Are you just as excited as we are that gyms and studios are re-opening their doors? If so, have you thought about how your body will respond after such a long break from routine?

Muscle strength and conditioning reduce after long periods of inactivity or reduction in intensity of exercise. Deconditioning (how quickly you lose your fitness) depends on how fit you were to begin with. Generally, the less active you are the quicker you will decondition. A person with a higher level of fitness will decondition at a slower rate than someone that is new to exercise, but everyone will decondition after a long break

Let’s look at it from a week to week perspective. In the first 2 weeks of inactivity you start to reduce the efficiency of your cardio-respiratory system. When running or cycling you will require more effort to complete the same distance or to maintain the same pace you were achieving a few weeks prior.

By 2-3 weeks your body starts to lose muscle strength and muscle mass because they are not being regularly stimulated by high loads. This means that you may not tolerate the same training loads as you were before isolation. By 2-3 months of reduced training loads, you would have lost a lot of the muscle gains you had when you were training consistently. You might notice a change in body shape or weight loss from a reduction in muscle mass. But don’t worry, having built your strength before, it will be easy to build it back again.

When gyms come back, we have to consider that the muscles may be less efficient at taking and transferring load. To avoid overloading or injury, you should consider:

  • Consider reducing your weights or distances you choose to start with
    • Reduce weights by 30% (40kg squat would reduce to 25kg)
    • Or consider reducing the number of repetitions or sets you complete
  • Gradually build weights back up over 4-6 weeks

This same principle can be used for aerobic exercises or group classes:

  • Consider adding a rest day between sessions to allow time for muscle recovery after training
  • OR alternate upper limb and lower limb sessions to spread the training load better.

The aim is to slowly build back up number of repetitions/sets, weights and number of training days in the week to avoid injury from overloading.

If you would like more advice with how to manage your return to the gym specifically feel free to book an appointment online or call 94812348.

We wish you all a safe return to the gym!