Fitness Instructor’s Tips For Working Out After a Break

how to come back from hiatus

I’ve worked out a lot in the past few months. In fact, you could say I was one of those people who fully embraced the at-home gym lifestyle. But as much as I thrived with my running challenges, online workout classes, and experimental workouts, even I needed a break.

Naturally, I encourage and support rest days, but for me this turned into a rest week. And then a rest month. I took so much time off that I found myself a little nervous to rejoin my favorite online workout class. As I’ve decided to dust off my favorite UA HOVR™ Machina Running Shoes ($150) and get to moving again, I’ve found myself a little more resistant than normal.

To help me get over that fear and offer up some tips for anyone like me who may have found themselves in a bit of a workout hiatus, I turned to one of the instructors I tune into most while working out at home, Peloton instructor Selena Samuela.

Samuela, who tackles everything from running to bootcamp, shared with me her top five tips for any athlete — no matter the level — for returning to an active lifestyle after a break.

All about timing

“Take your time and take the time to go back to basics,” said Samuela. In this instance, she emphasized the importance of focusing on form. “If [you’re] lifting, don’t let your ego get in the way,” she said. “It’s an easy way to hurt yourself jumping right back into where you left off. Instead, accept that you will need to build back up to it. That starts with form, good form will get you progressing faster and avoiding injuries.”

Think of the big picture

Be sure to focus on total work time rather than pace if you’re focusing on a cardio workout, explained Samuela. Although I’ve found myself frustrated that I’m not able to get my 5K pace as fast as it was in the spring, the important thing is that I’m getting out there and still able to run for 30 minutes. Like Samuela suggested, sometimes it’s important to focus on the bigger picture of the workout. Details like speed and pace are things you can always build back up.

Make it fun

“Do the things you enjoy the most first,” said Samuela. Whether that’s a certain sport like running, cycling, yoga, or lifting or it’s the social aspect of working out, finding what is fun to you about your workout is essential. If you prefer adding in a little social touch, Samuela suggested working out with a buddy or taking a virtual fitness class with a friend via an online platform like the Peloton App. As someone who has relied upon the fitness community more than ever before, I can attest that recruiting your friends for virtual workouts is a great way to stay accountable and excited for your workout.

Always warm up

According to Samuela, this is something you simply shouldn’t skip. “Make sure your

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A spin class became a superspreader event. Why are fitness instructors excluded from workers’ compensation if they fall ill on the job?

Back injuries, knee pain, shoulder problems — and now, COVID-19.

They are daily risks faced by fitness instructors and personal trainers across the province. But unlike millions of employees in other sectors, gym staff are not entitled to workers’ compensation when they get sick or hurt on the job.

It’s a long-standing exclusion to the workers’ compensation system that critics say needs urgent change, especially in light of a Hamilton spin studio outbreak that may have exposed upwards of 2,500 people to COVID. Two staff members at the studio contracted the virus.

“Our bodies are on the line,” said Toronto-based group fitness instructor Vidya Sri. “The laws are completely out of date.”

Under current provincial legislation, gyms and fitness studios are exempt from mandatory workers’ compensation coverage. That means they do not need to pay insurance premiums to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board — and their employees cannot access benefits following a workplace accident or illness.

Gyms can voluntarily opt into the workers’ compensation system. There are 1,653 fitness establishments in Ontario, according to Statistics Canada; of those, 24 have elected to provide compensation coverage to workers, data from the WSIB shows.

Coverage means workers are eligible for loss-of-earning or health-care benefits following a work-related illness or injury.

A 2019 report on working conditions in the Ontario fitness sector by Larry Savage, a professor of labour studies at Brock University, found nearly a third all instructors and trainers had sustained an injury on the job. Half reported not having paid sick days.

“The lack of WSIB coverage and paid sick days make gym and fitness club workers less willing to disclose illness or injuries out of fear of reprisal or loss of income,” Savage said.

“The pandemic only makes this bad situation worse by increasing the likelihood that clients and other workers will contract COVID-19 if gym and fitness club workers decide to come in to work sick in order to avoid loss of pay.”

As part of his research, Savage told the Star he made inquiries with the Ministry of Labour about the history of the gym exclusion but “no one could or was willing to explain” why it existed.

Around 76 per cent of Ontario workplaces are required to pay into workers’ compensation. Legislative change is needed to amend the list of excluded employers. When asked if the government is considering reform, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour said workers’ health and safety was its “top priority.”

“With only a handful of exceptions, those workplaces that aren’t subject to mandatory coverage can choose to purchase coverage from the WSIB,” the statement said.

Planet Fitness outlets account for 10 of the gyms that voluntarily signed up for coverage, according to the WSIB’s data. Other than F45 Guelph, part of a relatively new but popular fitness chain, none of the gyms that opted into the workers’ compensation system are major players. (Other establishments included the “Orillia Agricultural Society” and “Retro Rollers.”)

In response to questions from the Star,

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