Returning to the gym after the lock down

With restrictions easing and fitness centers, health clubs, and gyms reopening it’s a good time to look at our workouts. A few questions you need to ask yourself are below.

  • What are your goals?
  • Where are you right now in respect to what you want to achieve?
  • How are you going to get back into a regular habit and workout routine?
  • Think about your values and the real WHY and what motivates you.

Your goals.
These need to be something meaningful to you as an individual.
An example might be to shed a few pounds by Thanksgiving. The best way to succeed in your goals is to structure them into little chunks so you can see progress and stay motivated. I have another post on setting goals for reference. In short, don’t set lofty goals that are long term. Set short term goals for which you can see progress on a weekly basis. For example, rather than saying lose a certain amount of weight by a specific event or holiday, it’s much better to set short term goals like “this week I will lose 1.5 pounds by committing to my plan”

Figure out where you are right now.
Remember that you can’t just jump back into your old workout, even if you have been able to do a good body-weight workout at home to stay active. This is quite different from lifting weights or jumping back on the cardio equipment.
It’s really important to ease back into a routine slowly. You’re putting yourself at a high risk of injury if you don’t ease back in over a bit of time.

Now you have your starting point figured out, how are you going to get going?
It’s a good idea to get into a regular habit to make something stick. Some examples might be to workout three times a week. Rather than say “three times per week”, commit to something solid like “I am going to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6am for 1 hour”

As well as having made the commitment to yourself and possibly adding some accountability, for example telling someone you will do this, make sure the time you spend in the gym is productive.

Every exercise or every interval spent on cardio has to be productive and for a specific purpose. Structure your workout to target all the major muscle groups and the five everyday movement patterns. Incorporate these movements into your plan: single leg, bend and lift, pull, push, and rotation.

Are your cardio intervals for base building, endurance, or power? You have to know this before you start any cardio work. Not having any structure is unproductive at best and possibly harmful at worst.

If you go food shopping without knowing what you need are likely to come home with what you need? Probably not, but you might be lucky and have a few things you need. Workouts are the same. Plan them out and you will see value in them.

Finally, the WHY part of all this. Only you can answer that, but make sure you think about why.
We all have our own internal driving force, so follow that and use it to stick to your plans and goals.

For example, someone who volunteers their time to a community project or group is driven by feeling helpful to their community. If that involves being fitter and staying in good health then that is the persons driving force behind sticking to a fitness plan, and they can remember that on the days when going for a workout feels like an inconvenience. The inverse to this is someone that has been TOLD to exercise because they need to for health reasons. This person isn’t likely to stick to it or have the drive to go out and exercise on days they don’t feel like doing it because the reason behind it isn’t using their internal driving force.

Need some help?
Sometimes this planning can feel overwhelming or you might not even have any idea where to start. If you need some help with motivation, structuring your goals, accountability, or putting an effective workout plan together I would value the opportunity to help you with this.

Contact me and we can discuss your needs and goals.