Gerard “Coach G” Burley is a wellness expert and owner of Sweat DC. (Courtesy Photo)

By Gerard “Coach G” Burley
Wellness Expert and Sweat DC Owner

If you’re like most other Americans, you likely have been struggling with keeping your fitness goals throughout the pandemic. In fact, according to an American Psychological Association survey, 61% of U.S. adults reported undesired weight changes since the COVID-19 outbreak. However, getting back into a routine doesn’t have to be complicated, and you might even be overthinking the process. Here are three simple pointers to keep in mind to help you ease back into a healthy fitness routine. 

All movement matters. Oftentimes we put so much emphasis on making sure we complete a 30-60 minute workout session most days of the week. This is a great goal, but we know that when life gets in the way, that HIIT (high intensity interval training), yoga class or morning run you had planned might not happen. Instead of thinking of a missed workout as a total loss, instead look for ways to increase your movement throughout the day. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car in the furthest parking spot, or set an alert reminding you to take a five minute walk around the block every hour. No matter whether your movement for the day comes packaged all together or spread out, it all counts. 

Burn more calories with strength training versus cardio. Many of us have been conditioned to think that cardio based workouts (cycling, running, using the elliptical machine etc.) are always the go-to for losing weight. While it’s true that you typically can burn more calories during those cardio sessions, strength training is more effective for building muscles, which is important for you to burn calories even at rest. So if you want to think big and long-term for your fitness goals, you should incorporate strength training and cardio into your routines. If going to a gym and lifting weights on your own seems intimidating, consider working with a personal trainer or trying the Sweat Strength and Conditioning classes at SWEAT DC in the District where coaches will lead you while you get the benefit of a motivating group setting.

Instead of thinking of a missed workout as a total loss, instead look for ways to increase your movement throughout the day. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash)

Don’t sleep on sleep. Your workouts and your eating plans are always important factors in finding success with your fitness goals, but your sleeping habits are also crucial. Did you know you must sleep for your workouts to really work? Sleep helps you to save energy, recover, repair and rebuild the muscles you’ve worked during exercise. Without adequate sleep, the other elements of your fitness routine simply won’t work. According to the National Sleep Foundation, healthy adults should aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night, and babies, young children and teens need even more. 

The most important part of getting back into your fitness routine is to just get started. Life has been difficult for nearly the last two years, so go easy on yourself. Other priorities took over, but now you get the chance to prioritize your health. This is especially key for those in Black and elderly populations that have been hurt especially hard during the pandemic. We now know more than ever, we really have to exercise our own power to manage our own health. 

Gerard Burley, also known as Coach G, is a wellness expert and the owner of Sweat DC.

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