It is with great anticipation & excitement that gyms and indoor exercise facilities are set to reopen this weekend. Many of you may have questions about "How do i return to the gym safely" and "Do we have any top tips for getting back to the gym"
At GHN we always want to raise the bar for our customers & followers so we have been following the recent guidelines and have partnered up with members of our sponsored athlete team and a guest fitness professional who all work in gyms across the country. Together we have some useful tips to pass on and make your transition from outdoor exercise into indoor exercise easier & safer.
We also have nutrition kitchen 'Chef Mani' who gives us some professional advice on getting back on your nutrition.
GHN have put 3 questions across to our health & fitness professionals -
- How have you found lockdown overall and what has been your biggest challenge to maintain or improve your fitness?
- How have you managed to keep yourself and others motivated during Covid?
- What are your 3 top trainer tips to people returning to gym life?
Here's what they had to say -
John Tamas - Personal Trainer
- So far the lockdown has been quite challenging. The first few weeks were fine just to be able to focus on other things in my life but soon I started to miss the routine and the people that I normally interact with. The biggest challenge fitness wise was probably the limited equipment and not being able to train at the same intensity as I normally do. Also I think being in a gym with likeminded people that have the same goal and work just as hard is a big motivating factor and I didn’t have that so I had to find the motivation to train sometimes which hasn’t happened to me in the last few years.
- I think despite of the lockdown, I was lucky enough to keep in contact with my clients and gym members through social media. I was teaching free online classes as well as posting a lot more frequently, trying to inspire people to stay active and giving them a few options for their home training routines.
- Take your time - many people will have missed lifting heavy weights and they will overdo it.
- Hire a good PT - this is what they are trained to do and you will be helping their business re-start.
- Manage your expectations - many of us depending on what we’ve been doing during lockdown will have lost a bit of strength and that’s fine, just expect for this to happen and start building again.
Victoria Adams - Personal Trainer
- Overall I have found lockdown absolutely fine. As my life is a 100 miles an hour with personal training and managing the studio, whilst raising a family and my own training I embraced the slower pace of life. And have been grateful for the quality time with my family. Initially my challenges were how I was going to maintain my strength and muscle mass but that soon passed and I focused on what I could do as i knew the gym closure would be short term and I would soon enough regain my strength. So I focused on workouts with what equipment I had and really focused back on my running, hill sprints and really hard bodyweight hiit workouts. And as a result of this I really improved my fitness levels over the last 4 months.
- To be honest I am so motivated all the time as it's my lifestyle. I love the feeling of any kind of training session so the lockdown would not allow me to stop. I kept to a routine everyday of a run in the morning and then a strength based or bodyweight workout in the evening. I kept my clients motivated by training plans and kept in touch with them to see how they were mentally and physically. The family I kept motivated with daily walks and a family workout every other day and good nutrition.
- Ease yourself back in and you will quickly regain due to muscle memory. Don't go back in your first week and except to be the same level as you were 4 months ago.
- Don't be too hard on yourself. You may of gained weight. Your nutrition out of the window. And lost fitness and strength. But it's ok its been a tough 4 months for many. Just reset your goals and get back into a routine.
- Its ok to feel anxious going back. Most people will be feeling the same and getting used to a new way in the gym.
Paul Levick - Kickboxing Instructor
- I found lockdown was good time to reflect on a few things, a chance to slow everything down and have time to think take stock of life in general. I managed to get a small set up of dumbbells and and a bench in the garage and managed to do some basic workouts. I also did daily walks with the family to get a bit of cardio in as well.
- I struggled at times with motivation, because I was not in the usual routine, but social media helped motivate me at times, watching other people smash their home workouts, gave me motivation to do the same.
- Ease yourself back slowly. Don’t go straight back and try to carry on where you left off 4 months ago! The last thing you want now is an injury!
- Get your nutrition back on track, I for one have struggled with sticking to a diet during the lockdown, but now we are stepping up the training, it’s time to get the nutrients in to help aid recovery.
- Get back into a routine. I feel I make the most improvements when training, nutrition and recovery is on point.
Stick to this and you will be back on track in no time!
Jo Prosser - Online Trainer
- Lockdown has been very challenging mentally with so much restriction and uncertainty plus being a parent and a fitness coach all goals and events that had been planned were cancelled and home schooling was also challenging keeping positive and busy was absolutely key to survival and growth.
- I have used social Media daily with regular contact with friends and clients, I have offered lots of inspiration, support, advice, hope and plenty of humor to get us all through it sane and put some new practise and business ideas on place for the future.
- You MUST look after your mental and physical health you must surround yourself with positive people and make sure you workout, do your bodyweight training and your yoga/stretch workouts to help with your general wellbeing plus food is key!
- Clean nutritious food will keep your immune system strong and will naturally be able to fight off infection and illness without your health you have nothing so make it a priority in your life everyday no matter what.
- Start back to the gym gently and reduce your weights by 30-40% if necessary focus on quality technique and have a structured plan on place to ensure you don't overtrain in the 1st and 2nd week. Enjoy your freedom,be happy and be safe!
Beth Hanson - Guest Fitness Professional
- I have turned a negative into a positive. Although, like many, I have missed the gym and the facilities I'm used to using, it has enabled me to explore different training methods and focus on things I previously had not had the time dedicate much attention or time to, such as stretching.
- I can definitely feel the benefits of this now that lockdown is easing and I am planning to keep it up, as it is a very important area of fitness that we neglect sometimes. Additionally, I have tried new things, such as yoga, dance and pilates, which was a challenge for me personally but I have really enjoyed!
- Most importantly, I have kept in mind my goals and the bigger picture every day. The time would pass anyway so I knew I needed to keep chipping away so as not to lose my progress. I did this by making sure that I had structure to my day. This, for me, was training in the morning after breakfast each day.
- Don't jump straight back into the intensity you were training with before lockdown. If you've had time away from training, or still been training but using lighter weights, for example 10kg dumbbell chest press for reps as opposed to the 25kg dumbbell chest press PB you hitting before lockdown, you will be much more likely to injure yourself now using that 25kg weight.
- Ease yourself back in slowly and work back up to the intensity/weight you were using before, by planning and giving your sessions structure. Another thing would be, you will most likely be sore from DOMS the first few weeks you're back in the gym, so avoid over-training and focus on your recovery too, for example stretching and foam rolling.
- How to improve fitness in a short space of time - I would say that this really comes down to dedication and keeping your training and diet 100% on track consistently. The more consistent you are, the quicker you're going to get results. Obviously there are variables depending on what your specific goal is, but regardless, consistency is key.
Chef Mani - From The Nutrition Kitchen
Is it really such a daunting thought, to be able to enjoy healthy food as much, or even more so than your favourite naughty takeaways?
If you look at it plain and simple then the answer is no. Fats, oils and sugars etc, are not needed to make, easy, world class tasting and nutritious meals. There is no use being intimidated by making your own meals or using a prep company to get the desired nutrition along with outstanding flavours, there’s benefits to both.
If you’re making them from home then you will most likely save a few pennies and you’ll know exactly what’s going into your home made prep meals. You can get creative by using thousands of different combinations with plenty of choice of herbs and sauces. If you are using sauces then I highly recommend making them from scratch and cutting out any preservatives, fats and any other bad ingredients that come in a lot of pre made sauces, for example, you can buy some curry paste and add it to some coconut milk to make a perfect curry, feel free to season it to taste and add some fresh veg of your choice.
When it comes to prep meal companies, if you know where to look then the benefits can be outstanding. The most beneficial thing to most people, is time. You can save plenty of time using prep companies and potentially, you can have the most nutritious and delicious meals ready to just heat and eat, depending on who you go with to make them for you.
Having an experienced chef, or even better a team of experienced chefs that care what goes into your meals is a big plus. You can have the best of both worlds by having delectable flavour and nutrition all wrapped into one. Fresh is always best, so if you go with a prep company then don’t be shy to ask to collect your meals in small quantities on separate days to keep your meals as fresh as possible.
If you’re ordering to have prep meals delivered then you may have to freeze some if you want to save money. As a whole, eating healthy is very rewarding to your body and is also known to be very important to mental health too. There is plenty of information on the web about eating healthy, looking at it as simply as possible is the best way NOT to get put off by the word “healthy”.
Enjoy your food and don’t settle for bland or boring and don’t rely on unhealthy ingredients for the best flavours. You deserve the best, so go get it.
If you would like to know more about what we do at Chef Mani’s nutrition kitchen then simply search “Chef Mani” on Facebook or you can find us on Instagram @chefmaninutrition.