Getting back into the gym: A Guide

The lockdown has - undoubtedly and unfortunately - ruined the workout routines of people around the world. Getting back into a workout routine can be as challenging as it sounds. Far and wide, gyms have closed down - it's no surprise that most have stopped working out at all.

The whole situation brings up the question: how can you start working out again? Wonder no more, this article will provide you with all the details you need! 

Getting back into the gym: A Guide

The Problems

Much like many other gym enthusiasts out there, you may be excited to get back into your zone. However, there are certain things you need to keep in mind before you tackle the heavy equipment again. 

 

1.   You might have suffered from the virus. 

It's common knowledge that the pandemic has impacted millions of people around the globe. Even without the health problems, you may have been affected as well - physically or mentally. It's important not to beat yourself up for that. 

 

2.   Not working out might have weakened you.

If you didn't have a home gym to keep working out in, then coming back into the gym after so long might have weakened your muscles and lessened your strength. You may have a hard time using the equipment like you used to. But don't fret - it's perfectly natural! 

3.   It'll take time to get back into shape. 

Lockdowns and quarantines have led many people to resort to binge-eating to relieve their stress and troubles, so don't be surprised if you're not in your previous shape anymore. However, if you're patient with yourself, then you'll be seeing the results of working out in no time. 

The Basics

Much like the way you may need to go back to the basics after not making art for a while, the same goes for using the gym! It may not seem like it, but getting back into the gym requires revisiting the basics too. You need to make sure you still have a solid foundation for further strength building. 

Now that you're back to the basics, where do you even begin? 

Strength 

Strength is the core of a good workout. Think of yourself as a beginner now - you'll have to go back to a small number of fundamental exercises. Sure, it's not as cool as using heavy equipment, but this is what will help you get back into the groove.

 

Here are some exercises you can add to your workout: 

  • Back Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Bent-Over Row
  • Deadlift or Hip Thrust
  • Overhead Press
  • Pull-Up

 

Start with a few sets of 8-12 rounds - use a lighter weight first, and then increase it from there. As you build your strength, you can eventually shift to 3-5 sets while lowering the rep range. Make sure not to over-do it!

 

Mobility 

Most people had trouble moving around during the lockdown - not everybody has the motivation to continuously be moving their body, especially when the couch seems so inviting. Stiff joints are a typical result of a lack of mobility. 

 

Don't be deterred! All you need to do is integrate mobility workouts into your initial warmups, and you're all set! Some simple mobility exercise includes: 

  • Lunge patterns 
  • Thoracic rotations 

 

Endurance 

You probably remember the classic cardio exercises you used to do when you first started working out at the gym. If you're back in the gym after a long time, those same exercises will help you get back into it. 

 

As a start, try going for walks, jogs, or cycling. If you have already incorporated this into your daily routine, then all the better! Using the treadmills and cross-trainers at the gym can help too. The goal is to work out continuously for at least 30-60 minutes. Soon, you'll be ready to work in High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT) as well!

 

The Routine

When you're getting back into the gym, you're probably pumped up to workout seven days a week for as many hours as you can. The key to getting your strength and muscles back is not to over-do it! It can be easy to lose yourself in the excitement of it all. However, you need to be logical about it. 

 

At the start, keep a loose schedule. Visit the gym at intervals of two days on and one day off. Focus on strength, mobility, and endurance on alternating visits. 

Setting Goals

The entire year has thrown everyone's new year's resolutions into havoc. Your new year's goal may have been to finally get fit. Unfortunately, the lockdown had other plans. 

Getting back into that mindset is undeniably a tough decision to make and even tougher to execute. The key to reentering that mindset is to set realistic goals for yourself, specifically SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed. However, the most crucial thing is to make sure you're having fun! Your goals are only there to keep you motivated. 

Healthy Habits to Build

The lockdown has messed up many people's routines - you might no longer have a regular sleep or eating schedule. To get back into the gym, you'll need to fix that. Here are some healthy habits you need to build to ensure that you can fall back into your previous routine easily. 

 

Sleep 

The results of your training will only take effect when you have a regular sleeping schedule. The minimum number of hours you sleep should be 8-9. 

Diet 

It's time to stop binge-eating junk food. Although you might already have your diet under control, going back to the gym requires a specific diet. Make sure you incorporate whole wheat and protein into your meals. Don't forget to stay hydrated!

Stress 

The pandemic has given everyone enough stress as it is. Therefore, it's crucial to include low-intensity exercise as well, such as yoga or meditation. 

Whether you're daunted or excited at the thought of going back to your regular gym routine, it's essential to keep in mind that you are not alone. It's completely normal. Just remember: slow and steady, and soon you'll catch up to your old self!