Gyms opened to the public again just yesterday. There are hoards of fitness fanatics and people who just want to work off that extra lockdown weight and they are itching to get back in there. But what if you’re suffering from ‘gym-timidation’ and are nervous about going back? We’ve partnered with NOCCO UK and Barebells UK to bring you expert advice on how to ease your way back in and become the healthier, fitter version of yourself.
FAISAL ABDALLA: Top London personal trainer and author of The PMA Method
- What is your why? That’s at the core of everything. Why are you doing this? Not because you want a six pack, not because you want to lose a stone – WHY do you want those things. Dig deep, drop the barriers and be honest with yourself. Visualise that why every time you’re close to giving up. Remember why you want this and get hungry for it.
- Don’t be afraid of weaknesses. If you’ve lost certain strengths or you’re not good at something like running or flexibility, that’s exactly what you should be focusing on if you want to improve in all areas. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and turn those weaknesses into strengths.
- Trust the process. Nothing happens overnight. Just because you don’t see the changes straight away, it doesn’t mean they aren’t being made. Use your PMA as motivation to get on the right path and use your commitment to keep you on that path and see it through till the end.
- Here’s some tough love. At the end of the day, nobody can do this for you. Coaches and friends can motivate you as much as possible but YOU are the one that needs to put the work in, you’re the one that needs to be honest and stick to eating well, you’re the one that needs to stay positive and believe in yourself. Take responsibility for yourself and really own it!
- Don’t be scared. “Gymtimidation” is normal. We’ve all had it. Those first steps are the hardest so be proud of yourself for taking them. You don’t need to be the strongest or the fastest straight away, you just need to be brave enough to take those first steps to becoming a better you.
GORKA MARQUEZ: Strictly Come Dancing sensation and Spanish dancer and choreographer.
- Don’t compare yourself to your pre-lockdown fitness level. Even if you’ve worked out at home, remember that you’ve had months off the gym and will need to rebuild your strength and stamina in specific areas.
- Avoid injury by taking breaks from the gym every couple of days. Development will be progressive and you don’t want to jump straight back into a full and intense routine.
- Start with sessions of no more than 45-60 minutes and go back to the basics. In your first sessions back you should use light weights in order to regain that all-important muscle memory of the movements.
- Exercise in sets. Try to keep exercises in sets of 3-4 between 10-12 reps, as they will help you start to build muscle and joint strength.
- Warm ups. It’s important to make time for a warm up and stretch pre and post workout. Our bodies need to get that mobility and flexibility back to avoid any pain and injuries.
- Organised structure. Have an organised structure to help you avoid any kind of workout overload.
DR FRANKIE JACKSON SPENCE: NHS Doctor and F45 top London boutique gym studio trainer.
1. Keep sanitiser on you. Make sure that you use hand sanitiser in between using different pieces of equipment. You don’t have to go crazy using it between each set, but before moving to the next new station.
2. Be patient. Don’t get frustrated with the gym staff if there are longer waits for equipment or limits on classes. It’s important all the equipment is disinfected regularly and class sizes must be limited to maintain social distancing.
3. Start slowly. Prevent injury by not trying to jump straight back into your pre-lockdown gym routine. You should consider reducing the weights and building strength back up again, the duration, frequency and intensity of your sessions