We had a chat to Jaime and Bridget about their personal experience of getting back to the gym post illness.

How has your experience been coming back to train post covid?

Jaime: My sleep has been knocked around. I’m experiencing brain fog and problems with thinking capacity too. I really had to have a paradigm shift. I thought, seven days, I’m locking down, I’m coming out and I’m back into my routine… I did try to ease back into some exercise slowly.  However, my doctor said, “you’ve not rested well enough”. I had a whole bunch of symptoms spark back up, which flawed me.

I really needed to shift my thinking. It’s not just seven days, it’s not even two weeks. The average recovery for most people is five to six weeks. I’m thinking I will need 12 weeks.

I won’t be where I was and that’s okay, but I’m going to keep the habit. I’m going to keep the routine. I’m going to keep moving. I’m going to do my best to protect, rest and recover.

Bridget: I’m generally a pretty fit and healthy person so thinking about the virus, I initially wasn’t too fearful. However, it was definitely not what I expected.. it knocked me for six! I found it very hard transitioning back into the gym after covid. My normal workouts definitely weren’t what they were before I had the virus; that was something that really challenged me and meant I had to maneuver and adapt my training methods until it felt right again. It’s definitely harder to fall asleep now too, which impacts rest and recovery.

Speaking of recovery, how did your own recovery change post illness?

Bridget: There was a workout that I would usually do with my eyes closed, and come back the next day to do it again. Post illness, I found it was taking me three or four days to fully recover from that one session. Personally, that was a huge thing to try to accept. I knew I had to listen to my body and be okay with slowing down. I know that can be so tough for a lot of us because we are so used to being a hundred miles an hour and we are routine driven, but it is okay to listen to your body. Now more than ever, especially after coming back after being sick, that is very important.

Jaime:  It starts with your mindset, acknowledge that you need to focus more on recovery and know that it’s okay. It’s okay to take it easy. To assist with recovery, you can reduce total repetitions, take longer rests between gym sessions, longer recoveries between sets or use lighter weights. I was doing some strength training and actually still trying to lift heavy weight, but keeping my reps down. Afterwards, I was really sore; Delayed onset muscle soreness (we call that DOMS).

What advice would you give to someone recovering from illness or injury?

We want to encourage you to listen to your body and to take things slowly. We talk a lot about the big three; moving a lot, sleeping well (including rest and recovery), and eating healthy. Those principles are more important now than ever before.

Find lower impact exercises – this may mean trying Yoga or Pilates for the first time which may be completely different to what you’re used to. However, it could exactly what your body needs to get you back into moving and feeling good again.

We would also recommend walking. Walking is legit. It’s about moving your body however you can. If you love Body Pump, get back into it, but definitely kick the weight back. Feel free to stop and take a break during the class, and also let the instructor know where you’re at.

How are things going in the gym in 2022?

We feel it is a really unique time in the gym. There are more interruptions which could impact people’s exercise routine and rhythm than ever before. We usually find that happens every year over the school holiday period as it changes the usual flow of life, and routines are lost. However, now in 2022, more people are working from home as well as restrictions, fear and illness – this can all interrupt someone’s usual training routine.

What would you say to someone who feels out of routine?

We want to acknowledge that you do not need to have it all together, be fit, have the latest outfit or lose weight before you come to us. In fact, it’s the opposite. We’re here to help you. Be kind to yourself. The first steps are some of the hardest but you will feel amazing once you just come and get your body moving again.

We want to inspire you to engage in an active and healthy lifestyle. We’re a safe space and we hope to see you in the gym soon.