Now that gyms have opened up again, it’s a perfect time to get back to a gym routine. But it can be tough to get motivated if you’ve taken some time off. Have no fear -- creating a plan and getting into the right mindset goes a long way toward making the transition easier and more successful.

  • Don't be hard on yourself. Cut yourself some slack about how you’re physically coming out of the pandemic. You may feel that your stamina is down and you haven’t exercised in a while. Maybe you haven’t lifted weights in months and feel you’ve lost muscle and strength. It’s okay - you just have to get started again. The key is setting goals.


  • Be realistic. Set some short and long term goals, then write them down. Be sure that they are realistic, and accept that it’s going to take some time to reach them. If you used to run 5 km, or workout 5 times a week, setting a goal to hit those targets right away likely isn't going to happen.


  • Membership has its benefits. If you’re not sure where to begin, or how to set realistic goals, a fitness professional can help. Your GoodLife gym membership includes a complimentary one-hour meeting with a personal trainer. Take advantage of that to assess your fitness level, set some goals and hear more about options for a workout program.


  • Begin with full-body workouts. If you target just one area of the body at the beginning, you could end up really sore or even injured. Instead build a full body workout with compound moves that use a combination of muscle groups.


  • Stagger resistance workouts. Start with two or three resistance training workouts per week, staggering them so there's at least one day of recovery in between.


  • Plan active recovery. On your recovery days, do some movement such as cardio exercises at the gym or go for a walk. Do this full-body programming for six to eight weeks, working up to a minimum of three days a week of resistance training. After that point, you should be feeling good and ready to advance your programming.


  • Practice sets and reps. Whatever exercises you choose for your main workout, do two to three sets of each. Reps should range from eight to 12. Avoid delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) by choosing a moderate weight and avoid pushing to muscle failure. Stop the exercise when you can still complete two to three more reps. Rest for 60 to 90 seconds between each exercise.


  • Focus on mobility and stability. Before every workout, do about 10 minutes of mobility and stability work. This is especially important because many of us did a lot of sitting during the pandemic. An example of a mobility exercise might be a hip opener, while a stability move could include a glute bridge. Finish off with more mobility and stability exercises, including stretching and core work. You should feel energized after your workout, not exhausted. 


  • Let your body bounce back. It's challenging to get back into a fitness routine, but muscles have memory. Once you’re gaining momentum, you'll be surprised how fast your body responds and how resilient it is.

Keeping these key things in mind when you go back to the gym after all these months will help you get back on track with your fitness goals.