Getting back into the gym post-pandemic

It’s been a while since we’ve seen you all in person, Pack. We had no idea that when we closed our doors in March it would be until now that we’re able to start welcoming you back with open-ish arms.

While we begin to phase into small classes this week, please take a minute to revisit our reopening guidelines and familiarize yourself with the protocols we’ve put into place to be able to reopen safely, with the health of you top of mind.

Here are some tips from Coach Kyle, as we begin entering back into a modified class routine.

You’ve spent a lot of time in your PJs haven’t you…?

It’s been a few months since we closed everything down and in that time many things likely changed in your daily routine. The impacts of those changes may be super obvious, barely noticeable or about to hit you much harder than you expect.

The super obvious things may be how tight your neck is from staring at (now) slightly offset dual monitors, how much your knee is bothering you from all the running you’ve been doing lately or the quarantine fifteen you’ve become increasing aware of in the last few weeks. On the other hand maybe you’ve been killing it during lockdown and feeling better than ever. Either way the obvious things are obvious, I won’t spend any more time telling you what you already know.

The barely noticeable issues may take a little thinking to notice or a little activity to suss out. A lot of our aches and pains, movement dysfunctions and orthopedic time bombs come from the positions we are in on a regular basis or how often we take all our joints through a full range of motion. A little hip tightness on one side because you sit a little crooked in your home work station chair may limit your squat PR or may be the harbinger of a future low back sprain. The fact that you aren’t moving your ankles through a full range of motion for one reason or another may have implications for your knee or hip in the future. These things may be hard to notice or have no actual symptoms in the here and now. We’ll get back to these in a bit.

No matter how you feel since the lock down its very likely your exercise type, intensity, duration, frequency, etc. have changed. Adaptation drives fitness but it only drives it in the direction the aforementioned characteristics dictate. You may have taken to running quite nicely, you may have become a bodyweight ninja or a cardio queen. Whatever happened it is very likely you’re a different athlete than you were in February and your first workout back in the gym may hit you harder than you anticipate because it’s not what you’re adapted to.  

So what does this mean?

If it pleases the crown, may I go to the gym again…?

So as we return to some version of normal again here are a few things worth prioritizing:

Be patient with yourself. It’s only been a few months and it won’t take too long before you’re snatching like a champ again. Just get into the gym and be OK with where you are. You might not have lost much or you may feel like you’re starting over. No matter where you are just be assured you’ll get back to where you were if you stay consistent and don’t let yourself get discouraged. Sometimes “setbacks” like this are just what you need to make progress.

Go light at first, especially in WODs. No one would find it odd for your 1RMs to be lower and that will come back with consistency and effort but if you haven’t had a barbell in your hands for a few months, especially under time demand, definitely go light on barbell movements in a WOD. You don’t need your first time back to the barbell to bury you, or tweak your back.

Ask a coach to keep an eye on you. At best you’ve been working out with no eyes on you, it’s worth knowing if you’ve developed any bad habits in the meantime. It’s also possible your right shoulder is now tighter than your left, or your hips are a little crooked from sitting weird. These are the things that can become much worse down the road but can be identified before they become a real problem. Just talk to your coach and ask them to watch you and if they can suggest anything you might need to correct or work on.

Bottom line: you’ll be fine. Just take it slow.