7 key things you need to know going back to the Gym after Covid-19!
This subject is a very important topic to bring to your attention.
You finally got the news you have been praying for.
You are so overjoyed and you feel like a little kid who got the best birthday present.
"MY GYM IS OPEN!"
You may have gained a few pounds over quarantine but you know it will be gone once you get back to the gym. We hope.
Did you know that some studies are showing a significant amount of muscle loss, strength loss, loss in physical function, loss in cardiovascular health, loss in lung capacity, and a decline in your metabolic function in as little as 10 days of no activity? When we are not active are bodies very quickly adapt to the lack of activity. ?
Now before you head back to the gym and rush right back thinking you can jump right back into where you started. Here are 7 key, and important things you have to know before stepping back on to the gym floor.
Restarting your gym workouts too quickly will risk you getting injuries. The most common being back injuries, shoulder, and knee injuries.
We know you are excited but we want you to go in mindfully and we also recommend you set smart, realistic goals to allow your body to adjust to the new routine.
1. Follow your current home workout plan (if you were following one)
You really want to lift hard and heavy! It would be a good idea to stick to the same exercises you were doing at home for a while. Two to four weeks max. Most of us want to get that Olympic bar back out and crush out our usually heavier poundages of Deadlifts. That might be a big mistake. If your current program doesn't have deadlifts, it might be a good idea to not do them just yet. Let your body get used to those heavier loads with the past quarantine program you were doing at home. If you must Deadlift, go light for a month while putting a heavy focus on form and execution.
2. Get to the gym 15 minutes earlier
If you miss anything in this post, please do not miss this part.
By getting to the gym earlier than planned. You can use that extra 15 minutes to really focus on a good warm-up! Let's face it, you have been training at home a few times a week or you may have not trained at all? You have spent a lot of extra time in the quarantine period, sitting down and not moving as much as you would have liked. Think about it, we go straight for the free weights and ignore the warm-up our coach gave us. You may get away with it for one or two sessions, but let's face it, you are going to be extremely sore. This is due to not being active and not being in a gym environment for over three months! At some point, the body will start to break down.
3. You must cool down
You got through your first few workouts with no issues, however, working out is a stress on the body. We have been out of our routine (the gym) for quite some time. Wouldn't it be nice to unwind all that stress after a hard workout? Absolutely right? If you have to cut your resistance training time, do it! By doing some stretching and more importantly, diaphragmatic breathing right after your lifting session. It will rapidly change your health and wellbeing. You will have a nervous system that will be so finely tuned. There are so many amazing health benefits. Now we know that gyms are limiting the time you can spend in them from 45mins -1 hr but you can still do this in your car if you're running short one time.
Here is another blog we wrote on why we all should be doing diaphragmatic breathing post-workout. http://www.apexphysiques.ca/post/2017/01/19/breathingare-you-doing-it-right
4. Get stable
This one is massively important!
If you build a house on dodgy, shaky ground, we all know it is all going to come crashing down.
Have you ever tried to do a squat on ice skates? Imagine what that would feel like? So wired and very awkward.
Think about this. You haven't been squatting, deadlifting, barbell rows, pull-ups and did we say deadlifts? You have not done these moves for a while. Over three months or so? That is a long time. Do you feel like your own foundation is a little weak right now? Hips hurt, back pain, knee pain, and shoulder pain?
Begin your workouts with:
1. Good old fashioned planks for core stability endurance
2. Downward dogs for shoulder stability and shoulder health.
3. Single leg Romanian deadlifts for good hip stability
There are many more but these are a good start.
By following some of these steps outlined above, you won't have to worry about having to see your physio or chiropractor. because of injury.
5. Have your game plan ready
Having your workout plan from beginning to end put together, in good order will be like a compass to get you through the summer without getting injured. We think that it is important to be able to do that.
Make sure that your resistance training program has progressions and even regressions (easier) over the next three months. Your plan should have a top-quality warm-up, cool down and diaphragmatic breathing to put the icing on the cake and to help you NOT get injured! Plus, most gyms are limiting workout time so having a plan will help you stay focused and intentional about your workouts and create great habits when there are no time restraints.
6. Slow down
An old mentor would once say "Quality not quantity." He is bang on the money!" Forget how much weight you are lifting and get lazier "focused." Yes, it does take extra energy to do this but let us tell you, it will be so worth it. We promise you.
Be mindful of how you lower the weight on each repetition. By not paying attention to this important part of the lift is where injuries happen. Tell the weight that you are the boss and control it with everything you have. Boss it!
It will also be a very good idea to start even 40% of your max lift from where you left off or less if you haven't been working out at all. Don't let the ego get in the way and convince you otherwise. We all need to eat a piece of humble pie as we go back to the gym. Unless you have been one of the lucky people who has a well-equipped gym with all the bells and whistles.
7. Don't do more
We know you are so keen right now. In fact, you want to go to the gym seven days straight with no days off. Maybe thoughts of having to play catch up are lurking around in your head? A lot of weeks not working out really mounted up. Those bloody home workouts with those silly bands just did not motivate you to work out right? So why even bother. We get it.
Our point is to not do more but in fact, do less. Three days a week of working out per week is plenty to make good improvements.
In summary, think of this whole process as a build-up.
Imagine you are at the beach and the sun is shining but there is a bit of sharp cold breeze coming at you. You attempt to go into the water but you know it is really cold out there. You slowly walk out with your toes in the water. Then you go up to your knees, and then you slowly get to your belly button. You get the point, nice and steady. Don't be that person that thinks they can go back to the gym where they left off and jump right into that freezing cold water. Right into the deep end. Only to find yourself getting thrown around by all the riptides. All busted up and injured and now you can't workout.
Be safe. Train Smart.
Troy & Jasmine
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