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First thing’s first: the Covid-19 pandemic isn’t over by any means. However, life is starting to resemble how it was before March of 2020. For many of us that means finally getting back into a public gym. But what does that look like now?

Etiquette

With the rising concern surrounding the highly infectious Delta variant, even vaccinated folks should consider bringing a mask with them to the gym. I typically wear mine as I’m moving around the gym and while doing low-intensity treadmill and elliptical workouts if there are other gym patrons on the machines directly next to me. However, I see a lot of other people who wear they’re masks during their entire workout (go them)! For right now, I think the decision of when to wear a mask is up to your comfort level.

Steve Madden Mask
Original photo by Julia Greenwood

While masks may still be a preference, there are certain actions that just can’t be compromised: washing your hands and wiping down equipment after you’re done working out. Contrary to what some believe, it should not be up to me to wipe a machine or dumbbell before I use it. Everyone deserves to have a clean space to workout in.

COnsistency is Key

Depending on how long it’s been since you were last seen in a public gym, your day-to-day routine may look a lot different. You may have to adjust when you workout so that you can keep things consistent. Right now, it may be hard to pull yourself to the gym, especially if you used to go in the morning but now only have time for evening workouts. That’s completely okay! As long as you get yourself there regularly, you’ll fall right back into a routine.

Being consistent in the content of your workouts is also important when you’re getting back into the swing of things! I personally like to keep my workouts around an hour long and include core workouts every day right before I do my stretches to end my routine. This gives me something to look forward to, since working my core is one of my favorite things to do in the gym.

Keep in mind that part of being consistent is also being kind to yourself. If you need a break or a day off, there is absolutely no shame in taking the time that you need. It will make your workouts better in the long run.

Find a Friend

The gym doesn’t have to be an isolating experience. Even if you aren’t working the same muscle groups on any given day, going with a buddy can give you an extra little boost of motivation to at least get there. I love going to Planet Fitness with my roommates. Two of us work out together, while the other two go off and do their separate thing. The important lesson is that we keep each other motivated to go and work hard a few days each week.

Since we do go all together, I have the opportunity to push myself harder, too! When I go to the gym with a friend, we can spot for each other and make sure we aren’t letting our form slip. This prevents injuries while also giving each other a chance to try exercises we may not be comfortable doing alone.

All things considered, getting back into the gym after a hiatus is hard. Right now, your gym may look a little different because of safety protocols. Despite this, you are strong and can do anything when you want it badly enough. So get back into the gym safely, and have a fun time!

I'm a mechanical engineering major with a passion for sustainability and green energy. In my free time I love to skateboard, drink coffee, and listen to music.
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