With restrictions easing and some gyms now open, many people are excited to start lifting weights and working towards their health goals. It is important to remember though with time off your body needs time to adjust. This is key whether or not you are a regular gym goer or a first timer.
Try and keep the following tips in mind when heading back into the gym.
1. Start slow
The first time back in the gym isn’t the time to try and hit new PBs! Although it’s tempting to try and push your body, try and pace yourself. It’s easy to feel like you need to make up for lost time, but the most important thing you can do is ease yourself back in. When re-establishing your workout routine, aim for 2-3 sessions per week to begin with whilst you re-adjust.
2. Consistency is key
Most research supports maintaining gym routines for 6-8 weeks before changing exercises. This period allows for physiological adaptations to occur within the body. When structuring your program, group body parts together. Try and aim for 2 exercises targeted at bigger muscle groups (such as your glutes) and 1 exercise for smaller muscle groups. If that sounds complicated, try and pick compound exercises that work out multiple muscles at once, i.e. squats, lunges, push-ups etc.
When changing exercises aim to alter one thing at a time. Pick either your reps, sets or weights to adjust first within your program.
3. Prioritise your recovery time
Take time to perform a warm-up and cool down. A warm-up should aim to hit 70-80% of your max heart rate, lasting between 5-10 minutes. Your cool down should be done at a slower and lower intensity to your main workout.
Within elite sport, adequate post exercise nutrition, hydration and sleep are pillars of muscle growth and performance. A good rule of thumb to follow is eating a source of carbohydrates 1-4 hours before exercise and protein within an hour of your workout ending. Keep drinking water throughout your day and aim for 8 hours of sleep.
We hope these tips will help ease you back into exercises!
Emily is currently in her final year of completing a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Monash University. She became interested in Physiotherapy during her time as a competitive trampolinist. Emily is a keen traveler and happy to have a chat with everyone passing through the clinic.
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