Accredited Exercise Physiologist - Sophie Pacek

Sophie Pacek

Exercise Physiologist, Healthy Connections

As you may be aware, our clinic at Kuran Street reopened as of last week. It was lovely to see many of our clients resuming their gym sessions. To ensure everyone’s safety, we have put a few changes in place according to government regulations around hygiene and social distancing. One of these changes is limiting sessions to 45 minutes, which for some of you is shorter than usual. So how do you get the most out of your time at the gym? Here is my advice.

Tips for being gym-smart

There is a pre-screening process undertaken before you are permitted into the gym, so allow the time to complete this process, place your belongings in a locker and collect your program card from one of our exercise physiologists.

If it is your first few sessions back at the clinic, your body has probably changed in terms of strength and fitness since your last session. As the famous saying goes: ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it’. Even if you have still been physically active over our closure period, your body adapts to the SPECIFIC exercise being performed. Starting light means that you are less likely to cause significant soreness or injury and more likely to progress your exercises. Remember it’s all about progressive overload (see my blog here for more info).

Regardless of the time constraint, do not skip your warm-up. Warm-up activities help the body prepare to exercise by increasing body temperature and blood flow to the exercising muscles. Blood delivers oxygen and heat to these muscles which reduces the chance of muscle and tendon injury (AHA, 2020).

This will depend on a few factors like your exercise goals, equipment availability and what you can do at home. For example, someone who wants to improve their strength who doesn’t have any weights at home would benefit from prioritising exercises on their program that use weights (e.g. resistance machines, dumbbells) at the gym over other activities like balance, stretching or body weight exercises that could potentially be performed at home. In contrast, someone who wants to improve their flexibility and stability should prioritise these types of exercise so they can gain advice on technique from staff. If you are unsure which exercises you should prioritise, please speak to your supervising exercise physiologist for assistance.

We are still here to answer your questions, monitor your technique and modify exercises according to any changes in your health.

Allow the final 5-10 minutes of your session for an aerobic cool-down and stretches. Cooling down is just as important as warming up because it assists the body to return to a resting state (AHA, 2020). Your heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, respiration rate and blood flow rise during exercise so stopping too fast may cause you to feel sick (AHA, 2020). Exercising muscles will also benefit from stretches to avoid cramping and soreness.

This will be true for many of you. I would suggest sticking to the tips above as well as consider the following:

• Warming up before arriving at the gym – have an outdoor warm-up like walking in the park or cycling to the gym.

• For any exercises that you run out of time to complete, start with these exercises at your next session.

I hope you find these tips helpful so you can get the most out of your gym sessions. Thank you for your patience over this time and we appreciate your understanding that the current protocols are in place for your safety.

I am looking forward to seeing more of you at the clinic!

Stay safe, wash your hands and keep moving!



AHA. (2020). Warm up, cool down. Retrieved from