Gyms Reopening? Here’s How to Return Stronger than Ever.

 @emilyytanner

It’s been almost two years since I stepped foot into a gym—and about one month ago, I broke my streak. 

As I faced the gym bros built from pure muscle and caught my first whiff of aged sweat, I thought to myself...honnneeeyyyyy, I’m home!

But to say I wasn’t intimidated would be a lie. After 30 days of relearning my gym rat ways…I’ve compiled some tricks to help you make your own gym rat comeback:

1. Look good, feel good.

In most cases— I follow the feel good first philosophy. You should work out, fuel, and rest as needed to support a healthy mindset. A hot bod is simply the cherry on top. And believe me, your body is smokin’!

Nevertheless, we just spent the past year exercising in the comfort of our own homes. We could roll out of bed, throw on any old pit-stained t-shirt and sweat it out to Jane Fonda like nobody’s watching (since no one is). 

Returning to the gym after such a long hiatus means re-acclimating to the unnerving feeling that other gym-goers are watching/judging you. Even worse, you are judging yourself thanks to the full-length mirrors capturing your essence at all angles. 

To combat this initial shock, practice dressing to impress. Match your scrunchie to your socks, wash the grease off your face, and brighten up your outfit with the new neon sunset waist trimmer. You won’t be able to stop checking yourself out between sets. 

Bonus points if you smell just as sweet by using Sweet Sweat Tropical gel to transport your senses onto a vacation in the Maldives. 

@izabelag4

2. Remember your training!

Just because you’re back in your preferred exercise environment, doesn’t mean you have to forget all the tips and tricks you learned during your time in quarantine. 

For instance, I found that abbreviated versions of my workouts-from-home make for fantastic warm-ups and muscle activation routines pre-heavy lifting seshes. 

I have now made it a habit to pack my Workout Essential Bundle in my gym bag—and I utilize this equipment to increase my heart rate and activate my core and glutes prior to any weightlifting. 

3. Be kind to yourself.

Prior to COVID-19, I was a Division I athlete who could move 45-pound plates like a sack of flour. Now, I’m an alumnus who can hardly handle a quarter of that weight. 

Guess what? That’s okay.

As I transition back to the gym, it’s important to acknowledge that my strength isn’t what it used to be—not just for my ego’s sake, but to prevent injury. 

Know that as you return to your old routines, you’ll have to build back up to your previous aptitude. Be kind to yourself as you do so. 

It’s comeback season, folks! Let’s get after it—I hope to see you there!


This article was written by Melissa Pelowski. Interested in writing for us too? Email your pitch to submissions@sportsresearch.com for consideration.