Starting out in fitness for the first time or returning to fitness after the lock-down can be quite daunting.
The chances are that for the last three months, you’ve probably not done much exercise. During the first lock-down in 2020 there was a big increase in online fitness with lots of personal trainers turning to Zoom and similar products to deliver classes online
However the same hasn’t been true of the latest lock-down at the start of 2021.
Research suggests that the reason people haven’t maintained their fitness in quite the same way during this most recent lock-down is due mainly to it being winter, the weather and simply the fact that it was the third lock-down and the novelty has worn off! 😃
Fitness habits are hard to create and can be difficult to maintain, hence why after almost 6 months of lock-down in the space of a year many people have become bored of ‘new and exciting’ online classes and found it difficult to motivate themselves. The question now is with the lock-down over - how do you return to fitness or how do you start a new fitness regime?
The answer is to do it slowly and steadily.
Government guidelines suggest that to maintain your current body weight and level of fitness you should complete approximately 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise. In addition to this you should also try to include 2 strength and resistance sessions as well. Achieving this can be quite difficult and the last thing you want to do is to go from doing nothing to suddenly doing everything.
When you exercise, you cause your muscle fibres to rip and tear which then leads to them repairing and growing stronger. This might not sound great but is actually what you need to do to improve, but is also the reason you might feel a few aches as well. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (or DOMS) is a natural result of new or intense exercise and can be recognised by the aches in your muscles 24 to 48 hours after you finish exercising. The best way to ease these aches is to stay active but not to overwork the muscles
At Get Fit Today, we recommend that you start out by doing one session a week for the first couple of weeks, and include a couple of 20 minute walks as well. Make sure that your walks are at a quicker pace than a gentle stroll - something that will cause you to be very slightly out of breath after 15 minutes or so but still at a pace where you can maintain a conversation (unless you are on your own, in which case you may just look a bit crazy 🤪)
Including these walks in the first two weeks will help your body recover after exercise and help to ease any after session aches that may happen. When you first start out in fitness or return to training after a break, start gradually as suggested and then increase the number of fitness sessions you do from one to two and include two 20-30 minute walks as well. This will make it possible for you to maintain for the next couple of months & will also mean that you are exceeding the government guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week as well.
After a few weeks you will start to notice that your aches reduce and your energy increases. This is obviously a fantastic result and something to aim for which will really help you continue your fitness journey. It is still important however, to not suddenly your activity level too much. For long distance runners, it is recommended that when training to increase your distance you only increase by approximately 10% every week which means even when you reach the stage of being able to comfortably run 6 miles three times a week whilst training for a half marathon, you should only increase your weekly distance by around half a mile per run. The same process is true for other sporting activities - slow and steady!
What ability group is right for you?
As a member of Get Fit Today you have the opportunity to take part in six sessions every week across our three venues in Abington Park, Grange Park and St Crispins Park. As you feel fitter and stronger you will notice that your exercises improve, as does your recovery time and speed. There may come a time when you feel like you are ready to move up to the next ability group, whether that is from our blue (Beginner) group to the orange (intermediate) or from the orange group to the green (advanced) group.
It may be difficult to know when the right time is to make this move as you don’t want to find yourself in the wrong group and having to reduce the number of reps you do or let your form go to pot in order that you can keep up with the others.
So how do you know if you are ready to move up?
We offer a monthly fitness benchmark session where you can not only establish a baseline for your fitness levels at that point so you can compare again in a few months to monitor your improvement but will also show you which ability group is the most one for you too.
The fitness benchmarking consists of two different types of test. The first is three exercises all completed for one minute each with a break in between. You record the maximum number of reps you can do for each one and compare again in 3 months. The second part of the assessment is a workout starting with a 300m walk/jog/run followed by a mixture of exercises and shuttles before finishing with the 300m run again. There is no time limit to complete this so you work to your own effort level.
Once you have completed this, you scores are input into ur super-computer 'FRED' (Fitness Recording Exercise Device 😃) which will give you a total score which you can then compare against our chart below to see which group you are most suited to.
You can also which areas you might need to improve on in order to move up a group. If, for example, you complete 3 press-ups in a minute, you should aim to increase this to 10 in order to hit the level for ORANGE.
Have a look on our member App and book yourself in for the next fitness benchmarking session - there is one every month.