82e3d4e4-8a09-4f71-9a39-c8ba2398b585 Post Lockdown Gym: 4 Top Tips from a PT

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Post Lockdown Gym: 4 Top Tips from a PT

Last week we met up with Abbi Haywood, online coach, PT and assistant manager at The Gym Group. We posted on our story the questions that you would like to ask Abbi, and we've got all the deets.


How will I ease myself into the gym?

"The key to getting into the gym is not to be put off by what other people are doing. And don't set unrealistic targets. I'd recommend to try going three days a week for half an hour, it can be intimidating at first so start small and work your way up. Maybe start in the corner of the gym where you feel comfortable, and as you gain confidence you can start pushing your boundaries.

"I'd personally start by planning out what you are going to do and how long you are going to do it for, doing timed rounds is really useful because you can alter it as your fitness levels change. Definitely don't just wing it, you wouldn't decide you're going to learn to drive and jump straight down the motorway?

"When you first start going to the gym, I would always recommend speaking to someone who knows what they're doing or a PT (that's what we're here for). You don't have to exhaust yourself and sweat lots to have a good work out, this doesn't always reflect how hard you've worked." 

How you you keep motivated in the gym?

"Variety. You have to find something you like and make a plan for it. I personally hate running, it doesn't work for me. Find a way of exercising that you like so that you stick to it. I love kickboxing, horse riding, bootcamps and spinning - I never thought I'd miss spinning, but I have in lockdown. 

"I always recommend planning in advance, if classes are your thing- book them in for the week.

"Most importantly, set yourself targets. Progress photos are the best, because your weight never changes as fast as you would like, so that can be demotivating. Especially for women, if you're on your period you're naturally heavier and that can be a huge demotivator. At the moment I'm at my heaviest at 75kg, but I still fit in the same clothes that I wore when I was 70kg, weight doesn't always equal size. I'd recommend taking progress photos every 4-6 weeks.

"Don't forget to factor in other wins; can you do more press ups? Have you improved your form on some movements? Do you feel less tired and have more stamina?

"My client, Annie, works in the labs in an NHS hospital, so she's doing 12 hour shifts. We scale her goals to her lifestyle. She knows what she will be doing for the full week at the beginning of every week. We track her meals and takes her progress photos every 4 weeks. If we didn't plan and track, there's no way she'd be able to keep on top of it, she's just too busy."

What snacks would you recommend to keep yourself fuller for longer?

"Something high protein, because it fills you up more. And drink plenty of water, because sometimes you feel hunger when you're really thirsty.

"Some people freak out about fruit because of sugar, but it's not something to be scared of. Fruit is full of good sugar that will give you some energy. 

"If I was going to have a quick snack and I was following a strict healthy diet, I would have an apple or some chicken, don't be afraid to have non-meal items as a snack. Obviously if you're on the go and you can't sit down to eat a chicken breast, it might not be ideal.

"I would be careful around nuts. They're great for you, but you can't eat a lot of them without having a high amount of calories, so they're not always the most satisfying. There are lots of low calorie nut bars that you can choose from as an alternative, if nuts are your thing."

What will gyms be like after lockdown?

"When the gyms reopen on the 25th, every gym will be set to a reduced capacity per square meter of the gym. This is capped to maintain social distancing. The gym I work at has an app so that you can see whether we're full before you come, so you don't end up waiting outside.

"In our gym you used to enter by using a pin pad, this is now done by scanning your phone so it's contactless. It'll also be one way for entering and another for exiting. There will also be hand sanitiser as you enter the building.

"We obviously used to have high standards of cleanliness, but we have increased this by cleaning more often. This way we can keep the showers and changing rooms still open. 

"Unfortunately, gym classes wont be running, this way we can prioritise keeping members safe. We've uploaded online resources so you can still go to the gym and follow a class on your phone, but really this is the only safe way to run a class unless you're outside.

"We also won't be doing routine gym inductions, but if you want help you can still book with a PT and that's no problem. If you are having a PT session, we've designated blue boxes for you and your trainer. Both you and your trainer will have to wear a mask, this is to keep everyone safe. If you're in the gym and one of the blue boxes are free, you're more than welcome to use it and have that as your designated space.

"In terms of equipment, we've spaced out the machines that can be, but every other treadmill and cross-trainer is switched off to keep a distance. We're asking members to wipe down their equipment, but there will also be staff going around cleaning too.

"It's all about members coming back safely. At the moment we're still allowing new members to join. We've made everything virtual for what can be. For the time being gyms wont be open 24hours, as there always needs to needs to be a PT in making sure rules are followed, which might be one of the main factors affecting people's routine."


Are you wanting to get healthier?

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