If you've been hibernating during isolation, the thought of getting back into a regular fitness routine can seem daunting. Whilst there's no way around it—when you're not in the habit of working out, you lose progress—don't be deterred from sweating it out. Challenges can be a good thing!
Get back into the routine of working out with these 5 key tips. From the owner of Parramatta Square’s Universal Fitness.
1. Don’t expect to be at the same level you were before
Unfortunately, regardless of whether you are a runner, weightlifter, or crossfitter, taking time off from exercise means that you will lose some of your abilities. It does not mean that you will never be on the same level or surpass it. It just means that you may start at a lower weight or longer running time than before your break. This is completely normal. Let’s take someone who lifts weights as an example. After 1-2 weeks, you may not really see or feel much of a difference. 2-3 weeks without the gym may see you lose some lean muscle mass. You might start losing actual muscle around the 4-week mark and more. The good news is that you will also regain your strength quicker than it took for you to reach that weight in the first place thanks to a little something called muscle memory. Which leads us to our next point.
2. Be patient
We understand that it can be difficult knowing that you’re not lifting as heavy, or running as fast or long as you could but you need to be patient. Work with the strength or energy you have now, and trust that if you are consistent and continue to workout, you will return to normal within a few weeks.
Do not try to push yourself from the get-go as this will only increase your risk of injury. And if you get injured, then you will find yourself spending more time out of the gym.
3. Don’t do too much
Don’t try to do all the exercises at once. Stick to a few to ease yourself back into it and give your body time to adjust to the change. Then you can gradually go back to your normal routine over time.
4. Remember you’ll probably be sore
Contrary to popular belief, feeling sore isn’t a good indicator of whether you’ve had a good workout or not. If you’re feeling sore, it’s probably because you’re doing a new exercise, or you haven’t trained in a while. So, if you’re getting back to the gym after a long break, you’ll most likely be feeling it the next day.
The good news? The soreness won’t last forever. Once you get back into a routine, you will find yourself being able to workout without feeling the burn afterwards.
To help recover faster, make sure that you properly warm up before exercising and cool down afterwards. Stretch in every session and employ other tools to help such as foam rolling.
5. Get a trainer/instructor
Lastly, If you want the extra help, then enlisting with a personal trainer can really do the trick.
Personal trainers are also helpful. He or she can create a workout plan for you based on your goals and show you how the machines work around the facility. Unfortunately, personal training can be on the pricey side at times, but sometimes there may be great offers like group fitness training. This is where you can share the cost and session with a couple of friends!
If you are recovering from an injury though, it is recommend that you do enlist the help of a trainer or coach. This is so that modifications can be made for your rehab process. This is vital so that you don’t undo all the progress you’ve made in recovery and make it worse.