Post by Zach Bragg
It is common in my job to meet a lot of new people. When I first meet those people, I like to ask why they are coming to the gym. One of the first questions I ask is “what brings you in?” With the current situation of COVID, the answer I commonly get is something like “I’m getting back into it.” When people tell me this, it is my job to assess their “it.” Most commonly, they are talking about training. They say things like “Yeah man, I trained for a while but after quarantine, I just kind of fell off. I’m looking to get back into it” or “I had nothing to do but eat and drink, I tried home workouts but, I really just need to get back into it” or, my personal favorite, “I was a supermodel, bodybuilder, part-time trainer, crossfitter, ran track in high school, used to own a gym, but I just fell off. I’m looking to get back into it.”
You get the point.
This is great and all, but what I have to try and do is help clients realize that there is so much more to their “it.” than just showing up. If you are someone trying to “get back into it” here are five easy steps that will really help to keep you consistent.
1. START SLOW
You’re probably really excited to get back into the gym again and feel like you need to kill yourself day one in order to kick start. In reality, killing yourself in your first workout will only make you really sore and give you more of an excuse to not go in the next day. I recommend starting with lighter weights, maybe less reps, more rest, and of course, a proper program. Don’t spend hours in the gym. Set yourself up with 45-minute to an hour of really good quality strength training and mobility and then leave.
2. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
I say this one a lot to my clients, the reason being is because our body will tell us if something is wrong a lot sooner than when something actually goes wrong. For example, if you are just starting up again, two or three consecutive days in the gym may cause some soreness. (After all, you haven’t worked out in a while). The issue becomes when you’re feeling sore, tired, stressed, or maybe all three. Although training, for a lot of people, is a ‘stress relief’ mentally, it is still a stressor on our muscles and central nervous system. With that in mind, if you’re feeling this way, it may be better to take a rest day or just do an active recovery day, and then get right back to “it” after a good night’s sleep.
3. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Sleep gives your body enough time to recover, conserve energy, repair, and build muscle tissue. When you get enough good quality sleep, your body also will produce growth hormones. Here are a few tips for getting quality sleep:
- Create a consistent schedule – go to sleep and wake up the same time every day.
- Make sure you aren’t hungry or stuffed before you go to sleep.
- Make sure the room is dark and quiet.
- Stay away from electronics for at least an hour before bed.
Hydration is HUGE. Your cells, in order to work properly, need hydration. If not properly hydrated, they slow their function and therefore slow metabolism and energy. In fact, the moment you feel like you need water, you’re already behind and may be getting dehydrated. Don’t let your training go to waste by not keeping hydrated. If you don’t know how much water to drink, start by trying to drink half your body weight in ounces.
5. FOLLOW A BALANCED DIET
I bet you’re surprised this is number five on my list. In fact most people think that training and nutrition are the only two things needed to be healthy. While there is so much value to eating well, I always tell my clients to be balanced. The worst thing I see is people who go all out with a diet fad or some sort of really restrictive caloric deficit. They are able to stick with it for a week or two, and then they COMPLETELY fall off. I recommend starting by just cutting out things that are really causing problems. For example – dessert, alcohol during the week, not eating in the morning, binge eating at night, etc. Of course, you do want to make sure you get enough protein, carbs, and healthy fats. But you don’t need some really fancy diet to start to see a change. In fact, the more balanced you are with your choices the better off you will be in the long run.
There are a lot of factors that go into leading and starting a healthy lifestyle. And yes, it is hard work. But, it is worth it. I always recommend reaching out to a reputable coach to get started and they will be able to help lead you down the right path. Remember, “getting back into it” is great but STAYING in it is what will cause lasting and healthy results.