Getting Back To Getting Gains
Gyms are open across the country, which means two things:
- We can all (safely!) get back to the work outs we knew and loved before the pandemic
- My neighbors don’t have to hear my kettle bell every morning at 6am (sorry, David)
The problems people like you may be coming across as you get back to your regularly scheduled exercise is perhaps an obvious one, but it bears repeating:
When you stop working out, you are less fit than when you were working out.
It’s exciting to go back to the gym, to hit the treadmill again, or to see our favorite instructors at spin classes.
But what happens when our trip down Memory Lane leaves us thinking we should be able to perform as well as we were doing in the past?
In short: we tend to overtrain. We do more than our body can handle. And as Active.com points out, it can have some pretty serious consequences:
- Decreased heart rate
- Decreased performance
- … and even decreased strength
(Oh, the irony of going to work out and ending up weaker than before.)
So how can we go about getting back in shape without ending up in worse shape than before?
How To Start Working Out When You Already Know How To Work Out
If you already have a past as a gym rat, a runner, or some other kind of athlete, your reentry to the gym is actually more complicated than someone just starting out.
Sure, the newbie has to learn how to use the equipment, the techniques, and how to look cool in front of the mirror, but it’s likely they’ll progress more naturally and without too many setbacks.
You, my friend, are burdened with the knowledge of how awesome you were.
So before you slap on your favorite singlet, here are a few tips to think about before you start working the weight racks again:
A Beginner’s Mind - Think about your past self as where you’re getting back to, not where you are. Be kind to yourself and build back to what you were doing. Even if you were purely focused on cardio or lifting, you might try a blend of strength training, toning, and cardio to get your whole body used to regular training again.
Chart A Plan - Overdoing it can happen just when you’re feeling good and getting back in the flow, so consider creating a plan that maps out your gradual return to intensity over the first two to five weeks.
Warm Up - It’s not just for runners! Warm-ups, in particular dynamic ones, are ideal for upper body strength and power, too, and should be done for at least 5-10 minutes before your workout.
- Keep Your Eye On The Prize - Though you shouldn’t rush back to where you were, that doesn’t mean you can’t aim for those goals again. They are called gains, after all! And there’s nothing like a physical reminder of your achievements, so consider the IRLA Strength Training Pack as a way to set both specific goals and consistent ones.
Most of all, be patient. Consistent effort over a long period will get you closer to the goals (and gains) you want.
Now we’d love to hear how you’re approaching your own training and exercise. What helps you stay consistent and motivated?