My gym reopened just over two weeks ago, after several months off, and like a big dumb idiot, I waltzed right into the first morning class, thinking I’d smash it after working out from home almost every day in iso.

It turned out I was very much mistaken, and by the end of 45 minutes, I was absolutely rooted, and sprawled out on the bench like a sweaty mess.

It’s a position that many of us will probably find ourselves in as gyms across Australia start to reopen, especially if those cheeky Zoom workouts from home weren’t quite cutting it.

With this in mind, I had a chat with F45 Athletics Team Manager Lauren Vickers, who came through with some very helpful tips on how to hit the gym post-iso without embarrassing and / or injuring yourself.

Alasdair Duncan: A lot of people, myself included, were doing at-home workouts during iso. What are some mistakes that people may have made, or some areas where people might typically have fallen short?

Lauren Vickers: The hardest thing to replicate in an at-home workout is the intensity, so while people may have been working out regularly, returning to the studio may still be a bit of a shock.

Consistency will be key to building your fitness levels back up to where they were before. Try to aim for four sessions a week with two cardio based workouts and two strength workouts. Don’t be afraid to start slow.

AD: My gym here in Brisbane reopened last Tuesday, and I was absolutely wrecked after my first resistance session. How could I have prepared myself better before going back?

LV: A huge part of returning to the studio is frequency, volume and intensity so make sure you chat to your trainers about reassessing your fitness goals and putting together a plan to help you get there.

When you walk back into the studio, take it slow and find a comfortable pace you can stick to throughout the workout, use your Lionheart heart rate monitor to keep an eye on your intensity levels. Dial back in the cardio sessions if you need to and drop your weights slightly in the strength based sessions. All F45 sessions have all been designed so you can increase/decrease intensity as needed so make sure you take these options when you need to.

Most importantly, cut yourself some slack and allocate some downtime in between your workouts to recovery properly. Ensure you’re fuelling your body with a well-balanced diet and getting adequate sleep and you’ll find yourself recovering faster.

AD: What are some common injuries that people might experience when getting back into the gym and training, and what advice would you give to help people avoid them?

LV: After time away from the gym, faulty biomechanics may present themselves and lead to muscle imbalances or joint stiffness. Make sure you’re focusing on correct technique as performing exercises incorrectly can definitely lead to an increased risk of injury. Your trainers will be there to keep an eye on you and correct your technique as needed.

AD: What are some more general ways that we can be kinder and more respectful to our trainers and fellow gym-goers as things start to open up again after iso?

LV: Make sure you’re supporting your trainers and fellow members wherever you can. Doing the little things like remembering to wipe down your equipment after using it and putting everything back in its place will go a long way with your trainers.

Remember to bring a full water bottle and a towel to your sessions – I bring two; one for my face and another to cover benches and equipment.

AD: Do you think the traditional F45 post-workout high five will ever return, or have we moved on from that post-iso?

LV: Hopefully in the future we can get back to our post-workout high fives – but for now, my trainers get everyone to do a big jump in the air at the same time to celebrate our sweat sesh.

Image: iStock / Lacheev