Friends Reunited: How To Boss Your First Session Back At The Gym


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It’s been a long four months for various reasons, not least because we’ve been kept from our beloved gyms. Whether you intended to rep some weights as part of a (by now stale) new years resolution or have been a keen gym bunny for years, that’s been an incredibly difficult pill to swallow. Add to this those extra lockdown pounds and a more static lifestyle, and the chances are that your fitness is nowhere near where you’d like it to be.

Luckily, as of April 12th, our much-loved gyms have opened their doors once more and, for all our sins, we finally have a chance to reach those fitness goals again. It’s a chance to work on our physical therapy. The only trouble is that, after all this time, doing so can seem like a daunting task and one that you may be reluctant to actually enjoy.

Yes, you’ve been marking down those days, but now that the chance of visiting a gym is a reality, you feel like a fawn who hasn’t quite found their feet, or at least a gym newbie for the first time in years. We get it, but it’s vital to remember that we’re all in the same boat. Unfortunately, waiting even longer here is only going to see your health deteriorate further. 

Don’t let it happen by finally getting reacquainted with your beloved gym in the following ways. 

Shop the gym market

You may have had a go-to gym before all of this happened, but many facilities have made vast improvements during these months out of operation. This, and a need to book onto pretty long waiting lists in many instances, makes this the ideal time to shop around for the best gym you can find. After all, the better the gym, equipment, etc., the better your chances at reaching your goals. 

You’ll especially want to book in quick (remember those waiting lists?) to gyms that are applying the best social distancing measures to keep your nerves at ease. This, mixed with the right equipment, is guaranteed to be the ideal pairing to get you back in your latex at last. 

Focus on getting back into shape first

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If you’re one of the 35.82% of people who gained weight this lockdown, the gym is going to seem like an even less approachable summit than ever. After all, if your fitness is poor, every single gym session is guaranteed to take a toll. Then, of course, there’s the fact that you’ll need to work even harder to see any real impact from your efforts.

Each of these factors largely sets you up for failure, but that’s something you can avoid by simply taking the time to get back into shape before your first gym session. Namely, you’ll want to address that lockdown excess with the help of meal plans, Shake That Weight diet shakes, and more. Equally, you may find it beneficial to implement a home-gym setup of some kind that helps you to start slowly, and in comfort, before hitting a public space again. 

Either way, making sure that you’re in at least a semi-decent shape before you get out the big gym guns is guaranteed to make you feel better, ensuring results that you can actually see when you do start up again. 

Take it back to zero

When we haven’t done something for a while, it’s easy to overestimate our ability in that particular area. But, before you jump right in repping the same rates as you were pre-lockdown, bear in mind that long detraining periods have been proven to decrease overall strength by 19%, and shoulder strength by around 40%. 

With that in mind, jumping straight into the same weight classes could see you receiving significant injuries and, ultimately, setting yourself impossible goals. Instead, it’s vital to acknowledge that you’ve taken a break (enforced though it may have been,) and you need to adjust your workout routine accordingly. 

In a general sense, experts advise dropping your weights by around 50% of what you were doing before, at least to start. Increase this gradually (around 15% per week if you’ve remained relatively active, 10% if not) so that you can avoid injury and ensure more achievable workouts. Within a few weeks, you should be back up to your pre-lockdown weights and finding them easy enough to manage without injury. You certainly won’t embarrass yourself by trying to pick up a bar that’s way outside of your current capabilities. 

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Rebuild a routine

Routine has always been the hardest thing to manage about gym attendance, but everyone knows that this simple step is fundamental to success. Fail to arrange a set time and place with yourself, and you’ll slip into the fated ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ mentality in no time. 

Of course, you don’t need us to tell you that but, with staggered entry times and the like, it’s especially vital that you get on top of this straight away when you rejoin your gym. You certainly can’t afford to just slip into a routine right now, and you may even find that your previous routine won’t work with altered gym arrangements or opening times. 

That’s fine, but you do need to work on rebuilding a gym routine that works. Specifically, you should look for a quiet time (maybe during your lunch break or a little later in the evenings?) when you’re able to book a slot for a few weeks or even months running. This may take some small adjustment, but you should soon find that you’re back into the swing of workouts at long last. 

A final word

Not being able to hit the gym has been hard, and getting back into the habit looks set to be even harder. But, now is the prime time to focus on your health at long last, shaking any bad lockdown habits and remembering how good a decent session can feel. Luckily, these pointers make it a whole lot easier for you to remember precisely that, ensuring a new, but reliable, gym habit that you can trust in.


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