Five things to do when gyms reopen

The days are getting longer, the weather isn’t as cold and there finally seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 3:05 pm
Jamie Wilkinson

The days are getting longer, the weather isn’t as cold and there finally seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel.

Whether you are a seasoned gym veteran or a complete beginner, here are five things you should implement to make sure you stay safe, stick at it and get the best results possible.

1. All pain, no gain: The gyms have been closed for nearly 4 months now and we are all super keen and excited to get back and hit the gym as often as we can. Start slow, take rest days and let your body get up to speed with the demand you are going to put it through. If you go too hard, too soon you will find yourself injured, fed up and demotivated when you are so fatigued you aren’t seeing any progress. I can’t stress this enough!

Rome wasn’t built in a day! Take your rest days or alternate weights training and cardio focused sessions.

2. Choose your path then do the math: Most gym goers will have one main goal in mind when it comes to exercise. ‘Fat loss’ or ‘muscle gain’ where many of us would love to do both, outside of complete gym beginners this is very difficult to achieve. Assess your current situation, make a decision on which goal is the most important to you and then dedicate a 6 to 8 week phase focusing on getting the best results possible with your goal in mind. Whichever your goal, the calories you consume will play a massive role when it comes to success or distress. If fat loss is your goal and you eat too many calories, it doesn’t matter how many times you hit the gym, you won’t lose weight. If muscle gain is your game remember, muscle doesn’t grow out of nothing and you will need to add enough fuel to let the body recover and grow.

There are a wealth of online calorie calculators (I have a free one on my website) that will give you a great guideline to exactly how many calories you should be eating. Find one, enter your details, stick to your recommended allowance and the results will follow.

3. Planning for progress : Getting to the gym can sometimes be the hardest part! However if you want the best results possible, hopping around which ever random machines are available won’t cut it. Not sure what to do? Get a plan! There are a plethora of resources online, whether it’s men’s health, a website or a plan you have seen on Instagram, getting great results in the gym needs two things. Consistency and effort.

Which ever plan you choose to follow try and see it out for at least 3 weeks. Keep a training diary and aim to beat your previous efforts (that’s where the effort comes into play) I promise if you follow the same plan, and try your best to improve your weights and reps, you will be well onto your way for a better physique.

4. Strength in numbers: Need that extra push to get you to the gym floor? Group training is getting more and more popular, but why? When you train with like minded people who share the same goals, you group together, share interests and it makes the whole process more enjoyable. You’ll not just want to go to the gym for the results but for the friendships and the others there who will keep you accountable. I’ve been running ladies only and male only classes for over two years now. The structure is fantastic that allows everyone no matter their gym experience an environment to train, progress and have great craic with others.

If joining a group session is a little intimidating for you, you could look at recruiting a buddy to accompany you, or book a block of personal training sessions which you will then have to commit to attend.

5. Enjoy your exercise, results are just a bonus: People who say they hate exercise is the equivalent of someone saying they hate television because the only show they have ever seen is Love Island. Like TV, exercise has many genres, weights training, circuits, CrossFit, spin, the list goes on. My advice is keep trying different training styles and exercise classes until you find one you fall in love with. You don’t need to be feeling nauseous at the thought of burpees or soaking with spin class sweat, it could be something as simple as dancing in a class or a short 30mins weights program. The best exercise you can ever choose is the one you enjoy doing.