We all know exercise is essential for good health but can it become damaging?
You read on the internet about weight training and what exercises you should perform to get a result. But the truth is ‘NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL.’ You are an individual! To prevent, treat, resolve pain and optimize movement or increase performance, an exercise program must be specific to YOU to be beneficial.
There are several reasons why an exercise program has a bad effect on your health. A few of these reasons are:
- your routine is not specific to your health and injury history
- muscle imbalance that your program is not focusing on
- the intensity of exercise is too sudden or not well planned
- the exercises are performed with the wrong technique
- Too much load, going too heavy too quickly with bad form
- overtraining and not recovering
- not eating enough nutrients – vitamin or mineral deficiency
- underlying health problems – high blood pressure, CV disease, arthritis (these all have to be taken into consideration when designing the right program)
- You are training with an injury or flaring up old ones.
A movement assessment and few tests should be completed before creating a program.
So what are the signs that your program is Damaging?
You are experiencing pain during or after training
Forget about the ‘no pain no gain’ sentence. You might experience discomfort during exercise. That is due to the built-up lactic acid when there’s not enough oxygen in the muscles to break down glucose and glycogen. Pain occurs when you are injuring yourself or flaring up an old injury. Your body gives signs to try and protect you. Signs that your body needs preparation for that curtain movement. For example: If you have a muscle imbalance or you have been performing certain movements with a bad technique for a long time, you can experience pain during specific exercises.
Hip or ankle imbalance, restricted mobility, poor hip or foot stability, and poor programming can lead to knee pain.
You are continuously injured
It kind of comes with the one mentioned previously. However, this means that you are unable to train or to do specific exercises. Or can’t perform high-intensity training. Even in the worst cases, you are unable to complete daily tasks with ease. When even walking, bending, carrying feels painful it might mean you have ignored the signs for too long.
Racing heart rate while not exercising or getting breathless with mild exertion
While training we have elevated heart rate, but your heart racing and being breathless with mild exertion can be the sign of overtraining or inappropriate training. Here can be a problem with the intensity and the volume. Even full-time athletes have low stressor days. These are the days they do less intense exercise, which can include: Yoga, Low-Intensity Steady State Cardio, General weight training for injury prevention (not heavyweight or max load or Olympic weightlifting, etc…), they sleep and eat nutrients and recover well so they can work on their PEAK. That means you should as well. Your job and how stressed you are, have to be taken into consideration when designing a program. These are called non-exercise Stressors. These are everything that happens to you in your personal and professional life. Read Causes of stress! These stressors have a big effect on your performance! All these added together can lead to an injury. It can also be something more severe cause, so keep your eye on the signs and see your doctor if it is getting worse.
You are not getting result!
I am putting this under the damaging category as result in my opinion does not only mean ‘the perfect body. But that you are optimizing movements, treating or preventing and resolving pain, and living a better quality of life. Isn’t this something very important for us all? So we can work, spend time with loved ones, and work out and enjoy life? Of course, it is! If you are not getting result while doing everything as it is in your program, is more likely that it was not designed to your individual needs. Sometimes you might just want to get in shape, but a good trainer should evaluate how to keep you safe while getting your desired result!
Focus on Intensity Over Form
I am giving this a separate point. Gradually progressing is important, but as I mentioned before only when it is safe to do so. This is why evaluation comes first so we know what are the strength and what are the weaknesses.
Getting someone tired is easy, but making someone better is hard. Just because someone is overly exhausted after a session does not mean that session was beneficial at all. Focus on form, technique first if you want to carry on training for a long time!
Debbie G. started training with me around 2 years ago. She lost over 50kg and now she is a Personal Trainer herself. She found her passion in health and fitness. My website is all over her. I am very proud of her what she achieved. She was bored of doing cardio, and that was her wish. ‘I hate cardio and I would love to try something new.’ Most of her work out was made of weight training, of course high and low stressor days was included. We than used kettlebells and done short high-intensity work end of the weight sessions when she was ready. A program does not have to be boring neither intense 6 times a week to get result, but finding joy in an exercise will give you result, because that is long-lasting with no expiry date! It is a lifestyle. Getting in shape for a holiday probably will last until that holiday comes. Set goals that are big and break it down to small ones so you always have something to aim for.
Hope you enjoyed this blog!