Transitioning from home to gym – Everything you need to know
With the end of lockdown in sight and the reopening of gyms around the corner there is plenty to look forward to. We are all very excited to have you back. In the meantime, here are some helpful tips on how to prepare for your comeback and what to expect upon return.
Evaluate where you are at
Now is a good time to reflect on where you are currently at. During lockdown a lot of our usual routines have changed, and we quickly develop new regimes and habits. Some of these habits may be beneficial and healthy, whilst others may lead us away from our goals. Take the time to evaluate your recent habits and pay particular attention to how they may affect, your sleep, activity levels, nutrition and recovery. For example, I have realised I’ve been getting more hours of uninterrupted sleep however my diet has been much more inconsistent.
How to prepare
Returning to the gym is likely to increase your activity levels and or the intensity of your training which in turn results in more physical stress on the body. In order to benefit from the training, you must be able to recover effectively.
Sleep reports have shown on average UK citizen have changed their sleep patterns by 1-2 hours during lockdown. If you find your sleeping times have changed its worth considering if it is maintainable or will it have to change again after lockdown. The time it takes to reset or manipulate your sleep schedule will vary from person to person, but studies suggest making adjustments of 15 minutes every 2 to 3 days. Why is this so important? Well imagine it like jet lag, if your body is adjusting to a new sleep schedule, new routine and new physical demands you simply won’t be able to perform as optimally. However, you can use this time to regulate your sleep so when the time comes all you need to focus on is training.
This is also the case for diet, lockdown creates an environment that can make it harder to manage cravings and control consumption. You may not see the result of these changes straight away but an increase in training is likely to amplify the effects of what you are putting into your body. A good place to start is the types of foods, increasing the amount of whole unprocessed foods from quality sources will increase the nutrients needed to meet the demands of exercise.
Don’t wait to work out
One area we recommend for everyone to work on is mobility, this is a great avenue to explore whilst you are still at home as it requires little to no equipment and can have tremendous improvements on your posture and movements which is especially relevant if you are working in fixed positions all day. Mobility training is a perfect starting point for people if they have taken time off as it is low impact and helps to connect your mind to your muscles creating stronger lifts and better movement quality. If you want to know more about mobility check out our article ‘Tools and techniques to achieve better mobility‘.
We also have a range of follow along Mobility classes on Youtube.
Resistance training at home. Whilst CoActive Health gym was created as an optimal training environment it is not your only option. One of the keys to success in our programs is the variance in reps, intensity, tempo, weight, resistance, time, grip and technique. You may be limited with the weight you have but manipulating the other variables can still create progression. If you are working with a light weight slowing the tempo down or adding pauses will require more strength whilst using the same weight. You can also take it the other way and speed up your reps, for a metabolic conditioning approach, time how many reps you can do in a minute. Try changing the type of resistance, bodyweight movements often require balance and great core control and when performed correctly they can elicit great gains. If you want more guidance join the CoActive Classes Monday, Wednesday and Saturday to see how we put these principles into action.
What to expect
Patience is key. Your body is constantly changing depending on the environment you are placed in; it is important to accept where it is currently at before imposing physical demand. In other words, during your first session notice how you feel when performing your lifts at a low intensity then notice how you feel post workout. We can often get away with training hard in the first session but it’s the next couple that knock you down. It’s much better to dial up the intensity session by session than immediately push to a breaking point and be forced to take more time off. Don’t get discouraged if you are not able to lift as heavy, the work you put in before lockdown is not wasted because the neurological pathways and muscle recruitment patterns you established are still there. This means you will be able to get back to where you were a lot sooner than it first took you to get there. It is what’s known as muscle memory and according to some studies it can last for 15 years! Instead of focusing on weight bring your attention to your range of motion and movement quality, take a longer warm up and stick to the set tempo. For this reason, we encourage returning to a structural balance program when you have taken some time off as it’s full of correctional exercises that prepare you for bigger lifts.
To summarise – evaluate where you are at now, adjust your sleeping and eating habits, accordingly, prioritise mobility, be patient with your strength and take it one session at a time. I truly believe these actionable steps will allow you to make a smooth transition and take you above and beyond your expectations. The CoActive Health Team and I look forward to seeing you soon.
If you have have any questions or would like to book in for a complimentary discovery call, get in touch using the form below.
- Burgess HJ, Molina TA. Home Lighting Before Usual Bedtime Impacts Circadian Timing: A Field Study. Photochemistry and Photobiology. 2014.
- Duffy. How The UK Is Sleeping Under Lockdown. Health Protection Research Unit. 2021.
- Gunderson. Muscle memory and a new cellular model for muscle atrophy and hypertrophy. Department of Biosciences. 2016