GRAND RAPIDS, mich — Now that gyms are open, you’re probably eager to jump right back into your usual routine, but fitness experts warn about doing too much, too fast.
After months of doing what she could at home and the outdoor workouts with her gym in Grand Rapids, Lindsay O'Donnell is ready to be back.
“I'm really excited to have a routine again," she said.
But, if you’re not like O’Donnell and you've skipped working out since the Pandemic began, Tom Sullivan, Co-Owner and Coach at 616 Fit said it’s best to pump the brakes.
“Whatever you were doing before COVID, back before March, if you've taken time off, you are not going to have that back right away, it's going to take time to earn that back," he said.
As hard as that may be to accept, Sullivan said easing back in is the best way to avoid injury.
He said, “If we are overloading muscle tissue and the joint is not ready for it, or we overdo it, we put extra stress on the joints. It's going to turn into potentially tendonitis, other joint related issues, hopefully no muscle tears or joint or tendon tears."
Injuries equal setbacks, so modify your workouts at first.
Sullivan said, “Lower rep count, less weight for weight training, if you're doing cardio start with a shorter distance, maybe some intervals if you are running, run less walk a little more."
He also recommends focusing on nutrition and rest to help you get back on track.
“Avoid the processed stuff, avoid the quick and easy stuff, try to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, fresh fruit fruits and vegetables. That stuff is going to make you feel better. Also, making sure that you're getting protein after a workout, so your body can recover."
Since masks are mandatory while working out, take some time to get used to that too.
“Best thing you can do is breathe through your nose. It's going to help you down-regulate your heart rate and your breathing anyway, but it's really hard to get your mask stuck to your nose.It seems like the disposable, the lighter weight, the paper masks tend to be a little bit better," Sullivan said.
As O’Donnell points out, half the battle will be getting to the gym at all.
“Just show up, you can modify anything," she said.
For that reason, it’s important to cut yourself from slack.
Sullivan said, “You can't beat yourself up. If your mile time is slower or you can't run a full mile anymore, that's OK.”