• Megan

My first training session back at the gym

Since mid-March, I have adapted my training routine to be indoors. With my tiny bedroom space, amateur dumbbell set, and RuPaul's Drag Race on my TV for background noise, I was successful in my setup. In my new environment, I could still challenge my body and try new things; I used resistance bands, small weights, and body weight to give my muscles something to resist against, meaning that- with the right set and rep ranges- I could make progress in strength and growth. But as the months went by, my setup wasn't good enough. I was getting frustrated with how difficult it was to set up exercises in the small space that I had, I was getting overwhelmed with my academic commitments, and I started to lose motivation.

As of the 25th of July, however, I was fortunate to have my gym reopen! I was so excited for this day to come, for it meant I could get back to doing what I love. A week after opening, I entered the gym to start my first session back. I chose to wait one week before entering, as it was likely that the first week would be the most crowded. Before leaving the house, I made sure to wash my hands and put my mask on (safety first!).

Firstly, the changes made to the gym were very impressive: contactless entry and exit, sanitising stations, decommissioned machines, and spaced-out benches. I did notice that I was the only one wearing a mask however, and I soon find out why. Though professional medical masks allow you to breathe as much oxygen as normal, my mask had been made by an independent business and was a little more difficult to breathe in. After 15 minutes of trying to power through, I was struggling to get my breath back. I concluded that it may actually be dangerous to continue without sufficient oxygen intake, and I took the mask off.

The rest of my session was very enjoyable- I did a full body session, focusing the most on my lower body and my lats. I knew that my strength and stamina wouldn't be at the levels that they were at prior to the lockdown, so I lowered the weight on each exercise and directed my energy toward keeping good form and feeling that mind-to-muscle connection. Most importantly, I just had fun! It was great to be back and it felt good to lift heavy weights again. And it was refreshing to have back all the little things that I had gotten used to, like the free flavoured water, the vending machine with all the protein snacks, and even just a friendly nod from a trainer I always see around but had never spoken to.

Speaking of personal trainers, I am thinking of investing in some training sessions in the near future. I am always eager to learn new things and improve on my technique, and what better way to do this than to learn from a pro? It is rather expensive though, so it is something to consider carefully.

The day after my session, I was so sore. I always feel proud when my muscles are sore, as it is evident that my work the day prior was effective. I haven't pushed my body this hard in months, so I've scheduled the next few days to be about controlled recovery. This means no weightlifting, gentle walking, and plenty of hydration. Then, once I no longer make the noises of a camel while walking up the stairs, I'm going to slowly integrate my old training plan into my weekly routine.

The next couple of months of training are going to revolve around getting my strength back up. Additionally, I want to learn more exercises and grow my knowledge so that I can do what's best for my wellbeing.

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