Continuous lockdowns to contain and prevent further spread Covid-19 virus has resulted in many men to become obese. This is because gyms were closed down and people living in small apartments had to stay indoors. With so many people getting affected and thousands dying across the globe, the scenario was really miserable. Fortunately, the virus has subsided and so has the symptoms considerably. With gyms reopening, it is welcome news for those who would like to stay in shape.
Getting back to the gym may sound great, but in reality, it can be tough, especially after a long hiatus. The local gyms are likely to have changed radically its layout to adhere to stringent social distant guidelines. Before you hit the gym to start your exercise, you need to know what exactly occurs with your body especially after taking a long break. But then, by following some given-below tips, you can start to enjoy your exercises and will not face any unwanted health issues.
Tips to follow
- Do not rush: It can be tempting to start with the main exercise that you had practiced before lockdown. But health experts recommend otherwise staying safe from unwanted injuries. Inactivity for a long time will only cause loss of several training adaptations. Thus, your body will only be left unprimed to adapt intense exercises something it was accustomed to before. Moreover, jumping into intense exercises immediately will only result in prolong recovery time and greater muscle damage. Hence, you are to dial back your workout intensity.
It is self-explanatory for cardio. Reduce speed on the treadmills or Lower resistance when using the exercise bike.
Do not lift heavy weights immediately for strength training. Maximum weight permitted to lift pre-lockdown period was one-rep max or 1RM for one repetition. But on returning, start with 50% to 70% of 1RM.
Ramp up weight in future sessions! Increase weight by about 2 t 10 percent only when training at specific rep max load. This is permitted only if you can carry out current workload for 1-2 reps over desired number.
Besides reducing load/weight, start with lower rep number. While performing strength exercises, keep some ‘reps in reserve. If pushed, you may perform few more reps belonging to that exercise. But take things easily and do slowly.
- Warm up: Before starting workout, it is important to first warm up your body. This allows proper blood blow to your exercising muscles, thus reducing muscle cramps and risk of injuries. It is quite common if re-starting exercises after a long time. According to The American Sports Medicine College, Warm-up session should be for about 5 to 10 minutes before starting main exercise. You should perform dynamic warm-up exercises. It should involve movement instead of static stretching. Dynamic, high load warm-ups can offer power performance and increase upper body strength. Undertaking passive cooling or warming techniques like sitting under the sun or taking hot bath will not be effective.
- Optimize post-workout nutrition: To improve recovery between workouts, ensure proper and correct eating. ISSN (Intl. Sports Nutrition Society) states that after exercise, your body requires protein and carbohydrate. This is to stimulate muscle protein and glycogen synthesis.
Supplements and Micronutrients: There are present different types of micronutrients in supplements and foods that can help reduce long-term inflammation levels. It also improves recovery after exercise. Do research to know what to consume to diminish chronic inflammation levels in our IL-6 and Inflammation levels trait.
Protein: It is possible to stimulate MPS (muscle protein synthesis) after or before strength training by consuming protein. It is considered to be the main process that increases muscle size and strength. For moderate gym workouts, per day intake of protein should be around 1.4-2.0 gram/kg bodyweight for each day.
Carbohydrates: For moderate exercises, per day carbohydrates requirements will be around 3-5 grams/kg bodyweight. Intake timing is equally vital to optimize glycogen synthesis. Following exercise, have some carbs within initial hours.
- Overcoming muscle soreness: It could be that some muscle group might not have been exercised during the lockdown. These muscles are likely to be sore after workout for approximately 12-72 hours. It is referred to as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). It is caused by muscle fibers suffering from microtears and then inflammation due to remodeling of the muscle tissue. Exercise-induced muscle damage may only cause longer recovery times.
- Be patient: The body is likely to take some time to adapt the new training regimen. Hence, you cannot expect immediate strengths and fitness gains. Molecular muscle memory however, helps regain fitness very quickly. Our muscle cells seem to ‘remember’ the earlier workouts. Studies revealed that even after a long inactivity period of 30 to 32 weeks, it took only 6 weeks to retrain to derive previous strength! However, regaining ability of aerobic fitness and strength is based on numerous factors of which age is considered to be one. Gene variants even play a significant role to gain muscle. This can be indentified in your (mTOR) Muscle hypertrophy and (IGF-1) Muscle growth.
How the body reacts on taking a lengthy break from the gym?
The human body gets exposed to physical stress on exercising. When done regularly, the body compensates by introducing various types of changes in the overall metabolism, connective tissue, nerves and muscles. It is referred to as ‘training adaptations’ that improve athletic performance. It includes certain things like creating new capillaries to enhance supply of blood to muscles and improved muscle fiber cross-sectional areas. It also ensures increased motor neuron excitability combined with high bone mineral density.
During detraining a few changes occur. It includes the following:
- Sharp drop in volume of blood
- VO2 max decline
- Changes experienced in muscle fiber composition and size
- Poorer insulin sensitivity
- Reduced muscle strength
Hence, taking into consideration the above factors, you need to take the right approach when returning to the gym to exercise. You should first discuss with your health experts on what approach you should take and how to start your exercises the right way.