• Coping with Gym Anxiety After Lockdown

    13th March 2021
    It’s fair to say the past 12 months have been difficult, to say the least, with our mental and physical health taking a hit thanks to lockdown restrictions with the breakout of Covid-19.
    After months upon months of workout classes on Zoom, daily walks, stop and starting couch-to-5k and using tins, water bottles and other home-made weights for workouts, gyms will finally open their doors again this coming April.
    With social distancing measures in place, sanitation stations and cleaning gym equipment before and after use now common practice as part of our workout routines, the gym has become a safe space for us to work out without compromising our health or safety.
    And as much as we’ve missed the gyms, we know that for some there is a feeling of anxiety at returning to our sanctuaries. 
    After being away for so long, how do we deal with anxiety going back to the gym? Read on for tips on how to get back into a routine and what to expect.
    Start small
    Forget what you did before. Unless you’ve kept up the exact same intensity and volume at home as you did before lockdown (lucky you!) then you’ll want to build back into the same volume and intensity. Go back to some basics and don’t try running or lifting whatever your personal bests were pre-lockdown! 
    Start at about 40-60% effort of your pre lockdown numbers and stick to that for a week or 2 and see how you feel. In terms of exercise selection - think about what you have missed the most! This will give you something to look forward to.
    Give your body time to adapt to the new stimulus again - the DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) are going to be real! Stretching and getting blood flow to the muscles in the days after workouts is going to be key.
    Plan ahead
    Most gyms now have an app so you can check the number of people in your gym and if they are near capacity or not. Keeping an eye on the times for the first few days can help you gauge when might be a great time to go and ensure you can book a slot in advance to manage your anxiety and help keep everyone safe.
    If you’re joining a new gym then be sure to have an in house or virtual tour via their website so you have an idea of where things like; the changing rooms, water fountains, machines, studio etc are. This will make navigating a new environment much less daunting!
    Take the pressure off
    If you go and you don’t feel like lifting anything or if you think it’s too busy, just go home — don’t put any pressure on yourself to go straight back into your old routine. Eventually, you’ll be back to your pre lockdown routine and habits, so just have a bit of patience and keep trying little bits at a time.
    If you make it to the door of the gym, you have won. You have achieved that goal. If you do a workout too, even better!
    Try and make it as enjoyable as possible, the more you enjoy it the less anxious you’ll feel next time you go.
    Think of whatever makes you enjoy the gym more: setting goals, listening to podcasts/music, or doing your favourite lifts again, just try to have a little bit of fun in the gym when you go back.
    Sky Elizabeth @sky.elizabeth.coaching
    Head Coach & Nutritionist - Our Soci.eaty
    Mac Nutrition Certified Nutritionist

    The author of this article/blog/ is a qualified Level 3 Personal Trainer. Further detail regarding the author can be found via the website or social media handle listed above.


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