How Do I Get Back Into a Gym Routine?

For most of us in Massachusetts, it’s like these last few months have thrown our routines into some kind of crazy Stephen King spin-dryer and then dumped them out onto a moving floor.

Go ahead, try and fold us.

Now, as gyms begin to reopen–first for outdoor classes, now for 1-1 training, and soon for indoor group sessions–we begin to consider what our workout routines are going to look like once we get them going again.

How much is going to change?
Am I going to get the same results?
Is it going to feel like starting over again?

But while it’s certainly going to be challenging–change always is–we have a few tips that should help you navigate your return to the gym with aplomb and success:

1. Embrace the appointment. Google ten articles on fitness done right and nine of them will mention treating your workouts like appointments. Put them in the calendar, set reminders, don’t cancel five minutes beforehand, etc. Here’s the great news in that regard–this is now just how it’s going to be. You’ll have to sign up for your training sessions in advance so gyms can track attendance. You’ll likely be given options that stretch your sessions across the week so that you have an easier time keeping consistent. The self-calendaring and followthrough that can trip so many of us up is now going to be externalized and done for you: a slot with a few other folks at a particular time, a reminder in your email, a check mark when you’re done. You just have to show up.

2. Keep It Simple, Sunshine. Because many gyms may have to radically change their operational model to accommodate CDC and state requirements, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself restricted in some spatial and logistical ways that you aren’t used to. Here again, I think we can see this in a positive light: so many of our members tell us in their introductory consultation that they want to work hard, they want to have fun, and most of all, that they want someone to tell them exactly what to do. Decision fatigue is real, and for so many of us, the gym can amplify that feeling of too much choice, not enough direction. Cultivate a mindset that looks at newly limited space, equipment, and menu items as a chance to keep it simple, focus, and do three or four things really, really well during your workout.

3. Practice Kindness. Start with yourself. You are not going to feel the way you did in March before the workouts stopped. It’s going to take a while. And that’s okay. That’s pretty normal, in fact. it doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. Even if you’ve been working out like a fiend on your own, getting back into a gym setting with others is a different animal. Some of that is physical, and some of that is psychological. It’s going to take some time. Be gentle with yourself, remind yourself that none of us had playbooks for The Perfect Shutdown, and just keep showing up. And while we’re at it, give grace to others around you as well–we’re all still scared, stressed, and unsure of how this is going to play out, but we’re going to keep doing our best.

There’s more, but that’s a good start. Remember that perfection is the enemy of progress. We want to be consistent, healthy, and happy, and that means bending with this new air rather than remaining too stiff in its breeze. We’ll all get through this, and we’ll keep practicing strength, fitness, and health.

If we can be of help, reach out. We’re always happy to talk!

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