Like a lot of people, I too got a bit too lazy during the pandemic. Working from home, the closing of gyms and the shorter daylight periods all contributed to doing almost nothing in the fitness department. Now that we see the end in sight (which in my estimate will be late summer, early autumn), we can start preparing for when we return to a higher activity level.
This is a guide mainly aimed at people who want to start a new sport, but those who want to get back into shape to continue what they did before the pandemic might find it useful too.
When I was actively doing Martial Arts, a lot of people told me that they really want to join, but can’t at the moment as they are not prepared to do so at the moment. Of course, these people never got around to be prepared, they never showed up at the club no matter how I assured them that no previous experience or minimum fitness level is required.
A lot of people are afraid to be bad at first, but no matter how prepared you think you are, you will still be bad. That is the nature of trying new things. All you need to do is not to stop and soon you will get better.
Still, to quell the voice that panics in your head screaming “I’m not ready for this!”, you can do a lot of things to ease your start in your sports career.
Decide what to do
The first thing you have to do is to make a decision. Set a goal. Are you going to continue your BJJ classes or are you going to take up archery? Doesn’t really matter, but you have to set a goal first.
Find a club
Doing sports alone in most cases just doesn’t work. First of all, you need to study how to do the sport and you can’t do that from Youtube. You need an instructor and you also need partners and a supportive community.
Finding a gym or a sports club is the way. Go on Google maps and find something preferably close by. Read the reviews, look up the instructor.
If not for the pandemic, I would advise you to go to a few workouts and see if you like what’s going on there. Of course, this is not a responsible thing to do right now, but looking up what’s available after the pandemic will help you focus.
Just to be clear, do not go to training during the pandemic. Please wait until this thing is over and most people are vaccinated, especially you!
Do some research
If you want to get good in a sport, it is not enough just to go to the training, you have to know the field in depth. Getting info now is really easy, you just have to dedicate time to study too.
Get to know the glossary, read articles, look up the current champions and watch professional events to familiarize yourself with the sport.
Looking up instructional videos is also a great way to expand your knowledge, but be careful about trying to imitate what you see. Most people are not able to flawlessly copy the precise movements, it is much better if you learn them from a qualified instructor. Getting rid of bad habits is harder than you think.
Hold on with getting gear
The first instinct of many when starting a new sport is to buy everything they will ever need as soon as possible. This is usually a bad decision as you have no idea what you really need. You should wait until you can ask the opinion of your instructor and training partners.
Up your fitness level
This is what we are talking about, this is how you can prepare best for the time when you can finally go to the first workout session…
Set a sleep schedule
Having a strict and constant sleep schedule with 7 to 9 hours of sleep will do wonders to your physical and mental state. Try to set a daily schedule of when to wake up and when to go to sleep and force yourself to adhere to it. You will thank me later 🙂
I’m not saying that all you eat is trash, but you surely can do better than what you do know. If you want to get in shape, at least half of the job is following a diet that will uncrapify your body. There are millions of options for this and you don’t even have to starve or suffer to reach your goals. Maybe try Intermittent fasting or the No S Diet.
No wonder why all fitness wearables push the 10000 steps a day goal. It’s easy and just works – if you do it every day. Maybe you shouldn’t drive the grocery if there is a shop in walking distance. Maybe you should choose the stairs instead of the elevator… Maybe just go and take a walk while you listen to your favorite podcasts?
This is a much harder thing to do than just to ommit sugary drinks and walk daily. Jogging is my nemesis, I really just hate it with all my heart. Still, this is the best exercise to prepare you for the strenous activities you will do after the pandemic.
Basic bodyweight exercises
Most sport include strengt building exercises and you can do some at home too. Basic squats, pushups and crunches come to mind, but there are a lot of exercises to choose from. You can go online or download apps that will provide you with exercise plans to follow.
Doing a few light stretches before and after jogging and bodyweight exercises helps to prevent injuries. If you are planning to do Martial Arts, you might also want to be more focused on stretching as these types of sports do require a lot of flexibility. You can find a lot of instructional materials online, just be sure to be careful. If it hurts a little, that’s okay, but if it hurts a lot, you are doing it wrong and will be injured.
This is the time when you should be your own coach. Start right away, don’t wait for tomorrow. Just do some light exercises for 20 minutes a day and you’re already on the right track.