Getting back to the gym after a “break”
July 8, 2020 - By Karine Larose, M.Sc.
Are you one of the many, like myself, who returned to the gym in June and tried to pick up where they left off in March?
Whether it’s a pandemic, an injury, a holiday or life itself, if you’ve not been to the gym in a while, you should know what to do to make the return easier, both physically and mentally! Did you know that a period of 2 short weeks without working out can substantially reduce your strength and your muscle mass? So we shouldn’t be surprised if the return seems a bit difficult.
A few tips on how to resume training after a break
Depending on the level of physical activity during the break, some of you will have maintained your fitness level while others will not. Just as your fitness level will improve as you continue to challenge your body, it will decrease when left idle. It is therefore normal to feel that you have lost strength, flexibility and some of your cardiovascular capacity. But rest assured that the body adapts, provided you give it some time and continue to challenge it…easy does it and be patient.
Here are five tips you should consider when returning to the gym after a break.
- Start slow. One can’t expect to pick up where they left off after a break. By wanting to take on too much, too fast, you risk injury, muscular aches and pains, not to mention demotivation! The idea here is to start with a less intense training session. For example: It can be for a shorter period of time. You can reduce the intensity of your cardio workout by 50% of what it used to be. As for weight training, perform a single series of each exercise. Your first several sessions will be less intense but, rest assured, you will progress quickly.
- Rediscover the joy of working out and get back into the groove. Start by recreating the habit of working out regularly. And you must be realistic about workout frequency. Were you working out 6 times a week before the pandemic? Now you’d like to start with 3 times a week? That’s great. Take it slow, but schedule your sessions and keep your commitment. Gradually add sessions to your weekly workouts. Remember regular consistent workouts are better than an occasional difficult, challenging and draining workout.
- Take the time to warm up. The warm-up period, that can last between 3 and 10 minutes, prepares the mind and the body for the work that you are about to do. Perform dynamic moves that involve the muscle groups that will be solicited during your workout. So take the time to warm up properly before each session.
- Revise your training objectives: After a break, our goals may have changed. What will the new goal be? More energy? Run a 5K? Improve muscular endurance? Improve flexibility? Reduce stress? To help you decide, it would be practical to undergo a fitness evaluation and a body composition assessment. The information provided will allow you to establish and pursue your new objective.
- Use the services of a personal trainer: Not feeling motivated? You have no idea where to start? You would like a new workout program? Meet with a personal trainer, they can set you on the right track and keep you motivated!
The expression « slowly but surely » makes perfect sense in this context. Maintaining regular workouts while applying these tips will help you ease back in and get you back in shape in no time.
So, if it isn’t already done, you should plan your first post-confinement workout session. This will give you the opportunity to rediscover our gyms and the preventive measures put in place for your security and peace of mind. Go ahead, one step at a time!
Getting back to the gym after a “break" is a post from Nautilus Plus. The Nautilus Plus blog aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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