If You’re Going Back To The Gym, Avoid These 9 Things

And what experts want you to do during COVID instead.

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Don't Do What You Don't Need To

Showering at your gym might have been part of your ritual pre-COVID, but Emma Middlebrook, a personal trainer and the owner of REP Movement, says that if you don't need to do something... don't. That also includes hugging your gym buddies.


Don't Put Your Sweaty Towels On Public Surfaces

Bianca Russo, a personal trainer and founder of Body Positive Bootcamp, says that the common gym practice of tossing your towel on a nearby bench is officially canceled. Keep it slung across your shoulders instead.


Avoid The Big Weights For A Minute

If you feel safe going back, you'll have access to lots of weights for the first time in months. "You might be tempted to pick up some heavy weights," Middlebrook says, but your muscles might not be ready. Avoid injury and ego-bruising.


Don't Work Out On The Floor

Russo says that you might usually dive down for some core work, but if you absolutely have to roll around on the ground, do it with your own yoga mat from home. "You don't know what side went down on the floor with communal yoga mats," she says.


Don't Forget To Wash Your Hands

This one's a pandemic basic, but don't let it fall to the wayside just because you're excited to be reunited with your fave fitness space. Shower when you get home for good measure too, Russo says.


Don't Radically Change Your Routine

You likely developed some new workout habits during quarantine, and Russo cautions not to abandon them. Transition your routine slowly, rather than expecting your body to pick up where you left off in March.


Be Careful With Cardio

Take it easy on the rowing machine or treadmill, Russo warns. "Build up your cardio slowly over time," she says. The last thing you want is to overload your heart rate before you've even had the chance to enjoy being back.


Don't Skimp On Stretching

"Make sure you do a proper warm-up and cool down," Middlebrook says. It might not seem fancy, but you've got to slowly ease your muscles, heart and lungs, and nervous system in and out of each workout.


Wear Your Mask

Make like Darth Vader and keep your mask on, Middlebrook says. Go a little slower and wear one that doesn't stick to your nose so you can breathe — but even if your gym allows unmasking, keep the darn thing on.