Many of us, myself included, have avoided the gyms for over one and half years now. I didn’t notice much of a change in my fitness routine because I’m lucky, I have my own studio set-up. I know how to continue building muscle with tools including the TRX, Swiss and Bosu balls, resistance bands and barbells; exercise equipment that I’m lucky enough to own. Most of my clients continued to progress and build muscle over these COVID-19 times as well, with less equipment and space. But, now that so many of us have been double vaccinated, we are ready to hit the gym again! I got my first workout booked the first day the gyms finally opened and here’s how excited I was to get back:

My First Gym Workout Back at Fit 4 Less

I couldn’t believe how emotional I got, walking into my gym for the first time since March 2020. I was pumped, I knew exactly which machines I wanted to use, and in what order. The pull-up, back extension, inner/outer thigh, delt fly and hamstring machines were going to be the machines I’d start with. Then I’d head over to the cables, to perform the Lat Pulldowns, Woodchoppers and Face Pulls.

Here’s one of my favourite machine exercises I’ve noted above, the Delt Flies:

I had a terrific first workout back getting in all of the exercises in that I wanted to, and more! I didn’t stop for the full hour; it just flew by. I’ve never seen the gym look cleaner. Everyone was following the rules by wearing their masks and not getting too close, so I felt completely comfortable being there. If you’re feeling a bit nervous about going back to your gym, try following these safety tips.

Tips to Stay Healthy During Your First Time Back at the Gym

1. Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize

Although many clubs take care of facility and equipment cleaning overall, you should take control of your personal sanitizing. Use hand sanitizer in the car after putting on your mask and upon entering the building. Also use it after cleaning each machine you use. It also can’t hurt to sanitize all equipment with the sprays provided, before and directly after you use it.

Wash your fitness clothes after each use. This may seem obvious, but I’ve been guilty of getting 2 uses out of my fitness clothes before washing them in the past. Although this behaviour can prolong the life of the clothes, and lulu lemon clothing isn’t cheap, now’s not the time to try getting 2 uses. Wash your clothes after each workout.

2. Be a little easier on yourself.

If you haven’t lifted many weights or used many weight machines over this past one and a half years, go a little easier on yourself. Lift lighter weights than you would have been lifting back in March 2020. I found myself lifting a load that was 10-20% lighter during my first workout back at Fit 4 Less. It’s usually easier on your body to perform more repetitions of an exercise with a lighter weight when getting back into a routine versus trying to lift fewer reps with a heavy weight. You will probably feel your muscles burning for a couple of days after your first few gym workouts, but you shouldn’t be in tremendous pain. I noticed a bit more soreness than I’ve felt in a while in a lot of my back muscles after my first gym workout, thanks to the pull-up machine

3. Focus, but have fun.

Part of the fun of working out at a gym, is being around members in your community who like exercising too. Don’t bother bringing your phone to your first few workouts back, spend your break time catching up with a few of your gym friends instead. Since you probably haven’t used gym equipment in quite some time, pay close attention to your form. Watch yourself in the mirrors whenever possible. Make sure that your muscles that should be firing during an exercise, actually are.

To Sum it up…Make Your First Gym Workout Back, a Positive One

With so many of us being double vaccinated, we are ready to hit the gym after a one and a half year break! I couldn’t believe how excited I was for my first gym workout back. To make this workout a positive one, be sure to over-sanitize. Clean your hands, the equipment you use, and your workout clothes, constantly. Remember to give yourself a break, you may not be able to lift the same weight you we’re able to lift back in 2020. The goal should not be for you to be in a lot of pain after your first couple of workouts back at the gym. Since you probably haven’t used gym equipment for a while, pay close attention to your form and where you are feeling each exercise. Have fun during the first few workouts back at the gym. Enjoy socializing with your fellow gym friends during your breaks. Isn’t it great that life is finally starting to come back to some type of normalcy here in Ontario?!?