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How to Get Back to the Gym After Time Off

The gym is back open and after a year and a half of being stuck at home with only Joe Wicks for company, you are ready to venture back to the gym.

Now what?

It can be really difficult establishing routines to get you back into the swing of training at the gym again and perhaps even just the though of signing up is making you feel a little bit uneasy.

You should remember that we have all been in pretty much the same boat over the past year and so we are all starting back at the gym feeling like we want to work on improving our fitness again.

The best thing you can do is focus on your goal and why it is you want to get back training at the gym again. I am always going on about finding your WHY and if you're not sure what that is, check out my blog post How to Set Goals to Get Fit.


One of the first things you'll need to do is create a new realistic routine for yourself. I say realistic because you can't magic loads of extra time to fit in hour long workouts if your schedule doesn't allow for it.

Look at the time you have got and work with that. If looking at your week right now you think at a push you could do 4 workouts at the gym for about 30-40 minutes, start with two 30 minute workouts a week and then build from there. Give yourself four to six weeks to get set with the new routine and then look at building that up.

I have shared more tips on making the gym really work for you here: 4 Simple Ways to Make the Gym Work for You


Once you've decided on the number of sessions and how long your sessions will be, it is time to create a workout structure you can follow.

Make sure each workout has one of your big five movements in there, a push, a pull, a squat, a hinge and a core exercise.

Here's an example you can use: bench press, single arm row, goblet squat, deadlift and a plank. That's your big 4 ticked off!

Then look at reps (the amount of time you'll do each exercise) and sets (how many rounds you'll do) Initially you can keep this really simple and aim for 8-10 reps of each exercise (remembering the last 2 reps should feel challenging and if they don't you might want to up the weight you're using) and go for 3-4 sets.


Every good workout needs a playlist, make sure you have one downloaded and good to go before anything else. Having music on can be a really good way to block out the noise of others training and allow you just to focus on doing your own thing.

Spotify have some brilliant pre loaded playlists for quite literally every taste of music, personally I am a huge fan of a 90's playlist.

Having music you enjoy listening to is a real mood booster and I always share new playlist finds with my clients to help keep them motivated with their training.


Now is the time to ease yourself back in gently.

I know you might think this is a bit crazy and be thinking now you're feeling motivated to train you should go in 200%, but hear me out.

Start with fewer shorter workouts and then start to gradually increase the time you're training for and the intensity of the workout as you start to feel fitter. There is no need to go in there all guns blazing. Remember if you hurt yourself you're back to square one completely.

It's also not punishment for the time you've had off. Killing yourself in the gym isn't going to change what just happened over the past year and a half. Make peace with your time away from the gym and go back with a fresh approach.

You're starting new rather than making up for lost time!


Make sure in each workout that you do there is at least one exercise you actually enjoy doing.

You always want a mix of things that challenge you and are tough but not at the expense of things that make you feel strong or that you just feel like a total bad ass doing!

The exercises you like are what keeps you going doing the things that you really don't. Trust me when I say that you'll start to skip exercises and feel frustrated by your workouts if you don't strike the balance between what challenges you and what you like to do.

If you need a way to plan your workouts out for the week ahead, why not download my FREE workout planner here.

Need more support before heading back into the gym? Why not check out my blog: How to get yourself ready to go back to the gym with confidence

Remember, the gym is a space for us all to use and enjoy. If you can find what works for you, you'll never look back.


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