The Coronavirus has shut down gyms and fitness facilities everywhere, leaving the public to come up with some creative outlets to keep on their fitness regimens. Another problem is that without the guidance of a certified trainer to help develop and oversee a client’s program and progressions, a lot of those have chosen to be a little more sedentary than others.
Here’s a hypothetical for you: We get the all clear from the government to re-open our fitness facilities and you as well as everyone else are extremely excited. You get to the gym and you’re ready to start your usual routine. You rack the same weight that you were utilizing 3 months prior (keep in mind, you’ve pretty much haven’t lifted since then). This is going to be easy, right?
Well, probably not. Here some of the reasons why:
- Not engaging in physical activity as intensely as you once previously had done is going to leave you in some sort of weakened state. The good part is we all have what’s called ‘muscle memory’. In layman’s terms, muscle memory assists the body in building up those areas that have been neglected in a somewhat sped up process. As long as there is consistency in your workouts.
- You’ve done some not-so-great work on your diet. We’re on lockdown and when do most people eat things that are bad for them? When they’re bored, right? Even though we are held up in our homes for this temporary period, you still have the ability to eat healthy. It’s more than okay to have cheat meals/snacks every once in a while but if you wish to maintain a certain weight range, be cognizant of the foods and the amounts that you are consuming.
Let’s say that you are aware of all of the above. Great. But, if you are currently in a deconditioned state, what types of exercises should you be doing so you don’t hurt yourself?
As a certified trainer and a Gym Manager, i hear this question once, if not more in a day. Mostly older members and clients aren’t as educated on the different modalities of exercise programs as a lot of younger people are but these can apply to any age.
Here are my tips for gradually moving back into your exercise program:
- Start with something easy. Don’t’ be a hero especially if you have any pre-existing conditions that may inhibit your movement. You do not want to re-injure something that has already repaired itself.
- Workout in a smaller time frame. Don’t want to commit to a half-hour right off the bat? No problem! Most effective workouts do not happen from spending countless hours in the gym and if you’re just starting back commit to something less than 30 minutes. A brisk walk or jog, an abdominal circuit, etc. Just make sure you make excellent use of the time that you set for yourself.
- The Endorphin High. Remember how good it feels to workout? If for anything else, do it for the endorphin high that fitness-minded people get from going from a run or lifting some iron.
- Get a buddy to go with you. People tend to stick with workouts if they have a good friend that has made the commitment to join you. It builds self-confidence, it’s fun and it holds you accountable.
- Schedule it in your calendar. If you have any kind of visual reminder to help get you to the gym, this would be it. Put the workouts that you plan to do in your Google calendar, on your iPhone or anything else that you use to keep your appointments in line. This is another good tip to hold yourself accountable for getting those workouts in.
- STRETCH! This is probably one of the most important things that most people miss. Unless your body aches, most people do not tend to utilize any sort of stretch program but this only is going to hurt them in the long run. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate routine either. A few good stretches to get the kinks out of your muscles before AND after your workout is going to help muscle recovery and help fix those micro-tears in your muscles a little bit quicker.
Whatever your current situation and relationship with your workouts may be, starting slow after a few months away doesn’t mean that you’ve got to start over from scratch again. If you are consistent in your workouts and your dieting habits, it should take about 2 months for you to get back to where you were at previously. We all get discouraged but as long as you are realistic about your fitness goals and not pushing your body to the limits of exhaustion, you’ll be doing better than most in your gym.
One last thing, if you’re not sure how to go about structuring your own workout regime, consult trainers at your gym for ideas. That doesn’t mean you have to sign up for personal training packages that cost a fortune! Times are tough financially for most people right now and if you approach a trainer searching for advice, most won’t hesitate to assist you. That’s why we got into this business in the first place.
Make the commitment. Execute on your goals. Observe the positive change in yourself!
John J. Schessler, Jr. is a NASM & NPTI certified Personal Trainer, Orthopedic Exercise and Sports Injury Specialist. He also is the Assistant Club Manager of Planet Fitness in West Mifflin, PA. He is also certified as a Spinning and Zumba Instructor as well. Mr. Schessler also has a background as a Physical Therapy Aide and Drug/Alcohol Counseling. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Corporate Communications/Education from Penn State University as well as an Associate’s Degree from the Community College of Allegheny County as a Social Work Specialist. https://trainerjohnpgh.blogspot.com