Admit it, the lockdown didn’t go the way you were hoping from a fitness perspective. All that time at home should have given you more chance to workout, only being allowed to go to supermarkets or the park for exercise should have got you fit, or at the very least offset the food you bought at the supermarket.
But it didn’t pan out that way, did it? Those Joe Wicks workouts you followed so enthusiastically at the start are a memory, that week you did three runs is not one run a month, the home workouts have become a few sets of squats when your friend mentions their workout to you when you are doing your weekly zoom quiz.
Across the board this is what we are seeing. Alcohol consumption is up, comfort food consumption is up, people are sleeping less, moving less and weight gain has been sharp as a result.
But hairdressers and cinemas opened at the start of July, and the gyms are reopening at the end of July. Normality is returning, and that will see people resume their normal routines and lives. Exercise forms a part of that routine for many people, and many of you will be tempted to go straight for a conventional weight loss process of cardio and high reps to burn off the excess.
But don’t do it!
That is the wrong way to approach this. I will tell you right now that everyone I know who regularly strength trains is feeling weaker, and if you don’t strength train then you definitely will be weaker as this process has made all of us sedentary. Simply going back to normal movement will increase calorie burning for the first few weeks after your normal routine has begun, adding cardio and high rep training will increase this in the short term, but will be problematic in the long term, as in order to see more progress you’ll have to keep cutting calories and increasing cardio work until eventually even that makes no more difference, and you have to do an hour of cardio a day and eat no more than eight hundred calories or you gain weight.
Strength training, on the other hand, will boost your metabolism. And a bigger metabolism means more calories burned at rest. That means that should you eat poorly for one meal or one day it won’t have a dramatic impact. It means that as your metabolism increases so will your fat burning at rest, giving you the toned shape you actually want. Focusing on strength first when the gyms reopen, and not on cardio or high rep work, is the way to go.