If you’ve emerged from isolation carrying extra coronavirus kilos you’re not alone.

It’s been one week since gyms and indoor fitness facilities opened in New South Wales after a three-month lockdown hiatus.

Going to a sweaty, people-filled gym might be a bit daunting for some, while others are straight back on the treadmill and booking in their first group class.

But it’s been a wake-up call for many, who feel far from their pre-pandemic selves.

Here’s everything you need to know about hitting the gym again.

Why go back?

For fitness fanatic Bonnie Hale heading back to the gym couldn’t come soon enough, but her body said otherwise.

“I am definitely feeling it in my joints and have been sore, but a good sore, especially the crunches and getting back into weights,” Ms Hale said.

The 28-year-old was laid off from her job but didn’t hesitate to renew her gym membership and personal training sessions.

“You can’t put a price tag on your physical and mental health — I am on JobKeeper but see it as worth it,” she said.

She has scoliosis and was doing some outdoor exercise to manage her back pain, but it wasn’t the same.

“I don’t think you can ever replace the gym, it’s been incredible for my mental health and as a release everything after being unemployed and having my family stuck overseas, but I’ll keep up the running.”

Don’t go too hard

While many of us may be craving that endorphin high or just desperate to get out of the house, personal trainer JJ Coutt is urging gym goers to “ease back into it”.

“Coming back you should train different body parts just twice a week — rather than full body sessions,” he said.

Trainer JJ Coutt is urging gym goers not to go too hard.(ABC News: David Collins)

“Use light weights, 10-12 reps max and focus on your exercise form — then you’ll really reduce your risk of injury and soreness and prevent over doing it.”

However it could be a challenge for some time.

“Unfortunately most of us can’t go back to where we were three months ago.”

And for those who’ve discovered fitness during lockdown — keep it up.

“Take the dog out for a walk, go for a jog, play tennis or try a fitness class and if you’re unsure ask a professional so you’re not starting from scratch or doing any harm,” Mr Coutt said.

How safe is it?

To reopen all gyms must adhere to health recommendations including physical distancing, hygiene, contract tracing, illness and employers duty of care.

Di Galea, manager of Gym 115 in Randwick and Gym 707 in Rozelle, has had to introduce major changes to resume business.

Treadmill with sign that says: "Social distancing please do not use this machine".
Gyms must adhere to health recommendations to reopen.(ABC News: David Collins)

“The class areas have been marked up with tape to ensure people keep their distance, we’ve separated all the equipment, only every second cardio equipment is in use,” Ms Galea said.

“You must bring a bench-size towel, the new warm up and warm down is wiping down equipment, sanitiser is mandatory — but everyone who comes to the gym and my team feels safe,” she said.

For some there’s no concern.

“I feel more safe going to the gym than a grocery store, you’re at a lower risk here because everything is sanitised, people are keeping their distance,” Ms Hale said.

Who isn’t going back

Ms Galea says 90 per cent of the gym’s members have expressed interest in coming back to the gym.

“The other 10 per cent are hesitant which is understandable, especially for those with immune conditions or who live with a vulnerable or elderly person,” Ms Galea said.

“Some are just waiting for a couple of weeks to feel more comfortable about things going back to normal,” she said.

For others the humble home gym that’s seen them through the crisis is enough.



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