This is a collaborative post.
Lockdown saw a surge in the purchasing of home gym equipment, fitness app subscriptions, and workout routine internet searches. Gym bunnies were itching to get back to the gym, whilst novices were keen to get moving due to not leaving the house. Now all restrictions are lifted, more people than ever will be keen to hit the gym.
Set Your Expectations
Undeniably, the post-lockdown gym experience will be different from our previous expectations and may be overwhelming. Furthermore, it will be perfectly normal that your strength, endurance, and muscle mass will have been affected by the lockdown. Inevitably, you will struggle more than you did pre-lockdown, and your post-workout soreness will increase. It is important not to let this dishearten you, as this will only further negatively impact your performance and mindset.
Revisiting Basic Strength Routines
Strength is the foundation of any workout and once you rebuild this, it will benefit all other areas of your workout.
Strength Workout A – back squat, bench press, bent-over row
Strength Workout B – deadlift or hip thrust, overhead press, pull-up
Start 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions using a slightly lighter weight than you usually would, investing your focus into your form. As your body adjusts, gradually build your sets up to 3-5 and lower your rep range to 5-8.
Revisiting Basic Endurance Training
Initially, it would be wise to avoid any high-intensity interval training (HIIT), due to the level of stress that is placed on the system from those sudden bursts of activity. Jumping into such an intense activity without the required strength and endurance increases your risk of injury. Instead, walking, jogging, or cycling may be a better way of easing yourself back into cardio workouts, wherein you should maintain a conversational pace for 30-60 minutes. After around a month, you should begin incorporating some HIIT workouts into your gym routine.
Incorporating Mobility Into Your Routine
After the months we spent sitting down, our joints will be tighter and stiffer than usual. Therefore, before working out, it is crucial to get your joints moving. Some exercises that assist your mobility include lunges and squats.
Scheduling Your Workouts
Pencilling in your workout plans ensures that you are spreading your time correctly and contributes to your motivation. You should start lightly and adjust your schedule as your body starts to adapt to its new demands.
Working out will grow to be painfully monotonous if you do not have constant goals that you are working towards. Ensure that your goals are achievable in the time frame you are giving yourself to avoid exhausting yourself. Once you achieve a goal, set a new one and continue with that cycle.
Rebuilding Healthy Habits
It is not just about working out, to aid your fitness journey, you will need to adjust other aspects of your lifestyle. For example, you should aim to get 8 hours of sleep daily, providing you with strength and energy for your workout. Additionally, you should maintain a balanced diet and keep yourself hydrated at all times. Like sleep, this will aid your strength and energy levels for your workout. Stress is also a huge affecting factor of your physical performance so do not beat yourself up if you are under a significant amount of stress.
Although we work out to aid our strength and fitness, the main goal is to enjoy ourselves. If you are pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion, that is not healthy or maintainable. Of course, it is natural for your muscles to feel tired after working out, but your brain should feel fresh and clear. Be sure to keep safe and enjoy your training.
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