So now that you’ve been working out at home for two months, it’s likely going to be time to shift gears soon and get back to the gym. Many places around the country are slowly beginning the process of gradual re-opening of businesses such as nail salons, barber shops, retail stores, and even restaurants and bars. Gyms and fitness centers will be opening in many parts of the country soon.
So what do you do next? Well, the first thing to remember is that you don’t have to go to your gym right away even if it re-opens. Most Americans (64% by one survey), at least initially, feel that the re-opening of these businesses is premature. So you don’t have to go, it just may be an option to do so.
What do you do if your gym opens and you want to go but you’re unsure if it’s safe? Try to check it out first. Call the gym and see what procedures they’ll follow for social distancing, for sanitation, and try to get a sense of what protocols they’ll have in place to keep you, the gym customer, safe. Or go back and check it out personally when it re-opens. If you feel uncomfortable with what’s going on, leave. If your gym does a great job with safety procedures and you feel confident that you can work out with reasonable precautions, then you might want to give it a try.
When you start back to actually work out, keep in mind that you’ve been training at home—or at least we hope you’ve been training--on a different workout. Unless you have a fully equipped home gym with hundreds of pounds of weights, you’ve probably altered your workout from whatever was normal for you in terms of exercises and weights. So don’t just jump back in to using heavy weights when you get back to your gym, ease in gradually to prevent injury. Just because a commercial gym has thousands of pounds of weights doesn’t mean you have to try to lift them all. If you were bench pressing 300 pounds prior to the stay-at-home orders but you only had 100 pounds to work with at home, start out with lighter pundages. This mostly applies to strength athletes such as powerlifters, football players, high-level bodybuilders and any other serious users of heavy weights. Many of you bodybuilders may have still continued to make gains even with lighter home workouts, which was probably a pleasant surprise. For all dedicated exercisers who go back to the gym, eventually you’ll fiind you can do what you were doing before and maybe more. It will be a welcome thing to get back to working out the way you really want to. And you may have used some diffeent exercises out of necessity in your home workouts that you want to carry over back into your gym work. Maybe you can incorporate a bit of cross training into your revamped gym workout. Or you can even workout a few days at your gym and still workout a couple of days a week at home. This is the time to be adaptable and search for productive change.
Be Ready To Pivot: Back Home Again
Nobody is sure how this re-opening is all going to work. In some ways, it’s an experiment with a certain amount of risk. Should there be new outrbreaks of the coronavirus even in small areas, your gym may have to close again. So be forewarned. You’ve had a couple of months to work out at home, so we hope in that time you’ve been able to develop a home workout setup that in the future can at least insure that you’re able to keep working out should gyms close again. We realize it’s difficult for many in apartments or with small houses or other confined living spaces to have the luxury of being able to devote a room, basement or garage to a home gym, but if you’re a serious trainer, try to see what you can do. Even a small space—a portion of a room, a corner of the basement, one side of the garage—something even less than ten feet by ten feet, can accommodate some type of equipment. Dumbbells are compact. Resistance bands, too. And you can always plan to have your equipment removable, so you can shove it to the side of a room, under a bed, or into a closet. Be creative. Be resourceful. Enlist the aid of your spouse and even kids in this if you can. Even if they don’t exercise, get their support. It’ll make for better family harmony. You’ll be glad you planned to have your home gym as a fallback should you need it.
But the hope is that the re-opening will go well, that you can return to your gym and work out safely and productively. After all, it’s what you do.
Greg Sushinsky is a natural bodybuilder who has trained for several years. He is a professional writer who has written extensively about bodybuilding, with numerous training articles appearing in Musclemag International, Ironman magazine, Reps! and others.Greg continues to train hard and enthusiastically. He strives to maintain a lean, proportionate physique, write and publish on bodybuilding, and continues to do and pursue many writing and publishing projects in his other areas of interest. He continues to advise and consult with bodybuilders, athletes and fitness people. Read Complete Bio.