How to Get Back Into the Gym

The majority of us spent 2020 working out from home, exploring alternative methods of movement or taking an outdoor fitness class for the first time. If you’re vaccinated,, you may feel comfortable enough to head back into the gym.

But how do you start? After so much time away, it can be intimidating to think about walking back into the gym that you used to frequent daily. 

How to start going to the gym after the pandemic

Here a few steps to consider as you head back to class

  1. Plan your workout and recovery routine in advance
  2. Prioritize rest and self care
  3. Sign up for a fitness challenge or app 
  4. Get a workout buddy
  5. Make sure you have the right clothes for your workout
  6. Look into getting a day pass or booking just an hour at the gym before signing up for a membership
  7. Pack your gym bag the night before
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Pack your gym bag

You may have had a gym bag pre-pandemic, but it’s a good chance to refresh your items with a few 2021 needs. We recommend adding hand sanitizer, gym-specific masks and lysol wipes to your trusty bag. Other must-haves include a microfiber towel to dry off sweat, flip flops if you want to take a post-workout shower and headphones! If you’re looking for a deep dive into gym bag must-haves, check out our post on the 10 things to have in your gym bag.

Schedule your workout (and recovery) routine in advance

Jumping right back into your pre-pandemic routine may cause inflammation, or worse – injury. Don’t feel any pressure to go from zero days to seven days a week, instead take it slow and plan it out. 

Pick a number of sessions per week that feels right to you, and plan out the days in the week you want to go. Pro tip: add these to your calendar and schedule them like an appointment, leaving time to also get to and from each class! Don’t forget to schedule out your recovery routine as well. Doing activities you aren’t used to will result in some level of soreness and stiffness. Look into booking a massage or adding in some yoga for a recovery boost.

Prioritize rest and self care

A change in your routine and an increase in physical activity levels has wonderful benefits, but it can also overload your body if you aren’t careful. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep (medical experts recommend at least seven hours per night for adults), drinking enough water and fuelling your body. Doing these three things will help prevent injury or fatigue issues.

Sign up for a workout challenge or app

Science proves that accountability is a great motivator. So if you’re worried about being consistent after a long time away from the gym, try signing up for a workout challenge or app. If you sign up for a workout challenge, it’s great to know that people are out there with you and doing what you’re doing. 

But if that’s not enough of a motivator, look into getting a workout app. Putting money on the line may be the motivation that you need, with the added bonus of convenience via an app.

Get a friend to be your workout buddy

It can be hard to pick up a new routine and even harder to stay accountable. It’s likely that plenty of your friends are also looking to get back into the gym, so reach out to them and invite them to join you. This provides an added level of accountability, but it also just makes working out more fun.

Did you know? ClassPass lets you see what classes your friends are taking and easily invite them to class. Make sure you add your friend on ClassPass so that you can share your workouts with each other. If your friend isn’t already on ClassPass, invite them to sign up so that you both get bonus credits.

Go through your workout clothes and make sure you’re equipped with the right technical apparel

It’s likely that your old gear needs to be upgraded if you haven’t been to the gym in a long time. You may have lived in leggings during lockdown, but that doesn’t mean that your leggings are still primed for performance. If your gear has lost elasticity or is peppered with holes, look into shopping for new apparel.

If you want to decrease your environmental impact, you can also recycle your old clothes.

Look into getting a day pass or booking just an hour at the gym before signing up for a membership

Dip your toes into the water (literally and figuratively!) by booking gym time on ClassPass, or purchase a day pass to your gym! These two options will help you test out different types of classes and equipment, and see what works best for you.

Callahan is a fitness enthusiast who moonlights on the growth team at ClassPass. She's a certified fitness trainer, with years of fitness experience both inside and outside of the gym. When she's not working you can find her pursuing her passion projects as editor of Trek Montana, contributing writer to the Ultimate Nashville Bach Planning Site and Plan Your Bach.
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