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6 Steps You Can Take Today to Go from Couch Potato to Crushing it in the Gym

Life has been tough for everyone over the past 12 months during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Normal life was suspended, fitness goals put on hold and healthy diets went out of the window for many of us, and our health and wellbeing may have suffered as a result.  

But with a return to normal on the horizon and our Ultimate Performance gyms set to reopen, many people are thinking about getting in shape again.  

There really is no better time than now to focus on improving your health and fitness ready to hit the ground running when gyms and the wider world open up again.  

So we have put together six steps that you can take today to rebuild healthy habits, feel better and get ready to hit the ground running with your health and fitness goals.  

1. Formulate a plan  

Before your first session back in the gym, get in touch with your trainer to discuss any goals you have in mind for this new block of training. For example, do you plan on booking a holiday later in the year? Do you have a special event, like a milestone birthday, that you would like to shape up for?  

Having a specific goal and a target date or deadline to focus on is hugely important and will set you up much better for success than having a nebulous goal like “I want to lose some weight”. Instead, try to be as specific as you can with your goal, for example: “I would like to lose 5kg over the next 10 weeks ready for my holiday”.  

If you’re not sure how to go about setting a goal your trainer will be able to help you formulate a SMART goal to help you get the most out of your return to the gym. Make sure you can hit the ground running as soon as you get through the door! 

2. Get moving 

If you haven’t had any access to training equipment during the lockdown and have let your fitness slip, now may be a good time to start preparing for the return to the gym.  

If you’ve been struggling with motivation or haven’t been able to hit your daily step target, use this time to start gradually increasing your activity.  

A good way to prevent the dreaded ‘DOMs‘ (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) from hitting back harder than ever when you first begin exercising again is to use this time to do mobility work and stretching. You can also slowly build up with some bodyweight training in the comfort of your own home with our virtual training sessions.

3. Start tidying up your nutrition 

Lockdown has been tough on all of us, and many will certainly have indulged in a few more “off-plan” foods and alcohol. If this sounds like you, the next few weeks are an opportunity to get ahead and start by doing a “reset”. Some easy wins you can start to implement include getting in a serving of protein at every meal, making sure half of every plate is filled with vegetables, hitting a water target each day and prioritising healthy fats, such as nuts and avocados. You can also check out the U.P. guide to stress-free meal prep for new ideas to spice up your meals. Building in these healthy habits now will help you to hit the ground running when the gyms reopen. 

4. Keep your eyes on the end goal 

It may seem like life returning to normal is still a long way off, but time passes quickly! Don’t use a date in the distant future as an excuse to avoid making the changes you need in your life now. Every new day, week and month is a new opportunity to progress and inch closer to your goal. This is the perfect time to start planning your new post-lockdown routine and making fitness a priority in your schedule. 

5. Destress  

The latest lockdown has been highly stressful for everyone and collective stress is very real, even if it is subconscious. Returning to the gym means a new kind of stimulus on the body and, like any new stimulus, that involves stress.  

That’s why it’s more important than ever to prepare your mind and body for a new challenge by reducing your general day-to-day stress levels. A great place to start is to create a clear distinction between work and rest times. This might mean starting your morning with a stretching routine or going for a walk.  

An evening routine is equally important, so try turning off the TV to read a book or take a bath, making time for meditation or getting back to an old hobby. Getting healthy habits locked down before lockdown ends will mean you’re more likely to make the most out of every session and get the very best return on your investment with U.P. 

6. Get your sleep back on track 

Sleep has been a major casualty of the last year’s rolling lockdowns for many people and this time is the perfect opportunity to start getting back into a better routine before life gets back to hectic normality.  

Get into the habit of consistent sleep and wake times, reducing blue light exposure in the hours before bed and restricting consumption of things like wine and coffee. Not only will your sleep benefit, but you will also likely find your work productivity goes through the roof too! 


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