & drop comparisons to others
Goals like losing weight, toning up or getting stronger are great, but they are often never met because they’re not specific to you. If you’re making fitness goals yourself or with one of our awesome personal trainers, make sure your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based).
For example, instead of saying “ I want to lose weight,” boost your effectiveness by trying, “ I want to lose 10 pounds by the end of April so I can wear my favorite jeans again.” Or, instead of “I want to get stronger,” try “ I want to be able to bench press 180 pounds in eight weeks so I look amazing in my wedding suit.”
Goals and progress are different to everyone, so never feel self-conscious that you don’t look as good or as strong as another member. You might have finished your first ever 30-minute cardio workout or finally mastered your push-up form. These are your goals and milestones, so celebrate your hard work!
4. Enjoy it!
Forget those bad memories you might have from your high school gym teacher or coaches, and ask yourself: what exercises do I enjoy? Maybe you enjoy HIIT classes, heavy lifting or low-impact, mindful activities like walking, yoga and pilates. Anyone can start a gym routine, but it’s the people that enjoy their exercises that commit for the long term.
Whatever you choose, having someone to hold you accountable and give you support is a major asset to help
you reach and beat your fitness goals. This could be a gym buddy from a class, a friend/partner that you work out with or a CA personal trainer. Whoever you choose, I guarantee that you get more benefit from your time at the gym with social support.
Get Back In the Groove With CA
You deserve a chance to take care of yourself, so let us take care of providing the safest environment possible. We continue to go above and beyond baseline standards to create an area where you can thrive. Check out our website to learn about the safety measures in place at CA’s fitness centers.