How To Transition Back To The Gym
Updated: Oct 4, 2020
Blog - jwhealthfitness.com - If like me you are super excited to be back at the gym, you probably want to go in and train as hard as possible to make up for lost time. Well, this is not a good idea! Even though it's exciting, it's important to ease yourself back. Read these pointers before you plan on heading to the gym.
Have a plan!
Whatever workout or training plan you have been following, it's time to create a new one! Regardless of the intensity you have been training, heading back to the gym adds new and unfamiliar stress to your body. Here are some tips that can help you create an optimal training plan.
Push / Legs / Pull Split
Following a push, legs and pull training split allows you to work each muscle in your body at a higher frequency whilst providing adequate rest.
Choose 5 exercises per session
Your body most likely won't be used to training at high levels of load or volume, choosing 5 exercises allows your body time to adapt to a new stimulus.
Here's an example of the exercises I recommend for the push / legs / pull split mentioned above:
Incline Barbell Press
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Tricep Dips or Extensions
Dumbbell Side Raises
Seated Leg Curls
Leg Press Calf Raises
Hanging Ab Raises
Barbell Bentover Rows
Dumbbell Single Arm Rows
Underhand Grip Pulldowns
Seated Dumbbell Curls
NOTE: Follow the same exercises for at least ONE mesocycle (4-6 weeks).
Start with low volume
Allowing your body time to ease into more strenuous exercise, not only provides your body with time to adapt, but adequate rest to recover and improve. I have always been an advocate of periodisation. Not only have studies provided significant evidence towards periodising your training, but I also have seen my best personal improvement whilst utilising it.
Start off by performing a maximum of 8-10 sets per muscle group for week one. That works out to be around 2 sets per exercise.
Note: Remember this is working sets and does not include warm-up sets. Perform as many warm-up sets as needed.
Each week depending on recovery and judgement of how you are feeling, slowly increase your volume per muscle group. Once you have reached the end of your mesocycle, be sure to deload in preparation for the next mesocycle of training. Here is a suggestion of how to periodise your training volume over a mesocycle:
Week 1 - 10 sets per muscle
Week 2 - 12 sets per muscle
Week 3 - 14 sets per muscle
Week 4 - 16 sets per muscle
Week 5 - 18 sets per muscle
Week 6 - DELOAD 8 sets per muscle
COVID is still around, come prepared!
As exciting as it is to be finally heading back to the gym and training again, you must not forget that COVID-19 is still around and affecting the population. The hot and humid climate of the gym makes it a highly optimal condition for the virus to spread. So come prepared! Here is what I recommend you do:
Bring as little as possible with you.
You don't want to have to leave clothing and items around the gym.
Take a bottle of hand sanitiser with you.
Gyms are required to have hand cleaning stations and wipes, but it doesn't hurt to bring your own.
Have a squirt water bottle.
Use a water bottle where you do not have to use your hands to screw off the lid or pull the nozzle.
Keep your distance
Make sure to follow guidelines and stay at least 1m apart from other members. I recommend increasing this to 2m due to the sweat and droplets coming from those training.
Wipe down equipment before and after use
Use the wipes to clean the equipment before using and after using. Use your hand sanitizer to clean your hands in-between.
Clean everything after training
Wipe your phone, car and anything you have touched whilst walking back into your home. Make sure to jump in the shower as soon as possible and even wash your clothing after every use.
This all sounds like a lot of hassle, but it will make you feel better and will also keep you as safe as possible.
These tips will help you prepare for transitioning back into training at the gym. Above all else, if you do not feel comfortable training back at the gym, don't. Your health is the number one priority, if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, take precautions and stay at home.
Ultimate Back To Gym Workout Plan
A back to training workout plan will be available to purchase the end of July.
12-week periodised training plan
Exercise plan for each session
Sets, reps, rest time & exercise tempo
Nutrition calculator for each week
Suggested macronutrients targets
If you would like more specific training and nutrition, head over to the online personal training section of the website or click this link.
Thanks for reading!