With the re-opening of gyms fast approaching, I want to make sure that you've got everything that you need to get back in to make the most of your time under the barbell. It's easy to think that you'll walk back into the gym and be back to your pre-pandemic self, regardless of whether you've been working out consistently from home or if you decided to take a well-deserved break this past year, your body will have changed, meaning that your gym-needs will be slightly different than what they were previously. I've put together a list of 5 things you can do over the next couple of weeks to make the transition just a little more efficient.
1. Re-visit your goals!
What are you working toward? Why are you working toward these goals? What do you have to change to achieve these goals? Planning out your goals will ensure that you have a clear vision upon your return to the gym. Re-visiting where you're at and where you're heading will also help you to be realistic about what you should and shouldn't be aiming to achieve. For example, aiming to get back up to your previous PB's right away when you've just taken a year off of lifting, not only isn't smart, isn't realistic. Make sure that when you're setting your goals, you're thinking about your why. Many people set goals based on what they think they want, and with what other people are aiming for in mind. If you're aiming for fat loss, why are you aiming for fat loss? If your reason is anything other than to be 'smaller', for example; to gain confidence, to increase happiness, or because you've gained weight recently etc, then having a fat loss goal isn't going to be enough to keep you committed. Make sure that your goals align with exactly what you want to achieve.
2. Start prepping your body now.
If you've taken the year off, or your routine has changed significantly this year (i.e. you're moving less & sitting more like me), I can almost guarantee that you could benefit from doing some core and mobility work before returning to the gym. Not only will this help you move better when you do get back to lifting, but it'll also help to prevent injury in the long run. Commonly, individuals who spend the majority of their day sat at their desk have a weak core, inactive Glutes and poor mobility - all of these things increase the risk of injury both in and out of exercise. Similarly, if you've taken a break from lifting but have moved onto HIIT/cardio styled workouts at home, you'll also be at risk of injury if you don't do the appropriate prep before returning to your previous style of working out. Don't forget I have a free core training guide available here to help get you started. If you're interested in learning a little more about your own body's tightnesses and weaknesses, apply for a free consultation at the bottom of this page.
3. Hire a coach and/or purchase a personalised program.
I promise, if you do your research, you will not regret this step. Handing the reigns to somebody else can seem like a big step. It can also seem pointless, but I promise you even the best athletes/coaches have their own coaches and/or people who write their programs for them. When you hire somebody else to coach/program for you, you take away all of the guesswork and open up multiple doors of possibility that never would have stood before. Instead of prioritising the exercises that you know you enjoy, a coach will test your ability and ensure you're working on your weaknesses. A coach/personalised program will help you grow in the best ways, regardless of your goals/intentions. No more wandering around the gym trying to find a free machine or a corner where nobody can see you, no more skipping sessions because 'no one will ever know', regardless of what you're working toward, a coach/program will give meaning to your workouts.
Another great benefit of a coach is the simplicity of having someone in your corner. Someone to cheer you on when you're feeling a bit down, provide you with the motivation to keep going when you can't be bothered and most importantly to help reassure you when you feel that you're not making progress. As a coach, aside from educating my clients, a big portion of my work is to be their personal cheerleader. I'm here for them when they need a chat, when they need reassurance and also when they need a little tough love. If you're interested in hearing a little more about what I offer, you can view my coaching options here and/or apply for your free consultation at the bottom of this page.
4. Have a little look at your nutrition.
When you get back into the gym, it's likely that you'll be both lifting heavier and burning more calories than you are right now. To ensure that you're fuelling your body appropriately you're going to want to make sure that you're both getting enough calories to allow you to perform at your best and getting enough protein to help you recover from said workouts. Too many people start a new fitness routine and/or try to increase their performance without taking into account how they're going to fuel themselves. FOOD IS FUEL. Just like when you went into lockdown and had to decrease your calorie intake to make up for a decreased calorie expenditure, when we come out of it, you'll have to build it back up again. If you don't, you'll find yourself tired, burnt out, in pain, injured and/or unable to continue performing at your best in other areas of your life.
5. Start building your habits now.
As I mentioned above, returning to the gym will mean that your routine will have to change in some way or another. Some things you may want to consider are; Do you need to get up earlier to allow for more travel time? Do you need to prep more food because you'll be out of the house longer? Do you need to sleep earlier to ensure that you get enough sleep for your recovery?
If you leave it all until you return to the gyms and your routine is forced to change, you'll likely feel stressed and overwhelmed, which in the majority of cases, leads to a drop in adherence or giving up altogether. Plan and start building your habits now to maximise your success later.
I hope that these tips help you to feel a little more in control of your return to the gyms. Please share if you feel they helped in anyway. On the other hand, if you're feeling a little overwhelmed, know that that is both ok and completely normal. I'm always here for a chat/advice, feel free to reach out at any time.
Beth x Need accountability? Join my private support group for free here.