Readjusting to The Gym

With Workshop London set to reopen its doors on August 15th, we spoke to some of our expert trainers for their advice on how to ease yourself back into a regular routine. So, whether your lockdown life has involved daily workouts, or you’ve not touched a treadmill since March, we’re here to help you get back to your best safely and confidently.

Callum Repper, Workshop Physiotherapist and Senior Performance Specialist

On managing your expectations… Everyone will feel differently when heading back to the gym. Some people will be very excited and will want to go all guns blazing, whereas others may feel anxious after being out of the environment for quite some time. There is no right or wrong way to feel about your return to the gym.

On establishing a clear goal… Prioritise your training accordingly. If you work with a trainer, have this conversation on day one!

On building up gradually… Varying your training intensity, with easy, medium, and hard training days. Incorporating at least 1-2 rest and recovery days a week is also crucial. Remember as the saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day.

On allowing your body to adapt… Start with the basics: maximise sleep and ensure good nutrition (especially ensure adequate protein consumption to assist with muscle recovery). If you are really feeling the muscle soreness from your first few sessions, consider prioritising some extra foam rolling and mobility work.

Daryl Richards, Workshop Senior Performance Specialist

On starting slowly… Reduce normal training volume by around 20-30% for the first 3-4 weeks. If you usually do 6 exercises then start with 4, if you do 3-4 work sets start with 2-3 and so on. Ease your body back into resistance training and don’t ask too much too soon!

On warming up properly… Spend plenty of time warming up, including mobility work for the hips (rotation especially) and upper spine (thoracic). After a lot more sitting down in lockdown these areas may have become a little less mobile, so a good warm up will help you regain mobility and lessen your chances of getting injuries.

On building strength in the right areas… Place additional focus on training and strengthening your posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, lower and upper back). These muscles may have lost some strength during lockdown and getting them strong first will help mitigate injury risk as you begin to train again.

Lee Mullins, Founder of Workshop Gymnasium

On being disheartened… When you return to the gym, you’ll almost certainly experience a strength drop-off, but don’t get discouraged as it's to be expected after a hiatus. On a positive note, the time it takes to regain that strength will be nowhere near the time it took to develop it in the first place, so you should get back on track soon enough.

On combatting muscle soreness… It’s bound to hit you harder after a break, so the best way to combat it and keep your training on track is to introduce BCAAs around your sessions, whether it’s before, during or afterwards. That way you can keep up your training frequency without too much compromise.