Gyms will reopen in the UK on 25 July – and we can’t wait.
Things might not look exactly how we remember them, but we just can’t wait to be back in the routine of classes and weight sessions, and to have access to all that brilliant equipment.
Many of us have been doing what we can to stay fit and strong during lockdown with living room workouts, body weight exercises, and cardio through running and cycling – but nothing quite compares to a workout in the gym.
But it is vital to make sure your body is ready for the demands of the gym – and to not go in too hard, too quickly. Because that could lead to serious, long-lasting injuries.
We asked Lee Bell, a fitness expert and Blue Fuel ambassador, to come up with some simple tips for a safe and gentle return to the gym.
Lee says it is incredibly important to start slow and steady. You probably haven’t lifted any big weights for months, so don’t expect to just pick up where you left off.
Ease yourself in gently
‘You might be really enthusiastic about getting back into pumping iron after a long time off, but you’re only going to do yourself harm if you go all in too hard, too fast,’ says Lee. He says this is the easiest way to cause injury.
‘For weight training, try limiting yourself to three days a week for the first fortnight to give all of your tissues time to adapt to the higher-than-normal load you’re placing on them.’
Don’t skip the warm-up
‘If you’ve neglected the weight rack for some time because your usual sporting activity has been cancelled due to lockdown, put an even greater emphasis than normal on your warm-up,’ suggests Lee.
‘Your body is going to need it more than ever because when you haven’t been exercising, you lose muscle mass, which leaves you more susceptible to leg and back injuries.’
Lee says you should do small but effective body weight exercises before you hit the free weights.
‘Lunges, hip raises, plank rotations, moves like this will get that synovial fluid flowing in the joints and grease up the engine before you properly put it through its paces.’
Retain regular training commitments
‘If you’ve decided to get back into weight training after a long period of inactivity or to help train for getting back into team sports, try to stick to a regular workout schedule,’ says Lee.
He says one tip to help you sick to a schedule is to pick a workout time that suits you.
‘It is not only good for building a habit, but it will also help with performance as well as keep injuries at bay.’
Don’t forget flexibility
‘While it might feel amazing to get those endorphins firing with impressive Olympic lifting, try adding some flexibility exercises to your muscle-building endeavours,’ says Lee.
Lee adds that flexibility is often overlooked in fitness, but it can help the body better adjust to the demands of a workout.
‘Try yoga,’ says Lee. ‘It’s an excellent way to not only increase flexibility but improve mobility around the big muscle groups you’re hitting regularly in the gym saving you a possible injury while improving overall body posture.’
Nutrition: keep yourself properly fuelled
If you’ve not worked out properly for a while, you will need to make sure that you are properly fuelled before, during and after your training session.
‘Aim for a dose of simple carbohydrates right before starting your weight session alongside plenty of water with added electrolytes to sip throughout the workout and replenish anything you lose through sweating, followed by a high-protein supplement right after,’ adds Lee.
‘Nutrition is personal to each individual, so it’s important that you’re fuelling your body the way it needs to be fuelled, and this is where Blue Fuel can help.’
Keep workouts varied
‘Repetitive load is one of the easiest ways to injure yourself, especially after a period of inactivity,’ says Lee.
‘Try balancing your weight training with some (dare I say) cardio and mobility exercise to ensure workouts are varied.
‘This will minimise stress and your body will respond better.’
For example, if you used to do 45 minutes of free weights every day, try warming up and down on the treadmill or exercise for five minutes before and after, suggests Lee.
‘The key is to keep your pulse racing, even if just for a minute.’
Have proper rests and recovery
Lee says rest is a crucial part of any fitness regime, and shouldn’t be neglected. Particularly after extended time off.
‘Recovery is not just something performance athletes should take seriously,’ he explains.
‘Everyone should try to give their bodies plenty of opportunity for regular rest and recovery. Burnout is possible whatever level you’re training at, especially after a long period of inactivity.
‘Sleep is the best recovery you can get, so aim for seven-eight hours every night.’
Do you have a story or a fitness tip to share? We want to hear from you.
Get in touch: [email protected]
Source: Read Full Article