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Getting back into the gym after lockdown

Think it’s time to back into the gym? Yes, we are all excited to be getting back into the gyms now they are finally open!! However as much as you all want to, you shouldn’t go flying back in at 100mph, as you will end up doing more damage to yourself than good! In this article I identify a number of common mistakes people make and how you can better prepare yourself to maximise your return.

Firstly some expectations which you need to prepare for…

You’re not going to be as strong as you were before! 

The unfortunate truth is that unless you have been able to keep up with your training, you will have lost some muscle mass/strength. Most people’s activity levels have been massively reduced, especially with regard to training volume & intensity during lockdown.

When your body isn’t using or doesn’t require excess muscle, the muscle mass will gradually reduce. But don’t freak out there’s such thing as muscle memory and the muscle can rebuild much quicker than it initially took to build.

Blood pressure & heart rate being higher. 

This may be due to the lack of exercise and possibly bad food choices and increased alcohol consumption over lockdown. It is therefore advisable to stick to higher rep ranges and finish your session with some steady state cardio. As your heart rate and blood pressure improve you can transition back into lower rep ranges.

Your muscles will fatigue quicker. 

This is because they haven’t been working at their usual intensity. Reduce your session time and then slowly build it back up.

Reduction in your range of motion. 

Your muscles maybe tighter and your flexibility reduced, where you may have been resting for large portions of the day. Make sure you take extra time warming up and mobilising even if it means a reduction in your training time.

Hydration 

Make sure you drink sufficient liquid before, during and after your session, as your body is going to be needing it. If you don’t drink, you won’t be able to train as well and your recovery will take longer

DOM’s 

Delay onset muscle soreness, it’s the pain and the sensation of ache you may have felt 24-72 hrs after a training session. Its more than likely you will feel DOM’s as your body is being opened up to new stimuli again. To reduce this ;

– Cool down efficiently (steady state cardio and stretching)

– Consume the correct amount of calories and protein in relation to you physique

– Sleep quality of at least 85% during 7-8 hours

A few tips: 

Set yourself small goals. If you were training 4, 5 or even 6 times a week prior to lockdown you shouldn’t go straight back in at this levelbv. Reduce it down and slowly build yourself back up.

In your initial training sessions you are not going to be able to train as hard as you could before lockdown, so use the first couple of weeks to get back into good habits. Remind yourself of the exercises and techniques and how to execute them properly.

Follow a training programme with progressive overload, building you back up to where you were and not going straight in with the same weight or workouts as before.

Programme full body workouts as your body will fatigue quicker and you won’t be able to sustain the same output throughout, if you start with muscle grouping.

Follow a nutrition plan with the correct calories and macronutrient split, in relation to your goal.

And just remember your strength will come back, but be patient don’t overdo it otherwise your DOMS will mean that you can’t physically train as well as you want or even worse, you’ll do yourself an injury.

If you need any help or guidence to help prevent injury, maximise your return to the gym and fast track your results, feel free to drop me a message by clicking here.