Injured? Not Funny!

Do you know people who talk about their injuries with great pride? As if it’s an award defining their supreme exercise prowess? Could be it’s actually defining their lack of training and common sense.

“There’s a pain of injury and a pain of adaptation—one is bad, and the other is good,” says Equinox Advisory Board Member Justin Mager, Ph.D., a San Francisco Bay Area-based exercise physiologist and physician.

This quote was originally in an article at It’s a terrific article about the pain you should have from a workout and what you want to avoid. The purpose of my article is to speak directly to the issues which may arise from mismatched workouts. Good workout — wrong client doing it. It’s the responsibility of the trainer to be sure the workout design, and intensity, are matched to the individual. Insuring they are fit enough to handle it. The client has to give feedback — and don’t whine.


Gym Talk: Who has the best injury?

Couch potato to fitness champ doesn’t happen overnight, and often you can find yourself being pushed too fast. The supportive trainer assures you the exercise is just great for you, and you’re getting better and stronger. You probably are. It’s what is happening inside the body that concerns me. While doing new exercise routines you’ll hurt all over — screaming agony in your muscles and lungs. It’s new, and for someone who has never moved, let alone exercised at this level it could be a prescription for injury.

The first thing you and your trainer must discover is how your body moves. There may be things going on of which you aren’t even aware. Discovering the range of motion, the limitations of any nature will be seen when the trainer does a Movement Screen. This is done with a series of tests followed by moderately boring routine that will show strengths, weaknesses and sets the limits. It doesn’t take forever, normally one or two sessions is enough for your trainer to discover all they need to know about your body.

As long as the trainer thinks in terms of the “long run” you’ll be okay. It’s the trainers who try to get you fast results that opens you to potential injury. Fast results gets your attention. You lose weight and inches and you think your trainer is awesome, and perhaps they are. Few trainers will take the slow and steady approach to fitness. This microwave society we live in refuses to let our minds accept slow…we want fast. Fast is More. More is good, but recognize you have to pace yourself.

The other half of the responsibility rests with you. Communication is key to reducing risk of injury. The trainer dictates your workout based on what they observe about you and what you tell them. Without feedback they will assume you are ready to go “balls to the wall” whether or not you are actually ready for it. If you have had surgery for anything it will be at least a year before you are ready to resume a normal routine in the gym. Modifications will have to be made. Even tho you might think you are okay — you aren’t. I have a client who just returned from an ankle replacement. Never heard of that before, but her ankle was shattered. No bone, nothing in there. She recognizes she cannot jump or hop or plyometrics EVER in her life. I also explained that we would be holding off on the normal leg press, hack squat kind of exercises for quite a while. The thing is, sometimes you can do the exercise and the body doesn’t complain….then later you are crippled. Be smart. Find another way to work an injured body. Don’t try to be a hero.

Be Well!

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