Specialist studios, public pools, gyms and the dreaded spin class have all been legally back for less than a fortnight. In hindsight, it is wild to believe that these doors were actually barred and locked for the grand total of 20 weeks in the UK. Within this weird and wonderful time, my love affair with barre blossomed and I thankfully discovered the elation that running continues to bring me. While I did manage to swim a couple times in the Salford Quays basin during lockdown, I was ultimately aching for the familiar stench of chlorine to singe my nose once more.
Upon the announcement of gyms, studios and pools reopening on July 25, I was naturally both excited and nervous. Getting back into the water was a daunting prospect. I was totally sure I had forgotten everything and would be flapping around in an unstylish doggy paddle. Fortunately, my Virgin Active gym made returning seamless and it turns out my ability to swim hadn’t totally deserted me. While I am far from where I was before lockdown, I am just extremely grateful to get swimming again.
If you are still apprehensive about returning to the gym or starting from scratch at the pool, then here are some tips to make your transition from home to class easier.
1 – Familiarise yourself with your gym’s restrictions.
Every gym and swim institution will be dealing with COVID-19 completely differently. My Haus of exercise has implemented: a one-way system around the gym; a limitation of in-use lockers; a restriction on water fountains; a maximum number of people in the pool; a closure of steam room and sauna facilities and also a guest number monitoring system. The best way to feel safe before heading out is to check out your gym/pool’s new rules either online or via reception. Knowledge is power. If you are prepared to learn then your transition into the ‘new normal’ will be seamless and easy.
2 – Don’t be disheartened with your lack of progress
If you were lifting heavy before lockdown, the chances are you may not be able to manage the same weight now. 20 weeks has past since you were allowed in the gym, so naturally progress may have been on the backburner. If this is the case then remember: you were there before so you can be there again.
Take your first couple of sessions easy and lighter than you were previously used to. Get a feel for your body now and match your programme to it. You may have been swimming for an hour everyday pre-lockdown, but post-lockdown you may be physically exhausted after only 30 minutes. Don’t be disheartened – use this as a starting point to build. The only way is up, baby.
If you are wanting to start/get back into swimming, here is a blog post on my 5 ways to get into swimming.
3 – Online classes can translate to real-life classes
As I said earlier, I fell in love with barre during lockdown. However, online yoga classes from BLOK and Psychle have also kept me grounded and sane. While both of these churches of exercise are too far for me to commute, I have just booked my first yoga class at my own Virgin Active gym.
Prior to lockdown, I would never have booked a yoga class due to imposter syndrome and feelings of “I’m not good enough”. Now however, I am translating my love for online classes into a real-life setting. I know it will be a challenge; but interacting with a real-life yoga teacher rather than through Zoom is the driving force. Find what you love and run with it.
Every gym, pool and studio has designed their COVID-19 proceeders and precautions with you in mind. They want you to firmly grab those endorphins with both hands; enjoy your time with them and ultimately keep you safe. If you are nervous about getting back into the pool or lifting weights at the gym then contact your establishment – they are on hand to help you. Happy exercising!