Workouts should make you feel BETTER!
The other day I went to a health fair as one of the vendors and a woman from a massage and chiropractor office came over to me and started talking to me about training.
She told me one of her massage therapists was super into Crossfit and that they got a TON of business from there. She said to me, “Oh you know how it is with all that super intense exercise….So many people get injuries, but it is worth it.”
I’m honestly not sure what I said in response because all I could think was, “UHMMM…NO…Actually I don’t because people come to me feeling crappy with maybe some aches and pains and my intention is to make them feel BETTER not WORSE.”
And I’m not meaning to bash Crossfit here because, to be honest, there are a lot of idiots out there in the fitness industry in a lot of different capacities. Heck, stupid people training themselves injury themselves. But with the popularity of Crossfit increasing, there are going to be more and more idiot trainers flocking to it. It’s that way with anything that becomes popular.
Anyway….My point is that WORKOUTS SHOULDN’T MAKE YOU FEEL WORSE!
I’m not exactly sure when or why a good workout became defined as a workout that murders you. I’m not exactly sure when or why it became cool to be injured.
But let me assure you…It isn’t.
And five years down the road, when other injuries have popped up because you didn’t properly rehab your “cool” injury, you won’t be thinking that pushing through the pain was all that darn awesome.
Workouts can be GOOD and even hard without leading to injury or making you feel like death every time after you finish.
Every workout doesn’t have to feel like a slaughter.
Actually every workout SHOULDN’T feel that way if you are truly interested in getting results.
Just because someone else, who you think you should be lifting as much as, is lifting a certain weight doesn’t mean YOU are ready to lift it.
YOU CAN’T RUSH THINGS OR COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS! Workouts are a BUILDING process. And that progress isn’t going to be a straight line up!
And if you don’t respect the process, you are going to get injured and workouts aren’t going to make you feel better like they should!!!
A couple of months ago, I had this new guy join my latest evening class.
One of the first exercises we did was a single leg deadlift. Because he hadn’t done the move before and hadn’t done much balance or core work recently, he had to use very light weights.
At the end of the workout, he comes up to me a little downtrodden and says, “I was doing way less weight than some of the people I know I should be doing more than.”
I said to him, “Why should you be doing more than them?” I, of course, knew he meant he should be doing more than them because they were older than him and female and he thought as a younger man he should have more strength than them. And he is, in fact, “stronger” than them in that he probably has more natural brut strength.
But when he stated what I mentioned above I said, “But they have done this before AND they have BUILT UP TO IT! Their bodies are ready to handle the load while doing the movement.”
He then said to me, “Well if I held the weight this way or did a double leg move, I could do more.”
I then said, “But this move builds up all the small muscles so that you can lift even MORE when we progress to those bigger, heavier lifts. Plus just because you can lift it, doesn’t really mean your body is ready to.”
He didn’t seem completed convinced. But he has been putting in the work and remained patient.
And guess what? The workouts have been making him feel BETTER and STRONGER every single day.
He just had to stop worrying about what other people were doing or the weight his was doing.
He had to focus on HIS GOALS.
So if your workouts aren’t making you FEEL BETTER, are they really worth it?
Are you too caught up in doing gnarly workouts instead of staying focused on what truly matters?
Crawl, Walk, Run
So I’ve encountered a lot of people recently who are doing exercises and weights way beyond their current abilities.
And they feel entitled to do the workout moves even though they really aren’t doing them correctly.
They feel entitled because they believe they are in shape. Because they’ve been doing intense stuff for years. Because another trainer let them do it.
Well, I’m sorry, but you don’t just get to do an exercise, you have to earn it.
I mean think about it right now…Do you actually do a full push up? Is your push up perfect?
Is your body in a perfectly straight line? Do you touch your chest to the ground and then completely lock out at the top?
Or does your chin jut forward? Are you’re arms at 90 degrees from your body? Do your hips sag toward the ground or is your butt up in the air?
Be honest with yourself because I can tell you now after hours of watching push ups that 95% of the people out there can’t do a push up worth SHIT.
Sorry to curse, but seriously I am just fed up. I saw all these men and women deciding that they deserved to do the toughest push up progression when they honestly weren’t even near ready.
Is it pride or bragging rights or just that we want to be “bad-ass” that make people stupid enough to do something truly beyond their level?
Or do people really just not realize how bad their form is? Do they not equate their nagging injuries to the fact that they are trying to run when they haven’t even learned to crawl properly yet?
And the funniest part is that I don’t consider myself a stickler on form. I believe that there is a scale of “acceptable” form aka form that is good enough that the person won’t get injured, BUT that as the person gets stronger will be worked to be improved.
However, the form I’ve seen is just completely unacceptable especially since people keep pushing to do something harder than they should.
Why does everyone believe they are above progression!?!
SLOW DOWN PEOPLE!
FORM is important to the extent that it PREVENTS INJURIES! And usually correct form means that you are doing something in the most efficient and functional way possible – the way that will truly give you the most power and STRENGTH.
So why waste your time on incorrect form and just keep pushing ahead when you won’t get near as much out of the move as you could if you just slowed down and took the time to properly engage the correct muscles?
Maybe you never thought of it that way…huh?
Stop trying to run before you can walk and walk before you can crawl. If you take the necessary time at each stage, you are going to find that not only will your lifts be stronger but that you will also suffer from fewer injuries!
So try a push up. Before you do that hard variation you saw in the magazine, ask yourself if you can really even do more than one round of 20 perfect push ups in all of the levels leading up to that new variation.
If you can’t, spend some time EARNING that new variation! It may be a great way to motivate yourself to work hard over the next few weeks or months!
Check back soon for a post about how to do a perfect push up…And in the meantime learn how to do a pull up!
The more intensely you work out, the more attention you must pay to your recovery.
Our bodies can get run down by daily life especially when we are working out hard on top of everything else. If we don’t take care of our bodies, then we won’t reap the rewards of all of our workout, and even dieting, efforts!
But recovery doesn’t simply mean taking time off and laying on the couch doing nothing.
Recovery can be active and includes more than just sleep and relaxing. Recovery means stretching and SMR. Recovery means eating correctly and staying hydrated. It can mean contrast showers and icing or applying heat.
It means taking care of any places that need extra TLC.
And it doesn’t mean five seconds of stretching or rolling out. If you actually have areas that feel worn out from the week or bug you from time to time, you have to take care of them.
Ice, stretch, roll out. Do all three and not just every once in a while. Do them every day, numerous times a day to help the problem correct itself more quickly.
More isn’t always better but not enough won’t get you anywhere. If you are a tight person, or have imbalances, rolling out the few times a week you go to the gym (for like a minute before you workout), isn’t going to be enough.
You need to spend time correcting the imbalances. You need to create a program and probably spend time every day for at least a few weeks to help correct the problem.
That can mean activation exercises for the muscles that are underactive. It can mean stretching tight muscles and rolling out knots. It can mean icing muscles that are particularly worn out or areas that get inflamed from lots of use.
It doesn’t mean ignoring the issue or just dealing with the pain. It also doesn’t mean not going to the doctor if your pain is severe or chronic.
BUT it does mean taking care of yourself so that some pain doesn’t become an injury – so that a little tightness or soreness doesn’t turn into an overuse injury or strain.
Even injuries you supposedly “rehabbed” can have long-term consequences if you don’t take care and make sure they are truly recovered. An ankle injury years ago could be the reason why you are now having knee pain, especially if you don’t take care to make sure everything has been rehabbed.
The best recovery program is the one that does something BEFORE you actually have issues!
The better your recovery program, the quicker you will heal from any injuries (or even prevent them from happening in the first place) and the more ready your body will be each week to handle the challenges you throw at it.
So what areas are tight on you? Where do you get knots and soreness? How is your posture? And remember, just because you have low back pain doesn’t mean your low back is tight…it could be a trigger point somewhere else around the area causing the pain!