Gyms are open again - how do I get back on the exercise wagon if I've been sitting on my butt for 4 months?

If you've been struggling to get back to the gym - you're not alone.
If you've been struggling to get back to the gym - you're not alone. Photo credit: Getty Images

If the most exercise you've been doing over the past four months is waddling from your desk to the fridge and back again - same. If your neck and shoulders are super tight from staring contests with your screen - same. Lockdown hit us hard and in such an unstable time, no one's judging if you forewent bi-weekly pilates in favour of bi-weekly pizza. 

It's safe to say the last few months have been a turbulent time for Aucklanders, many of whom whole-heartedly surrendered to the stay-at-home order and embraced a life of sweatpants, sitting and pints of Häagen-Dazs' Strawberry and Cream (just me?)

Gyms were closed, studios were shut. I no longer had to justify why I was too tired or too stressed or too busy to drive 10 minutes up the road for a 30-minute workout. With my gym membership suspended and the supermarket my only outlet, I accepted the slob life, dumping any hopes of achieving a Tammy Hembrow booty by the end of the year. 

But no longer. The 'traffic light' system is now in full swing. Gyms have opened their doors. People are baring all in bikinis and Bondi Sands. Fitness is no longer forsaken; a concept relegated to a distant future where I might go to the gym more than once every three months. 

So for everyone who needs a bit of help easing back on that exercise wagon, Newshub spoke to Lululemon ambassador and founder of Ponsonby-based SALA Studio, Sarah Lindsay, for her top tips on getting back into the swing of things. We're waxed, vaxxed and ready for six packs!

If we've absolutely fallen off the exercise wagon during lockdown, what is some advice you have for getting back into it?

Find things that support your new exercise goals, be it your friends or the right activewear to get you motivated. I always find something new [to wear] when I'm getting back into things as a new outfit makes me feel supported in my workout and instantly motivated to get moving.

I also have an accountability WhatsApp group where my friends and I post pictures of the workout we just did, making it feel like we're holding one another accountable. It is also a reminder that working out can be a fun and social activity.  

Help, I feel like I've lost all my strength or flexibility! Can this happen in a matter of weeks, and if so, what's the best way to combat it?

While it can be easy to become disheartened, it's medically proven that it's quicker to regain muscle and endurance, even after as long as three months off. It's vital to be patient with yourself and trust that your perseverance will see you regain any lost strength or flexibility! You got this!

Cropped shot of young Asian woman sitting on the exercise mat, meditating in the lotus pose during a yoga session at home in the fresh bright morning. Fitness, wellness and home work out concept
Photo credit: Getty Images

What is your advice to those feeling nervous to head back to their studios and gyms post-lockdown? 

It's absolutely understandable to be feeling nervous heading back to studios and gyms post-lockdown. With so much going on in the world, it's important to prioritise your own wellbeing and listen to how you are feeling as we return to a new normal.

There are lots of small changes that can make a significant impact in us feeling more comfortable in our performance - and protect our community at the same time. For example, bringing your own yoga mat to a class is not only great for hygiene, but it's also a really ritualistic way to intentionally bring yourself back into that studio space and help you feel grounded, after such a long impromptu hiatus.

What are some ways you get motivated to move when you otherwise just CBF?

If I ever wake up not feeling my best, I immediately put on something that makes me feel good, like my favourite Lululemon Align Pants. This psychosomatically prepares me for my workout as soon as I wake up.

I'll then pick a short online class, and tell my friends what class I have planned to help me stay accountable. However, there are some days where you just need to rest! It is important to listen to your body and know tomorrow is a new day to move.