There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Gyms and fitness centers in Manitoba are now allowed to re-open while meeting certain COVID19 restrictions.

How does that make you feel?

For some, there is relief and perhaps excitement. If the gym was part of your regular routine before, you might look forward to getting back at it.

For some, maybe you thought there was no point in trying to work out without being able to use the gym equipment or maybe it wouldn’t be too long a break so it didn’t really matter for a little while. But now it’s been a couple of months and you might be worried about what it will take to start again, or that you need to exercise extra hard to make up for the weeks of inactivity.

In either case, and even if you did stay active with a home exercise routine, there is a need to reintegrate wisely.

There are memes online that show images of people in pain and hobbling around while referencing “First day back and it’s leg day!” which are amusing, but should also be cautionary. If it’s been a while since you lifted with barbells or anything heavier than a light dumbbell, set yourself up for success by going a bit easier and reestablishing the basics. You can not and should not try to make up 10 weeks in the first 5 days!

Being a bit sore may be inevitable because doing a bunch of reps with or without additional weight is something our bodies might not be conditioned to as well anymore but working out hard in order to feel sore should not be the goal. Progress is.

Soreness is not really a good indicator of an effective workout anyway.

Whether we get to return to the gym in a week or two, for now focus on how well you perform the 6 basic human movement patterns:

Squat

Hip Hinge (called Deadlift)

Lunge

Push

Pull

Carry

and sometimes we can include a 7th, Rotation.

These movements call on large amounts of muscle so they make for efficient training and they mimic the activities we do outside the gym. It is worth the time and effort to make sure we are proficient at these movements before we load them up and do dozens and dozens of them. Adding intensity and volume to poor movement patterns can lead to poor results and possible overuse injuries.

Because these movements allow heavier weights to be used it is a good idea to go lighter than what you ended with before the break. Take a few weeks to work back up. Patience is a virtue here!

If you feel you need to take a bit more preparation before getting back in the gym, going through a small circuit of some of these movements is a good way to get in practice and ease you into an exercise habit that you can build on.

Two or three days per week, doing 2-4 rounds of 5-10 reps of some squats, push-ups, weighted row, and walking 50-100′ wearing or holding a backpack for a weighted carry can be a good starting point. More isn’t always better, better is better so make sure you are moving correctly.

Here are some video demos that show how to perform these movements to get you started.

Squat https://youtu.be/CMiSGAp4M5I

or to a bench/chair https://youtu.be/6LujPRi6CbI

Hip Hinge/Deadlift https://youtu.be/6hi9_gT0yvM

Push-Ups https://youtu.be/Ul89Cxz-cwg

Pull/Row https://youtu.be/LQEb3nqS7eE

Lunge (with or without weight) https://youtu.be/mGNWDTaT934

These are movements one would expect to do around the house anyway. We sit, we stand, we get down and up again, we push away and pull toward, and carry stuff around the house. We just want to be better at them. If you have a pre-existing injury, make sure you see a doctor as these are general recommendations and not for anyone specifically.

Evidence shows that being fit and strong helps us resist or at least recover better from sickness. If it’s been a while or you just need to get started, do it smart; start simple and get consistent first. You can always build from there. Fitness is a lifetime practice and while it may take a little longer than we wish, it still needs us to take some action first.

If you are not sure how to get yourself back in the habit, consider the benefit of a coach. Our coaches are very experienced at helping people start or re-start moving better (like with the above movements) and working out effectively toward their goals.

Schedule a No Sweat Intro with a coach, it’s a free consult to learn more about what your goals are and to help you come up with a plan to reach them! Let us help you do it right, right from the start!