Back to the Gym: How to (Safely) Create a New Routine
As fitness clubs reopen across the country, the idea of returning to the gym is quickly becoming a reality. But the adjustment from working out alone in your living room to suddenly sharing space around the weight rack and climbing a stair stepper between two strangers can be an intense mental and physical shift. You may even wonder whether it’s worth it to go back to the gym!
THE ANSWER IS YES!
Being at a gym provides a number of benefits that can help keep you consistent in your fitness routine. Benefits like:
- Being surrounded by people who are all focusing on improving their health and fitness.
- No distractions! When you work out at home, it’s easy to cut things short because you have a pile of laundry staring at you or your kids running around. Once you’re at the gym, it’s hard to convince yourself NOT to work out.
- Having access to gym equipment you don’t have at home enables you to vary your workouts and keep things interesting.
Being able to do Fit Body app programs you may not have tried yet! Sculpt, Lift, and Strong all use gym machines and now you can too!
So whether you were a gym regular before Covid, or you’re new to the gym in general, here are our best tips and tricks to help you safely begin a new routine.
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UNDERSTAND YOUR GYM’S COVID SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
The most obvious safety concern right now is the spread of Covid, and it’s important to know your gym’s Covid guidelines before you return. Depending on where you live, Covid precautions will be different. Calling ahead or asking someone at the front desk about current gym rules will ensure that you’re prepared and feel safe knowing what you and those around you are allowed to do.
No matter what, following the general health guidelines from the last year is always a good idea. Keep your distance from other people as best as possible, keep your hands away from your face, and clean equipment before and after you use it.
PLAN BEFORE YOU HEAD TO THE GYM
Preparation is key. Planning your workout and preparing beforehand is crucial to lessening anxiety and boosting your excitement. That’s why all of our programs in the Fit Body app lay out exactly what you need to do. Preview your workout beforehand so that you’re familiar with the moves and the equipment that is required. Once you’re at the gym, all you have to do is follow along!
And planning doesn’t just have to be about your workout!
- Find an outfit that makes you feel confident and lay it out the night before.
- Pick or create a playlist full of music that pumps you up.
- Write down a long and short-term goal you want to achieve and then use that as motivation when it’s time to get up and go!
SET REALISTIC GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS
One of the best ways to be successful is to set goals that you can actually achieve. Long-term changes are great but short-term goals give you the confidence boost to keep going, knowing that you’re moving forward. Most of us are at the point of needing to completely recondition our bodies to the type of movement that happens in the gym and with gym equipment.
Setting realistic expectations is also a crucial aspect of staying safe when you return to the gym. Here is some advice from Fit Body Physical Therapist, Amy Schultz:
“Too quick of an increase in training and too much training without adequate rest can lead to first overreaching and then overtraining. Overreaching is the first phase of overtraining and is more easily reversed. Overreaching presents as an increase in an unusual amount of muscle soreness that occurs when we do not allow for a sufficient amount of recovery time between hard workouts. This usually occurs after several consecutive days of hard training and training of the same muscle group.
Overtraining occurs when we ignore the signs of overreaching and continue to train. Remember to listen to your body – going heavier/harder is not always better. If we ignore overreaching and keep training hard without rest, the body will only break down further. It is very difficult to recover from overtraining and can require weeks or months of time off.”
Goals as small as just getting to the gym once or twice a week and moving your body are still goals. Recognize that time off means you might need to start at the beginner level in your Fit Body app, and that’s ok! It’s important to ease your body back into regular movement and strength training.
FOCUS ON HEALTHY HABITS OUTSIDE OF THE GYM, TOO!
Speaking of easing back into a routine, there are several habits you can establish outside of the gym that can help you be more successful!
- Stretch, stretch, and stretch again
- Drink lots of water
- Use your meal plan and/or macro calculator in your Fit Body app to make sure you’re fueling your body with enough nutrients and a balanced diet so that you are giving yourself the best chance to see results in a healthy way
- Go slowly. Remember that this is your fitness journey and you are not on anyone else’s timeline
TIP: “Rest is when your muscles grow, cardio adaptations are made, and when you become more fit overall! Rest is how we ensure we are not overtraining, as this can lead to injury!” – Amy Schultz, PT
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
At the end of the day you need to listen to your own body and honor your comfort level. Whether you’re ready to return to the gym or not, the Fit Body app has plenty of strength training options with or without needing gym equipment. From Endurance with Nicci to Tone with Anna to Revive with Brittany, you can achieve your fitness goals from anywhere and the #FBGcommunity will ensure that you never go without a support system!