I’d love to see a world where obesity is obsolete and fitness rules. The change will come when the consumer demands that trainers stop teaching extreme for extreme’s sake. Honestly few can really do an extreme workout without fear of injury, but gyms are full of people who jump into workouts before they are ready — because they trust the trainer.
When we think of exercise we need to purge the thought that there can be no gain without PAIN. Knowing what we do about the body and bio-mechanics we understand it just isn’t valid anymore. Rather than “No Pain, No Gain” the saying should be “Pain Means You Have a Problem.” However, gym rats and avid runners insist they can work through the pain.
Pain is an early warning signal that there’s a problem with the body. You may have some aches and pains right now, but haven’t stopped to acknowledge them. They begin with incipient tweaks, easily ignored. If you pay attention to your body you may recognize small issues such as an increasing limit to the range of motion in your joints (hips and knees usually). This can even be a stiffness when you stand because the knee doesn’t want to straighten. Then there are the nagging pains that we qualify as being “not very bad”. Finally the dull ache. I guess we think injury has to come with blood.
Pain is an indicator that something isn’t working right. Chronic or persistent pain, a hitch, a bothersome knot in a muscle are precursors to injury. Instead people consider injury to be their “red badge of courage”. It shows that they are a true exerciser, a die-hard who refuses to give up. The fitness industry is partly to blame. Trainers have started calling their clients warriors as if laying your life on the line is a necessary ingredient for health. This couldn’t be further from the truth and I believe this kind of thinking is what keeps people away from fitness and exercise. I know I would shy away from an activity if I knew it would hurt — and then I had to pretend I liked it!
In reality you need to recognize the warning signs I mentioned above and don’t let anybody tell you to work through it. Back off a little bit. A good trainer can tell you how to rest and recover from said injury as well as how to target the area with mobility work. If you get ahead of any issue you can reverse the damage. Start by dealing with stiffness and restricted movement.
Restricted Movement Often this is caused by a restriction of the fascia. (See my article Wrapped Too Tight?). Foam rollers to break up the fascia followed by stretching will help this issue. Don’t forget to add rest as part of the formula for recovery.
Other Pain Issues This is difficult to discuss with a post of this nature because where the pain is, what the pain is like and what inflames the pain are different for every case. The underlying cause is usually imbalance. There are muscles stronger in one place, tight in another, and weak in yet another. You are all caddywhompus! Period! Consult a personal trainer trained in rehabilitation or exercise science. They’ll get you moving again.