Losing the pandemic pounds after three months of closed fitness centers

Gym goers seek motivation on return to working out
Posted at 4:31 AM, Jun 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-25 18:39:57-04

TIMMONIUM, Md. — After three months of lockdown, many people found staying in shape to be a challenge.

The only exercise some might have gotten was a walk to the kitchen for more snacks.

Now that gyms are back open, some gym goers are wondering how to get back into their routine, stay motivated, and stay safe while they lose the extra weight.

For anyone who’s put on a few extra pounds during the pandemic, there’s no time like the present to lose them.

Gym goer Wayne Jung said “I basically was three months [of] inactivity so the gym opening up was very exciting, to get back to work, gained about 10 pounds at home, which wasn't good."

Since the stay-at-home order restrictions have been lifted, Jung is ready to lift some weights.

“I’m going to do every other day, but I’m going very slow. Three months off, you've got to baby yourself back into it. Of course I’m a little bit sore, but I’m trying to be smart on what I’m doing and just keep the workouts light until I can build myself back up to where I was," Jung said.

Brick Bodies CEO Vicki Brick said "you have to retrain the body all over again. You lose your cardio stamina, you lose your strength, there's muscle atrophy. So, the body is a fine tuned equipment that you constantly have to work on, and so if you don't do anything for three months, then it's like you're starting from scratch all over again."

Brick recognizes what effects three months of social distancing, staying at home, and not going to the gym have had on some people's bodies and minds.

“They need some sort of healing. Whether it's physical healing, mental healing, emotional healing, they need to do something. The nice thing is from a fitness center, from a gym, you're able to get all of those healing aspects whether it's working out, whether it's social interaction, whether it's a stress relief. Exercise has the ability to do that," Brick said.

Brick recommends setting some goals for yourself to stay motivated, although it might take more than working up a sweat to get back in the habit of going to the gym again.

“Sometimes people try on a pair of pants or an outfit, and it fits tight and that is what's motivating them. There's usually some sort of triggering event that takes people to move them," Brick said.

“I got used to coming every other day, and that's got to be the commitment. Once you get here, it all falls into place, but you actually have to come, and do the work," Jung said.

Meanwhile, Brick couldn't be happier just to be back in business.

“I emailed my team the other day, I said thank you guys for helping to bring my baby back to life. I feel like we birthed this business and you work so hard and then to have it just shut down for three months where you have little to no control. It’s been crippling and very challenging," Brick said.

“Fortunately, we've been able to take a lot of our offerings online to the virtual world but even with that you're limited. Nothing replaces the human interaction. Nothing replaces the community and the energy that you feel within a club," Brick added.

Workouts look a little different post lockdown since gym goers will find signs and markings to remind people to remain six feet apart, as well as the wearing of masks.

“When you're on actual equipment, you're allowed to take the mask and bring it down, but it's not that big a deal. We’ve all had three months of wearing the mask, and I’m used to it at this point," Jung said.

Before anyone gets ready to hop on the elliptical, ride a bike, or pump some iron, they'll have to schedule an appointment online first.

“We're doing a reservation system. Every 90 minutes, blocks, and then after those 90 minutes blocks, we close the facility for 15 minutes and do a deep cleaning,” Brick said.

It not only helps gym managers control the size of the crowds in the age of COVID-19 but it could have a beneficial side-effect and help some people stick to a plan.

“When you make an appointment or reservation to the time to join the club, you feel like you're making that commitment to yourself and to your body. So, it helps to hold people accountable. Working with a personal trainer is another great way to increase that accountability," Brick said.

Jung has made a commitment of his own to stay motivated as he returns to the gym for the first time in months.

“You got to get back in that routine of every other day, and I’ve got a goal. Lose that 10 pounds," Jung said.

Read Maryland's guidelines for best practices for fitness centers during the pandemic here.