How to get yourself ready to go back to the gym with confidence
With the reopening of gym's looming in the distance I know lots of you will be itching to get back to the gym or considering taking the leap and joining a gym for the first time.
It can be a nerve wracking experience getting back to the gym after some time off, never mind the year we've all just had. I thought it would be good to share some advice on how to go back to the gym feeling confident.
Let me start this blog by saying that most importantly, after surviving a global pandemic, you do not need to lose weight. I am fully supportive of wanting to improve your overall health and fitness but the gym can be so much more than just a tool to lose weight.
I am going to share some advice and some no-brainers for easing yourself back into the gym gently. It can be easy to think once the gym is back open you've got to hammer the workouts 24/7 in order to make up for lost time or to burn off weight gain thanks to covid! However, if you try and go all out and do too much too soon, you'll most likely burn out within the first few weeks, and we don't want that!
This is a really easy one. If you are new to the gym or maybe you'd been a couple of times but hadn't got overly familiar with the equipment or built much confidence when lifting weights. Book yourself an induction with the staff working at the gym. Every gym offers these and they form part of any induction process, so you shouldn't feel embarrassed or daft asking for one.
START SMALL AND BUILD BIG
Don't try and over commit yourself. Look at your diary and be realistic about the time you have available to commit to the gym. You don't need hours in there to get an effective workout.
Have an idea of the workout you want to get done, that way you'll likely spend less time planning out a workout or getting distracted looking for workouts to follow on your phone or checking out what other people are doing.
A good rule of thumb for any workout is to include the 5 key movements for the body, a push, pull, hinge, squat and core exercise.
Your workout could look something like: chest press, row, deadlift, goblet squat and a plank hold. Simple is always best when you're short of time or struggling for ideas of what to do once you get to the gym.
WARM UP AND COOL DOWN
I know the temptation to skip a warm up and cool down can be very real when you're short of time at the gym and maybe think its better just to dive straight in.
This is how injuries happen. Preparing your body for exercise is an important part of the workout and only needs to be a couple of minutes to raise your heart rate and get your muscles warmed up.
Same applies for the cool down, this is a great way to bring the heart rate down and give your body time to cool down before you leave the gym and carry on with your day.
Here's a 5 minute warm up and stretch video for you to try before your next workout.
KEEP AN EYE ON FORM
Using good form is key to getting the best out of your workouts. Making sure that exercises are safe is a huge part of my job as a personal trainer. If you're unsure of an exercise, look it up online, make sure you've got a mirror so you can check your positioning whilst you're doing it. Better yet, ask for someone to help you out.
Gym floors always have staff available who will be able to give you teaching points and corrections to help you exercise safely.
I also offer this online for any clients who are new to exercise or the gym. You can have an hour PT session based purely around your form and technique when it comes to some of the most challenging exercises. If you think this could benefit you before you return to the gym - get in touch. I'd love to help.
For any workout program to be effective long term it needs to be challenging enough. It can be very difficult when you're training by yourself or new to exercise to know what that should look like. A good way to think about it is the last 2 repetitions of an exercise (for example the last 2 of a set of 10 press ups) should feel challenging. If you feel you could have done more, you can probably look to increase the amount of repetitions you're doing or perhaps look at the weight you're using or having more time under tension.
This is where working with a trainer can prove really beneficial. They will design a program for you which is designed to be challenging every week. They will look at the exercises they give you, how much they're asking you to do and will be ensuring they push you week on week.
Getting back to training at the gym again or signing up to a gym for the first time can be really exciting. You want to make sure you're able to make the most of your membership and leave the gym after your workouts feeling confident that you've had a great session.
If you've struggled in the past to make the gym work in your lifestyle, read this: 4 Simple Ways to Make the Gym Work for You
If you'd like to book a 121 virtual personal training session with me, get in touch.