Things To Think About When Returning To The Gym

Most gyms in England are opening up again so I thought I’d share some tips and things for you to think about before you go back after a 4 month + hiatus!

Personally I’m not going back just yet, I don’t have a membership at any gym at home because I usually come home and work as a fitness instructor over summer and therefore don’t have to pay a membership but use the gym around the classes I’m teaching, however I don’t feel right as staff going in to use the gym for free when there’s limited slots for members etc. I also cancelled my membership for the gym I go to in Leicester, and although I do miss that style of training, I probably won’t go back to gyms this year, unless it’s a one off. I’ve been loving training at home, I have a small selection of weights which is enough to make me work and I’m happy with that, along with my fitness classes as well!

That being said, I do have some tips and things to think about if you are going back!

HAVE A PLAN

I definitely used to be guilty of heading into the gym and making it up as I go along. But it also meant I spent a lot of time faffing about and just wandering aimlessly while I thought of what to do next – that usually happened on days when I didn’t really want to be there. Now that there’s a strict time limit and you need to get in and out and get your workout in as efficiently as possible, it’s a really good time to start following an actual plan. It might be busy though and if equipment you need is being used, you need to think about what you can do instead and effectively have a plan B for each exercise.

Photo by Mark Bertulfo on Unsplash

EASE YOURSELF BACK IN

This is so important!! Especially if you’ve not been lifting any weights at home, don’t go back to the gym and try and use the same weights you did before lockdown. I don’t want to be a Negative Nelly, but it’s not gonna happen! Ease yourself in slowly and build that strength back up gradually – you’ll be there in no time. If you try and dive straight back in to where you left off, you’re going to put yourself at serious risk for injury, especially if you’ve not been as active during lockdown.

Photo by John Arano on Unsplash

DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP

Everyone’s going to be posting their gym sessions all over Instagram, so try not to fall into the comparison trap. It’s hard not to do it automatically, but focus on your own progress and how you feel about your training rather than wondering how it compares to someone else that you follow. Everyone is at different stages of their fitness journey, and everyone has been doing different amounts/varieties of training over the last few months and that’s going to affect your gym performance. Celebrate your own victories, and be proud of yourself for going back to the gym! Also don’t beat yourself up if your first session isn’t amazing and you don’t feel as strong/fit/lean as you used to once you’re there. Completely normal but you will get it back!

DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF

Kind of already covered this one but just wanted to reiterate. Be kind to yourself! Also don’t even compare yourself to your pre-lockdown self. Think of it as starting fresh, wipe the slate clean and make new personal bests to beat.

Photo by ŞULE MAKAROĞLU on Unsplash

NO RUSH

Remember there is NO RUSH to go back! If you’re not ready yet, that’s totally cool. If you’re loving home workouts, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t stick with them a while longer. Or forever. Personally I am loving home workouts and will definitely be something I take out of lockdown with me. But I also understand why people are ready to get back to the squat rack! On the other hand, home workouts can be extremely effective and a great way to train.

HAVE FUN

The gym shouldn’t be a chore, of course it’s going to feel like that at times but if you’re not at least a little bit excited to go back then don’t. Find another form of exercise that you actually enjoy and makes you feel good!


If you need any help with planning a gym session or programme for yourself, hit me up! You can drop me an email laurenholliefitness@gmail.com or send me a message on Instagram or Twitter. I’m a Level 3 Personal Trainer and would love to help you reach your goals! Even if you just have a question about training or the gym or anything big or small, I’d love to chat with you.

Not ready to go back to the gym but want to do something? Check out my online classes

Let me know what your thoughts are about going back to the gym, if you’re already back, if you’re going this week or if you’re holding off a bit longer. If you’ve already been when you’re reading this, let me know how it was!

L x

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33 Comments

  1. Great tips! Personally, I would prefer to work out at home coz it’s still not safe out 🤧 good point as well on body comparison. ♡

    1. I think if you’re enjoying working out at home and that works for you then there’s no need to rush back!

  2. Love this! I also have no intention to run back to the gym straight away. In my gym you have to pre-book the equipment you are going to use which I guess is pretty good because you need to make a plan before you go and it will also mean all the equipment you are wanting to use will be free (which I always used to find so annoying when I had a plan and then none of the machines I needed were available). But I”ve been enjoying working out from home so I might wait for the mad rush back to finish before I think about going back!

    1. Oh that’s such a good idea I hadn’t heard of that happening yet! Equipment not being available was the no. 1 reason I didn’t like the gym!

  3. I think these are some great things to think about, especially making sure you ease yourself back in and understand that progress takes time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting Eleanor!

  4. Easing yourself back into it is a great tip. I’m not a gym go-er myself (I usually run, dance or do some sort of at home yoga/strength workout) but for people that are looking to head back to the gym it’s so important to remember that you probably won’t have the same level of strength that you had pre-lockdown. But that’s okay! It’s all about gradually building yourself back up 🙂 x

    https://www.femaleoriginal.com

    1. Exactly, well said! I’m also a run/dance/yoga/strength at home gal so I’m hoping I’ve managed to stay on top of everything with those!

  5. As someone who you probably won’t find in a gym I’m not used to them pre-lockdown let alone post! But it’s clear that going to the gym amongst other things has to be considered differently now there are rules in place. This is a handy guide for those who are doing it – or alternatively they could just stay at home and crack on with one of your classes instead 😉

    1. Haha the gym isn’t for everyone and that’s ok too, it’s not the only way to keep healthy! and well said, of course there’s my classes too 😉

  6. Couldn’t have said it better myself! I’m sure there’s been a fair amount of people injuring themselves on weight machines because they get too eager

    1. I dread to think honestly!

  7. Thanks for the post – it’s a lovely way to remind people that we should focus on our own goals and not compare to other gym goers – especially as we are all feeling that lockdown might have made us less physically fit.

    I haven’t got another membership currently, and can’t do any cardio other than swimming – so will be looking to get a membership somewhere with a pool soon so that I can try and recover from injury!

    1. Well said! Wishing you a speedy recovery and hope you can get into a pool soon!

  8. Some great advice Lauren! I live in Wales and gyms aren’t reopening just yet. I won’t be going to mine for a while anyway as I don’t feel 100% safe. Like you said, it’s so important to not compare yourself to others when you get back to the gym! x

    Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk

    1. I think I’ve got quite a few Welsh followers as I’ve had this conversation a few times haha! It’ll be worth the wait I’m sure when they do open again, and so important to remember that there’s no need to rush back if you’re not comfortable!

  9. I can’t believe its been 4 months how mad! I can’t wait to get back in the gym!

    Amber | The Unpredicted Page

    1. I know it’s been so long, definitely the longest I’ve taken a break like this by far!

  10. Some great tips here. I am going back but not just yet as I am still enjoying my home workouts.

    1. Thank you for reading! I feel the same as you 🙂

  11. Great post! I love how you’re conveying the importance of doing what’s best for you and how you need to listen to your body when going back to the gym.

  12. I’m so excited to get back to the gym but definitely need to remind myself to take it easy 😅 Fab tips!

    1. You’ve got this! Thank you for reading x

  13. Ahh I loved reading this!! I’m really excited to get back to the gym, I don’t have space to workout at home, so it’s been a while for me! I’m nervous about what everything will be like regarding covid though!! xx

    zoe-ware.com

    1. I’ve struggled a bit with space too but made the most of what I have! I think everyone’s going to be a bit nervous going back at first but so far it seems like gyms are doing really well with procedures and everything!

  14. I’m reading this post while sat outside my gym (I’m too early for my slot!)

    I have to say I’m really looking forward to getting in the pool for the first time in 4 months!

    Super helpful post as I know I’m feeling anxious despite my excitement x

    1. Of course there’s going to be some anxious feelings going into all these new uncertain situations! Thank you for reading and I hope you had an amazing session!

  15. It’s so important to listen to your own body and decide what is right for you. I can’t wait to get back into the pool and at my local running club – we get a free gym/pool membership with university at a local leisure centre but unfortunately it is so run down that the overall consensus from members is that they don’t feel comfortable returning until changes and refreshes are made to one specific site! My mum was saying it has been around longer than she was born; and hasn’t changed much at all since then which shows just about how outdated everything is… anyway – I’m rambling! This post is really great to help people feel better about finding alternatives if they don’t feel comfortable and to take our time. With the added expense each month, if people don’t enjoy or like the gym there will be some form of exercise that will feel so much better to do and will increase motivation tenfold!

    Paige // Paige Eades

    1. That’s amazing that you get a free membership there but yeah doesn’t sound the safest to go back to in current situations! Hopefully they’ll sort it out and you can go back soon 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting!

  16. Great tips. I don’t use a gym anyway, I work out at home but I was talking to a friend yesterday who’s considering going back soon and she’s a bit apprehensive. A colleague of hers goes to the same gym and he’s going back first and going to tell her what it’s like before she goes. They also only have hour slots available so you have to book to go so they can limit the amount of people in the gym at any given time – which is good.

    1. I’ve loved working out at home recently but I do miss the gym too! I would also speak to someone that’s already been to get an opinion before going myself haha!

  17. I don’t use gyms as such, but I do attend dance classes which are slowly coming back too. As much as I can’t wait to get back into the studio, I am apprehensive about it. I’ve been considering private classes for a while now and the current situation makes that even more appealing. Most of my day-to-day exercise I just do at home. We have a crosstrainer which I love to use for cardio and a few weights too. Your post has great advice for anyone desperate to get back into the gym.

    1. I feel exactly the same about my dance classes, I am dying to get back to training but at the same time I’m very apprehensive about travelling to London to take classes as I used to.

      Love that you have a cross trainer, that’s definitely my favourite type of cardio to do in the gym!

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