How to Modify Your Workout in A Mask - Men's Health Magazine Australia

How to Modify Your Workout in A Mask

Now that we have to wear them.

In case you missed it (which we’re sure you didn’t) but as of yesterday, New South Wales introduced mandatory masks in gyms for the first time ever as part of a new slew of Covid restrictions Whilst sweating it out in a mask isn’t the most enjoyable thing, it is the safest. So how can you be more comfortable while exercising in a mask? We asked two health and fitness experts for their tips.

Focus on Your Breath

“We get it, wearing a mask during exercise takes some getting used to. One way to adjust is by focusing on your breath during a workout,” says Pascal Sedgwick, The Fast 800 Exercise Manager.

“Take deeper, slower inhales through the nose, as well as slower exhales – almost as if you’re meditating. This will prevent you from getting lightheaded and make your workout more successful.

“The more frequently you exercise with a mask, the faster your body will adapt to these new ways of breathing and level of oxygen consumption.

“Breathing through your nose will also decrease the amount of moisture that accumulates on the mask. Win win!”

Know Your Limits

Angharad Saynor, Master Trainer at Infinite Cycle suggests decreasing your intensity level when first exercising with a mask. 

“Don’t expect to be able to perform at the same level you would without a mask and expect to fatigue faster. Your body will adjust trust me!”

“The first time exercising with a mask is going to be the most challenging, each time it gets a little bit easier. Don’t give up on yourself. Taking breaks is expected. Don’t be afraid to ask an instructor to show you breathing techniques or to modify movements for lower impact.”

“The best tip I can give is to be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to pull back, this is new to all of us and our bodies.”

Slow It Down 

“Training in a mask is definitely not something that fitness industry professionals ever thought would have become a part of delivering a workout,” says Adala Bolto, Founder of Zadi Training, “but here we are.”

“My tip from both personal experience in having to train with a mask and deliver sessions wearing a mask is to modify your workout expectations and workout intensity to take into account that it may be very uncomfortable to participate in high intensity workouts with nose and mouth covering.” 

“High intensity is the description or characteristic given to any workout, not necessarily cardio where you are working vigorously, and at an exercise intensity that is 70% – 85% of your maximum heart rate. There is no reason to not train at all, just avoid having to beat your personal bests and be realistic. A great way to stay out of the high intensity zones in your workout is to place more focus on stability, activation and core work. Strength training with lower / slower repetitions VS fast and hard lifting.”

** Always seek advice from a healthcare profession with regards to training in a mask

Sorry Greater Sydney, You’re Going to Have To Wear A Mask At The Gym From 4pm Today

By Nikolina Ilic

Nikolina is the former Digital Editor at Men's Health Australia, responsible for all things social media and .com. A lover of boxing, she has written for Women's Health, esquire, GQ and Vogue magazine.

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