Our advice for a successful return to the gym
For many of us, the gyms being closed has meant time away from resistance exercise altogether. Now the gyms across the UK have reopened, it's time to head back after 4 (long) months. Taking a break from the gym can reap soreness on our muscles, especially if you have chosen not to take your workouts outside of the gym during lockdown. To help you make the most out of your return to the gym, we've compiled some tips to help you transition back into training.
Embrace the changes.
The gym will no doubt have new rules and time restrictions, this means the environment may seem different and your old routine may need to change. Try your best not to worry about what you did before, remember consistency is key and start to build a new routine. Get to the gym, warm up, spend extra time on mobility and activation, and try your best to complete a session. This is a big milestone.
Don't make comparisons.
Do not compare yourself to pre-lockdown you. You're not expected to lift a PB on your first day back. Nobody will expect you to be at your fittest.
Manage your training variables: volume, intensity and rest. Try to leave at least 48 hours between sessions, lower your weight and aim for 10-15 reps with a focus on your form rather than your load. It's inevitable that you will have lost strength in the break, so consider starting at about 60% of your previous loads, leave a few reps in reserve and have slightly longer rest periods between your sets. Your first 2-4 weeks back should be about reintroducing your body to training.
Rest and recover.
Training is all about stimulus, recovery and adaptation, the harder you push the longer it will take to recover. Some soreness will be natural but get plenty of rest, good sleep and allow recovery days. Respect the little niggles, your tissue is adapting and getting used to new stimulus. If areas are particularly sore, try and allow it time to recuperate, use it as an opportunity to work on other areas or try something new.
Nutrition is pivotal.
Fuelling your workouts is important for energy production, muscle growth and repair, and overall recovery. Choosing the correct nutrition can go a long way.
Good Green Vitality provides a solid foundation for your workout. Without taking in high levels of essential nutrients your body cannot reach its peak potential. With over 75 ingredients designed with each body system in mind, one serving a day can ensure your muscles are getting enough nutrients to repair and grow after training (it's not just all about protein), your energy levels are maintained ready for working out. The vitamins and minerals found in Good Green Vitality work together to promote a healthy immune system, strong bones and joints, and a quicker recovery rate - so you can get through the first few tough sessions back at the gym.
Consuming adequate carbohydrates before and after your workout is crucial. 2-3 hours before your workout ensure you consume low glycemic index foods to allow a slow absorption of 'fuel'. If you happen to be short on time, turn to carbohydrates with a high glycemic index for rapid digestion. You should also look to consume high glycemic food after your workout in order to promote glycogen synthesis and refuel your muscles.
It is well known that consuming protein soon after your workout session is helpful to kickstart the process of repair and recovery. A protein supplement that provides 20g of protein has been shown to maximise protein re-synthesis following exercise. Clean Lean Protein is complete with all 9 essential amino acids and boasts 20g of protein (dependent on flavour), making it a perfect protein supplement.
You may be tempted to consume less calories in order to 'get into shape', but it's important that we don't let this affect our performance, immunity and overall health. Try to maintain your calorie intake and eat a balanced diet.
Finally, your sweat levels will no doubt increase now you're exercising again, so be sure to rehydrate with plenty of fluids throughout, and after, your workout to prevent a drop in performance, maintain your body's core temperature and ensure nutrients are efficiently transported around the body. You can never have too many shakers - our Nuzest shakers are great for your fluids throughout your session, and for making a shake after.
The national lockdown has been a challenge for many of us, this is a small step back to a time with people, doing something that we love. So enjoy it!