Four Tips to Start Exercising after the Shutdown
You might have seen the funny memes about coming back to the gym. People running full speed or walking in with lots of swagger. It’s definitely funny and certainly many people (hopefully you are one of them) are super happy that we are open.
You are thrilled that you can lift your weights, chat with your friends and bust out some cardio. But let’s hold that thought.
Chances are pretty high that the weight you were pushing or pulling is NOT the weight you want to start with when you come back. I have only come across one member so far where she is actually stronger than before because she committed to doing 60 push-ups a day. So awesome!
I know you are ready to come back and jump into your routine, but do it in a smart way so you don’t tweak your back or become so sore that you miss a whole week. Let me give you an example of our small group training program and how we eased people back into their fitness routine..
Right before shutdown, I had added in SPX Fit Extreme to our programming. This was taking our workouts up a notch because the members had gotten to that point where we could lift a bit heavier, work on our plyometrics (jumping) and increase the conditioning. That came to a screeching halt in mid March. When I finally started back with those members in June, I knew how I was going to program the workouts. Here are guidelines we followed and exactly the same ones you can use too:
- Focus on bodyweight: When I was getting our groups back together, I checked in with many of them to get an idea of how they were feeling and where their fitness level was. Many of them expressed that they felt “squishy” and not active at all. No problem. Start with where you are not where you finished in March. For the first 4-6 weeks of twice a week sessions, we just did bodyweight moves. Starting with bodyweight is easier on the nervous system and you can focus on form first. There is no reason to add weight if you can’t do the fundamentals moves like squats and planks with correct form.
- Spend extra time warming up: We spend 15 minutes warming up our bodies, working on mobility and dynamic stretching. In the beginning of the summer, many of the members felt like even this part of the workout was challenging. We stuck with many of the same moves. We have to prep your body with a warm-up before a workout in order to increase blood flow, activate muscles and focus on form. We significantly reduce our chance of injury with a proper warm-up. I am happy to report, no injuries occurred, we only got stronger and more mobile.
- Continue to stay active outside: While we were working on strength and flexibility in class, I encouraged everyone to keep riding their bikes and going for walks or runs. Consistency over intensity is going to be your mantra in coming back to the gym. As we progressed over the summer, we had people increase their flexibility, reduce shoulder pain and knee pain and feel really strong in their core muscles.
- Add weight in slowly: After about 6 weeks, we added in weight. As we added in weight, we really focused on tempo and making sure that form was still perfect. We slowly increase weight as needed and also kept many bodyweight moves in the program like pushups and lunges. When you are in the gym and doing some weight lifting, please focus on higher reps like 12-15 and lower weights. You want to work at about a 5 out of 10 intensity level to start and just ease your way back into weight lifting. You can be a little sore but if it goes beyond two days, then you pushed too hard. Plus, if you are too sore, then it makes it that much harder to motivate yourself to come back.
Myself and my team are here to help you. Please reach out to me to set up a session to work out in a smart way or even join our small group