New Year, New You

New Year, New You

A Physiotherapist’s Guide to a Smart Gym Comeback:

Happy New Year! As we embark on this fresh chapter, many of you may be eager to kickstart your fitness journey or resume your regular gym routine. I’m Sarah, your dedicated physiotherapist at South Eastern Sports Podiatry, and I’m here to guide you through the best practices for returning to the gym safely, maximising your workouts, and achieving your fitness goals.


Start Gradually:

It’s natural to feel enthusiastic and motivated to push your limits after a break. However, it’s crucial to ease back into your routine gradually. Our Physiotherapist advised to begin with a lighter weight, and keep reps to a number which you could do 2-3 more, rather than pushing into failure. This approach helps prevent injuries and reduces the risk of muscle soreness. Gradually increase the weight and intensity over a period of 3-4 weeks. 


Focus on Full-Body Workouts:

Engage multiple muscle groups with full-body exercises to optimise your time at the gym. Incorporate compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. These exercises not only target various muscle groups but also promote overall strength and stability.Our Physio also advises to change up using different areas of the body, rather than completing all your exercises on the same body part (ie: just legs or just arms) for your session, as this will cause increased injury risk, fatigue, and long lasting muscle soreness.


Perfect Your Form:

Correct form is paramount in preventing injuries and ensuring the effectiveness of your workout. If you’re unsure about your technique, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from gym staff or consider a session with a personal trainer. Maintaining proper form not only enhances results but also contributes to long-term joint health. Using the machines in the gym, rather than free weights, is also a safer method if you are unsure of technique and trying to build confidence in the gym.


Reps and Sets:

Understanding the optimal number of repetitions (reps) and sets for your fitness goals is essential. For general fitness and endurance, aim for 2-4 sets of 12-15 reps. If your goal is strength, focus on fewer reps (around 6-8) with heavier weights and longer rest times between sets. Adjust these parameters based on your individual fitness level and preferences.


Listen to Your Body:

Pay attention to your body’s signals. If you experience pain beyond the usual muscle soreness, it’s crucial to address it promptly. Pushing through pain can lead to injuries and setbacks. Consult with a healthcare professional, like myself, if you have concerns or if pain persists.


Warm-Up and Cool Down:

Don’t skip the warm-up and cool-down phases of your workout. A proper warm-up prepares your body for exercise by increasing blood flow and flexibility, while a cool-down helps prevent muscle stiffness and aids in recovery. Spend 5-10 minutes on each to enhance the overall effectiveness of your routine. An ideal warm-up can include exercises such as banded side-steps, dead bugs or bent-knee fall-outs, cat-cow stretch and book opening stretch. It is also a good idea for your first set of your exercises to be slightly lighter to allow your muscles to warm up for that particular movement.


Hydration and Nutrition:

Remember to stay hydrated throughout your workout and maintain a balanced diet to support your fitness goals. Proper hydration and nutrition play a crucial role in performance, recovery, and overall well-being. Make sure you drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout, and eat carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of completing your workout.


As you embark on your fitness journey this year, keep in mind that consistency is key. Whether you’re a seasoned gym-goer or a beginner, South Eastern Sports Podiatry is here to support you every step of the way. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to schedule an appointment with me to discuss your individualised fitness plan HERE


Wishing you a healthy and active start to 2024!