As I sit here and write this I do realize that gyms in many parts of the country may close up again. Or if you’re reading this and you’re in the north east you might be sitting there saying “well mine never opened.” That’s a topic for another day. 

Regardless, whenever your gym does open up the content within this blog still holds true. What’s important to know is that even though you’ll more than likely be extremely excited to get back to pumping iron there are a few things that you should consider before going “HAM.” 

Assess Where You’re At

Take a good honest look at where you’re at physically and mentally. Assess how the quarantine has treated you and how in turn you’ve treated your overall health. If you’ve gained a significant amount of weight and have gotten yourself into some unhealthy habits we must first address those concerns. 

Make an effort to journal or track your food and water intake daily. Assess what should and shouldn’t be in there. Unfortunately, the pint of ice cream as well as the beer you’ve been guzzling on the daily shouldn’t remain in your program. Take it all one step at a time and make minor adjustments in order to not overwhelm yourself. 

Create a schedule that you’ll find easy to stick to. Wake up at about the same time every day, eat at about the same time every day, go to bed at around the same time every day. These are simple changes that can break you out of any bad habits you’re currently in. 

Now that you’ve assessed some of your diet/daily habits let’s move on to what should be going on in the gym 

Get Back To Basic Movements 

Depending on how long you’ve been inactive it’s important that you reintroduce basic movement patterns into your plan. Things such as push-ups, lunges, unilateral work, and pull-ups are great examples of things that may have gone by the wayside during your hiatus. Reintroducing these in a weekly manor is a great start and will help to keep you from getting injured. 

To go along with movement patterns it’s imperative that you include some GPP work into your plan. General Physical Preparedness (GPP) work can be summarized as work that gets you ready for the real work. It will help you to establish a base by improving movement and cardiovascular capacity. GPP work can be include things such as: 

  • Sled Work (pushes/drags)  
  • High volume rep ranges 
  • Metabolic stress work (occlusion training) 
  • Hill sprints 
  • Weighted walks
  • Stair workouts 
  • Unilateral work (single sided work) 

Just about anything that is longer in duration and limited rest periods. Assuming your goal is to eventually get stronger you want to start off with modalities such as this to build your foundation. 

You can’t build a three bedroom house on a two bedroom foundation. 

That’s A Start 

If you start there you’ll make progress pretty quickly. It goes without saying you’re more than likely in worse shape than you were before the pandemic but if you’re diligent you’ll regain what you’ve lost pretty quickly. It all depends on the amount of change you’re willing to take on initially. 

Once you get past the initial month or so you may be feeling good about yourself and then it’s time to get onto a regimented program. There are many out there but some that I really think are great after prolonged off periods are: 

  • 5×5 
  • 5/3/1
  • Starting Strength 

There are certainly more out there but those are some of the best for beginners in my humble opinion. And yes, I’ve done all of them myself. 

If you’ve stayed on your program, made a home gym, or snuck into your friends garage gym then this post probably doesn’t mean all that much to you. 

You’re awesome and keep up the good work. 

Until next time, 

Stay strong.