As gyms in Massachusetts prepare to reopen for group training, pending the Governor’s order, we want to welcome you back with virtual open arms. It has been a while!
Whether you’re coming back to Woodshed (or starting up new here!) or another favorite gym, we want to help with three basic guidelines to making the most of your first month back. We’re looking to keep things simple here–your gym time should make the rest of your day a little bit easier and a little bit better, not send you out to sea on the S.S. Confusion:
1. Work at a moderate intensity and effort over the first month back. The operating principle here is specificity. While many of us have been working out over the shutdown, it’s unlikely we have been doing exactly what we were doing before March. The temptation to jump right back in where you left off is real; we want to make up for these last three months in the first workout, but remember that this is a long game. Just as a triathalete who hadn’t cycled in several months would want to build bike mileage back up slowly, we want begin at moderate intensity and nudge our efforts up slowly as our body adapts to being back at our routine.
2. Eat to support your activity. Restrictive dieting is a systemic stressor (and a big enough subject for a much longer post at another juncture). As you return to a gym routine, you will want to make sure you are eating and drinking enough of the right things to support the additional exercise. Here the metaphor we might use is someone pushing heavy snow across a driveway. At some point you are going to get stuck, and you will need the push at your back that sufficient nutrition and hydration provide. This is crucial.
3. Give yourself a break. We’ve said this in several different locations recently–give yourself a break as you get back into your routine. While the world around us has changed dramatically and it can feel like nothing will ever be as it was, certain basic principles abide. Show up. Work smart. Strive for consistency over perfection. Do enough of the right things often enough to maintain momentum. One bad day or workout doesn’t mean you have to start all over again. You just have to keep showing up.
As we wait to get back to our routines, keep these principles in mind. Deliberate reentry. Adequate fuel for your body. Consistency and grace for your spirit. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it!