Returning to the gym after a long break is super hard!!! I hadn’t been to the gym since 2019 and 6 months ago I returned. Honestly, I wasted a lot of time during those first 4 months. I wasn’t pushing myself, I didn’t have a firm workout plan, I missed a ton of time, and I didn’t adjust my diet properly.
Keep reading to find out my best tips for returning to the gym:
**Disclosure: I am not a professional. These are just my tips based on my own experiences. Honestly, I do recommend seeing a personal trainer in the beginning if you’ve been away from the gym for too long or are brand new.
Work Out Plan
Coming up with a workout plan is super important. For the first 4 months I went with this routine:
- Monday: Legs using the free weights/smith machines (squats, hip thrusts, calf raises, Romanian deadlifts, etc) and abs.
- Tuesday: Arms & Upper body using the weight machines, and cardio.
- Wednesday: Rest Day
- Thursday: Legs using the weight machines, abs, and cardio.
- Friday: Arms and upper body with free weights/smith machines (chest press, bicep curls, pull-ups, dips, dumbbell exercises, ect.).
- Saturday: Rest day
- Sunday: Rest day.
Now I’m doing Pull, Push, and Legs. I’m finding this routine works best for me as I’m noticing more results, and I feel more motivated.
If you haven’t heard about this method, it’s super simple:
- Day 1: Pull: cable rows, lat pull downs, bicep curl, hammer curl, cable face pull, shoulder shrugs, reverse pec dec, etc. This basically will work your back and biceps.
- Day 2: Push: Shoulder press, chest press, dips, later shoulder raises, chest press machine, overhead tricep extension. This basically will work your chest, triceps, and shoulders.
- Day 3: Legs: squats, Romanian deadlifts, hip thrusts, leg presses, leg curls, leg extensions, calf raises, forward lunges, hack squats, etc. This obviously works your legs and glutes.
- Day 4: Rest
There is multiple work out routines, and I strongly recommend researching them to figure out which one works best for you and will help you reach your goals.
Cardio is important. I run for 10 min after my workout. If you’re looking to lose weight I have heard it’s best to do your cardio before you work out, but if you’re looking to increase muscle strength you should do it after. I’m not an expert, this is just what I have heard and what has worked for me.
Stretching is so overlooked and as I age I’m. seeing how much it helps me. I don’t stretch before or directly after the gym. I will do light stretching between reps. I do a 30 min stretching at home 3-4 times a day. YouTube has amazing videos for you to follow. I like the ones before bedtime as I can drink a chamomile tea while getting my body ready for a good sleep.
Your body is going to be in major repair for the first 2 months. GET SOME SLEEP!!!! mediate before you go to sleep, do light stretching, have a chamomile tea, run a hot bubble bath, turn off your electronics, and make your bed super soft and inviting.
You are going to be in a world of hurt for the first little while until your muscle memory returns. Lots of bubble baths! Make sure you have a heating pad, and ice packs on hand.
Reminders for Returning to the Gym
- Trying to limit talking on the phone
- Try not to sit on machines scrolling on your phone for too long. Most of us do this between reps, but I’ve seen people sit for 30 min, that’s not fair to whomever is waiting to use the machine.
- Keep Selfies/Videos to a minimum. People are very vulnerable at the gym and they don’t want to be on your social media or on your YouTube channel.
- Wipe down machines before and after you use them (you can’t trust people!) and then throw the paper towel in the garbage. Don’t leave it In the cupholders, please.
- Put weights back to where they belong.
- No Judging: you have no idea what the other person is going through. They could be new, they could be recovering from an injury, or they may have to adjust an exercise to accommodate their height or weight. It’s none of your business and the deserve a smile for just being there.
Please do not feel you need to be wearing the best of the best. Personally, I wear the exact same outfit every time. I work out from 5-6am so I don’t have the mental capacity to pick an outfit. I wear a pair of leggings, an oversized tank top, a sports bra, and a zip-up hoodie. When it’s super cold I wear sweats because leggings are not smart to wear in -20 degrees.
Wear what’s comfortable!
What to bring
I did an article about that so instead of repeating myself click here.
If you have any tips, tricks, or absolute must-have’s for returning to the gym I would LOVE to hear about them in the comment section!