Getting back to the gym tough on body and mind

Dinette Wilford 3 minute read July 19, 2021

Work out or work in progress?

With gyms reopening, many are pumped about returning to their regular routines.

But along with the physical aspects of getting back to pre-pandemic-style workouts are the mental hurdles.

For some, that’s not so easy.

Like everyone else, Lori-Ann McLeod, founder, owner, and lead trainer of ONYX Fit in Milton, had to pivot when COVID-19 hit.

Lockdowns forced her to close her doors, then reopen, three times. Her studio has been running virtual classes for the last 18 months — along with offering outdoor workouts when restrictions permitted — but all the back and forth has taken a toll on her and her members.


“Some were at a great place in their fitness health and wellness but when COVID hit, they just kind of stopped,” said McLeod, who listed mental health issues, loss of income, and balancing working from home with kids as some factors that are to blame.

“People are so hard on themselves, and many feel like they can’t get back into it. They think they need to get in shape before they get back to the gym.”

That feeling of being judged by others still remains, even after all this time stuck at home, said McLeod.

“People just need to get over the fact that no one is looking at them, and everyone is just trying to get through their own day, their own workout, after a year and a half.”


While there were many who were able to maintain a fitness routine, there are others who truly need to ease back into it and save themselves from any injuries. That’s the last thing anybody wants, after all this time.

People will want to pick up right where they left off and push themselves hard, but McLeod advised it’s best to start slow and steady, take things day by day, and listen to your body.

“We used to live in this world where everything was go, go, go, so to try and get back in that mentality again, people can end up injuring themselves or end up being so sore and need days or weeks to recover,” said McLeod.

Then there are the people who used the pandemic as a time to just let themselves go – and that’s OK!

McLeod insisted you don’t need a fancy diet plan or personal trainer to get into shape; you just need to get past that mental hump, and you’ll start to see results after a few weeks.


“Get moving again, get back to that healthy nutrition, and as soon as you get past that three-week mark, you start to feel good and back on track,” she said.

She also suggested finding a support system, whether it’s people who are like-minded or a community-based program like ONYX Fit.

“Getting back into it will be tough, but it’s going to take time. For some, it’s like starting over,” said McLeod. “People need to just go slow, be careful, and be kind to themselves.”

She added: “We’re all doing the best we can, but in the end, we have to get back to life. We have to start living again.”