If you live in Texas you are likely looking forward to getting back to the gym on May 18th! We are excited to reopen with lots of added precautions and cleanliness protocols. Social Distancing and personal hygiene are not the only pieces of returning to the gym successfully.
The other thing you need to be considering is your body. You have likely been participating in our OS at home programming or another type of at home workout regimen. This is great and has allowed you to maintain a satisfactory level of fitness for the duration of this shut down. However, you likely have not picked up a barbell or performed pull-ups in almost 3 months.
This is going to affect your return to the gym.
Taking time off can do wonders for our bodies. Time away from heavy weights and stressful workouts for time can do wonders for our physical and mental well being. After 3 months away we are all itching to get back under a heavy barbell. Jumping in head first at full speed could be a recipe for disaster.
Showing up 5 days a week and going all out during the first week back in the gym is cause for injury; which will lead to frustration. As we prepare to reopen and participate in group classes we need to determine the best workout schedule to ramp us back up to whatever our regular schedule was before gyms were forced to close. This schedule is going to look different for everyone. As a gym, we have some suggestions to make your transition back to full on fitness as successful and injury free as possible.
Get your nutrition in check now
You have likely been enjoying all the quarantine snacks and watching a lot more Netflix than usual over the last few months. This is not a bad thing and we are not here to give you a nutritional lecture. But you know as well as we do how you will feel during that first workout if you continue to eat this way. Extra sweets and alcohol can have a large effect on the body’s ability to perform. You will feel slow and weak during that first workout, you might even feel like puking.
It is also very likely that during this shutdown you have been cooking more and are now familiar with some new fun recipes! Take stock of these recipes now and see what, if any, can be added to your weekly meal preparation. Start adding more nutritionally balanced meals to your day and try to cut down on the snacky snacks!
Snacking on fruit can be a healthy and sweet way to kick those junk food cravings.
Continue with your at home workouts until May 18th
We know the excitement of gyms reopening may cause some people to want to abandon their home workouts prematurely. Doing this may set you back even further when the first class rolls around. Continue to follow your at home programming until it's time to attend the gym again. This will allow you to hold onto your base strength and conditioning while you wait to get back to the gym.
We do recommend planning at least 1-2 rest days immediately prior to attending your first group class. This will give your body a good recovery window that will allow you to push yourself in an optimal way.
Start with 3-4 days a week maximum
Once gyms reopen, consider attending class 3-4 days a week for the first few weeks. Taking a rest day in between gym visits will give your body time to acclimate to this new routine. Rest days can consist of yoga, stretching, some type of active recovery, or just resting. All are acceptable and you should mix and match what feels good for you. Stick with this schedule for 2-4 weeks.
Keep the weights light
During the first few weeks of workouts it's best to scale back when it comes to weights during a workout. Whether it’s strength or a metcon you should consider going a little lighter than you normally would have before the shutdown. Even though you may still be strong enough, you may end up too sore to move the next few days if you go too heavy too early. Pace yourself and work back up to those previous numbers. It won’t take long if you don’t rush yourself.
Focus on recovery and hydration
Summer in Texas is HOT and you have been sitting around in the comfort of your air conditioner for a couple of months now. Even if your gym has air conditioning, you have likely been exerting yourself less and sweating less recently. Drink extra water for at least 48 hours before your first workout and make sure you are replacing lost water once the workout has ended.
Don’t skimp on recovery! If your body is sore and tight, stretch it. Even if it isn’t sore and tight, stretch it! Take an ice bath, or just a cold bath once a week after a hard workout. Eat nutritious meals and take your vitamins (if you need them). Foam roll and warm up properly before workouts.
The better you recover, the quicker you can return to your original training schedule.
Listen to your body
This is the most important tip; listen to your body. Pay attention to how your body feels before and after that first workout. Be present during the workout and take note of what you're feeling. If you are extra tight, make sure you spend more time warming up and priming your body. If you feel sluggish, think about what you ate the last few days. Too much food? Not enough food?
You may experience more intense soreness than before. If this is the case, take an extra rest day when needed. If you are not feeling sore, increase your intensity during the next workout just a little.
When you feel ready, increase to 4 days per week. Again, stick to this new schedule for 2-4 weeks. Pay attention to how your body feels and work your way up from here.
Getting back into the gym full speed is going to look different for everyone. Your ability to increase your training volume is going to depend heavily on your previous level of fitness, how you ate, trained, and recovered during quarantine, and how you continue to eat, train, and recover once the gym is reopened.