Are you getting back into the gym? I went on my story on Instagram a few weeks ago and asked everyone this question, and a lot of you are! Many states are easing restrictions and therefore opening gyms. I know you a lot of you are excited to jump back into your workouts! However, before you race off to the gym to hit it hard on your first day back, there are a few things you should consider. Since you have been out of the gym for a few months, it is important to decrease the volume you are lifting for at least a few weeks. Decreasing volume means doing fewer sets and reps.
I know that’s hard because you want to get back to where you were before, but it is important to remember that your body needs time to build back to that point. An example of decreasing volume for a program that calls for “3 sets of 10” is to make the first two sets lighter, leaving about five reps in the tank. For the last set, see if you can increase your weights and get a little closer to the stress level of the ten-rep max (only 2-3 reps left in the tank). You should build the weight over time and slowly. You may notice, muscle memory is real! Your body may be comfortable doing the exercises you were doing before, which is good.
This does not mean you should overdo it. For the first few weeks back, try to get into the gym four or five times a week if you can so you can perform exercises frequently as you get back in a groove. Keep in mind though, a main issue when returning from taking time off is soreness. A little bit of soreness the next day is normal but if you are sore from a workout for three or more days, you are probably overreaching. This means you are lifting over your capacity. Patience is key! Don’t worry about how much you were lifting pre-COVID. Your strength will build over time, it is best to take things slow and safe!