Here in Arkansas and across the border in Oklahoma, we are among the lucky ones getting somewhat back to normal. Gyms reopened earlier this month with some rules on physical distancing while there, cleaning up after yourself (which should happen anyway) and limits on how many people can be in the gym at one time. For many of us, we tried to stay in shape at home, running through our neighborhood, lifting what we can but sometimes things get in the way. It could be work schedule, kids/family, lack of equipment, know-how or simply just lost motivation. In my mind, this was me over the break:
Ignore the great face I'm making
I was a long way from that before COVID-19, and with the long break I’m even farther from that now.
Good news, we are finally back. And for a lot of us, we are not in gym shape anymore (myself included). But that’s ok, we just have to be smart about what we are doing.
The most important thing, don’t go crazy. Give your body time to adapt again. You will get back in shape, just give it time. One of the most important aspects is to improve your aerobic capacity. The American Council on Exercise has a great article on this process, but for a much simpler way to do it, follow this guide from Runners World.
Recovery. Initially, it will take you longer to recover when getting back in the gym. There is nothing wrong with that. Take the time your body needs. If you are used to hitting it hard 5 days a week, jumping back into that may be a little rough. If you need an extra day or two take it. If something is bothering, or a muscle group is really sore, lay off from it or scale back. You aren’t going to hurt your “gains”. Honestly, listening to your body, and taking needed rest days will help you get back in shape faster.
The last big piece to focus on is your diet. The one we all hate to mess with. I posted a while ago about how to eat at home. Well it still is important now. Focusing your diet on whole foods is always best when possible. If any of you have been paying attention to the news lately or been to the grocery there are some food shortages. So it is going to force you to be a little more creative about how you’re eating at home. You can still find most things you need, but you may be limited on how much you can buy or the prices you pay may be more. This would be a great time to start exploring other dietary options. Things like adding more fish to your diet, increasing the amount of vegetables on your plate at each meal. It also might mean exploring some of the great dining options in our city like Clean Cookin’, The Fort Nutrition, Chaffee Nutrition, and Greenwood Nutrition Den. All offer great food options without breaking the bank, allowing yourself to supplement your diet and simply make your life easier. I personally keep a couple of Clean Cookin’ meals in my freezer at work for a quick lunch and occasionally stop by the nutrition shops for a great tasting smoothie.
With all of that said, get back to the gym. Enjoy yourself. Just don’t go overboard. For more fitness fundamentals, check out my earlier blog here.