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Gyms on Merseyside and across the country are now back open, with social distancing, regular cleaning and other Covid-secure measures in place, to safeguard against the virus.
If you haven’t stepped foot in a gym for several months, it can be daunting to think about diving straight back into weight lifting or treadmill training. While some people have spent lockdown smashing their fitness goals, you may have taken a rest from your usual workouts.
It was a big day for gyms today and Connor from Absolute Body Solutions told us what measures his gyms have in place 🏋️ pic.twitter.com/SVVrAROHCT
— The Guide Liverpool (@TheGuideLpool) April 12, 2021
Connor from Absolute Body Solutions on Tithebarn Street gave us his top things to remember when you return to the gym:
1.First, take it easy in your first week! It can be hard to resist after so much time spent away from the gym, but you will thank yourself later. Get used to the movements again and focus on your technique. A couple of visits in, step it up again and repeat until you are back to your old form.
2.If you are used to using weights, do not expect to be able to lift the same as before. If you were at the gym regularly, the chances are that your strength will have decreased. Start a little lighter than normal on your warmup sets and gradually increase the weights as you go.
3.Before you even touch a weight, do not forget to warm up – dynamic stretching, cardio based or using lighter weights for exercises you are about to perform, ensure you have warmed up properly before a set.
4.Weights before cardio – after your warmup (where you might use cardio equipment) getting your weight training done, before using the cardio equipment is the best way to structure your workout.
5.Book in with a personal trainer to help you achieve your results if you are not sure how to approach training on your own.
6.Follow a programme and importantly, track your results so you can see your progress.
7.Help your recovery post workout by having a protein shake and, something that is so often overlooked, get a good night’s sleep. 7-8 hours if possible. Try avoiding the TV or mobile before bedtime and keep your room as dark as possible.
Another expert gives us five more tips for your first week back:
Considering it may have been over a year since you last stepped foot into the gym, it might be wise to spend some time familiarising yourself with the equipment before you throw yourself back into your first session.
There’s a good chance you’ll have forgotten how to work the gym machines, as well as the correct form for lifting heavy weights without risking injury.
Your gym will have implemented new Covid-safe measures that will make things feel a bit different from the way they were before lockdown, too. Take things slowly, so you can build up your strength and confidence on the gym floor.
Sure, there are those friends on Instagram who have spent lockdown getting fitter than ever, but the vast majority of us will be feeling a bit self-conscious about returning to the gym.
As keen as you might be to get back to peak physical fitness, accept that the last year has been a stressful one, and that it’s OK if you took some time off from training.
You’re probably not as strong or fit as you used to be, so start off by using lower weights and adding more rest time between sets. Pushing your body too far will only put you at risk of injury.
Carrying a gym bag is a pretty alien concept to us now, so keep in mind that whether it’s a sweat towel or a water bottle, there’ll probably be something you inevitably neglect to grab on your way out of the door.
It may seem simple, but packing your bag the night before is definitely one of those things you skip and then regret the next day. Lay out your kit ready for the morning so you won’t overlook something important.
Indoor exercise classes will also be banned when gyms reopen, in an attempt to reduce contact between people as they workout.
If you’re not a fan of the ‘open gym’ concept that many gyms are implementing with the easing of restrictions, remember that you can carry on with your usual yoga, Pilates or cardio classes at home.
There’s not long to wait until May 17, when people will hopefully be allowed to mix indoors again at gym classes.
If you’ve been taking a rest from Zoom workouts over recent weeks, prepare to deal with some level of discomfort in the days after your gym session.
It’s normal for delayed onset muscle soreness (Doms) to occur when you increase the duration or intensity of your exercise, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.
While waking up and feeling like everything hurts is never fun, the good news is that the soreness should only last for a few days. Plus, if you warm up before your session and cool down afterwards, it can significantly reduce your chances of wincing through the week ahead.
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