GOING BACK TO THE GYM
During Covid 19, if you are allowed to return to the public gym here are a few tips to get you jump started in the right direction
By John Destacamento, December 15th, 2020
GOING BACK TO THE GYM
It is December of 2020, Covid 19 has deeply affected most of us including our exercise routines. Perhaps it has been more than several months since you have hit the gym, so it's better to take it slow. Before jumping back into a fitness regimen, prepare yourself properly to reduce the risk of injury.
It is obvious that everyone must continue to physical distance, wear masks and keep things free of contamination. Also I would assume people will want quick workouts and not spend too much time in the gym. So below I've included a simple routine. If you are not ready to visit the gym, you can perform this workout in the comfort of your own home using dumbbells and resistance bands.
UPDATE YOUR MEDICAL HISTORY
If it has been more than 6 months since you have lifted weights and feel uneasy about your physical condition, seek your physician’s advice. This is very important if you have experienced any recent injuries, on new medications or if you are pregnant.
Once you have clearance or have no physical limitations for exercises, personal trainers can assist you with your fitness assessment. You will be asked about your medical history, fitness goals and you are usually required to perform some simple exercises. The purpose of these exercises is to determine your starting points and what exercises are appropriate for you now and sometimes advised on what NOT to do.
GENERAL WARM UP
Remember, tension on cold muscles may increase your risk of injury. Warming up on a cardio machine or going outside for a brisk walk from 5 to 10 minutes will oxygenate your muscles. This prepares the muscles for moderate and strenuous exercise. Also, a cardio warm up allows your blood to circulate through out your nervous system, this mini adrenaline rush will help you get jump started into your routine.
SPECIFIC WARM UP
If you plan to resistance training you should include specific warm ups after your general warm up. This type of warm up is to focus on increasing range of motion (ROM) to the joints involved in the workout. For example, if you plan to do overhead presses or chest presses, arm circles and cross overs are ideal. They are passive exercises with no load of weights. Coaches refer this to active and dynamic stretching.
Static stretches should not be performed prior to resistance training but highly recommend after resistance training and/or cardio exercise. Your muscles and tendons are similar to rubber bands, they do not stretch too freely when they are cold. Educate yourself with a little bit of anatomy so you know the proper way to stretch a particular muscle. Consult a personal trainer (if any) and ask them to show you techniques that are best for you.
Demo of simple Muscle Specific Warm Up
After your general warm up, here is a simple muscle specific warm up routine. This is just a demo so be sure to spend more time on each limb.
Arm Circles both directions
Arm cross overs
Torso Twists, hips be involved in the twist.
Leg swings: forward to back
Leg swings: lateral
Walking toe touches
START WITH EASY BASICS
If you are strength training, start with either bodyweight or the most easiest machine weights with some dumbbells for equipment. Begin with the larger upperbody muscles first and finish with a simple leg exercise.
1. Incline Dumbbell Chest Press
2. Lat Pull Down
3. Bent Over DB Rows
4. Scaptions Shoulder Raise
5. Body Weight Squats
Stick with basic compound movements, no need to turn on beast mode at this time.
For first few workouts, avoid plyometrics and jumping exercises.
Incline Chest Press - Chest
Video: Kristin Pampeyan, UCSB, Gym: SVHF
Lat Pull Down - Back
Video: Kiara Gesensway, BSN
Bent Over DB Rows - Lats
Video: Kristin Pampeyan
Front Raise Scaptions - Shoulders
Video: Kristin Pampeyan
Squats - Legs
DON'T OVER DO IT!
Most people feel pumped when they return, but if you over do it you may regret how you may feel the next few days. It's important to know when to quit. Discontinue your exercising if you experience any dizziness or a substantial decline of energy. It's important to get back into your routine slowly as you increase the intensity gradually day by day. Overtraining your body may lead to strains, injury or severe soreness. This also hinders your body to heal and leads to a longer recovery period. One of the most common mistakes is not letting the muscle completely recover before exerting them again.
Your nutrition should be adjusted to support the activity change in your routine. Remember your activity level has just increased substantially. The average individual consumes approximately 1500 to 2500 (male), 1200 to 1800 (female) of calories per day assuming this person has not began to exercise. Whether your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle, I would suggest increasing your caloric intake about 10% to 25% for the first two weeks or properly use supplements. As your body adjusts to the extra weekly activity, you can slowly decrease or increase caloric intake to accommodate your specific goal.
START WITH TWO WORKOUTS PER WEEK
If you're making a comeback most likely endurance and stamina is not where it use to be. You are probably not ready to workout frequently such as 4 to 6 times per week, not just yet. You should start with two to three workouts per week with a rest day in between workout days. Increase the frequency after the 2nd week if desired. Give your body extra time to recover from fatigue.