When it comes to exercise its often hard to know when to push and when to stop: when “pain” is good and when it’s warning sign. It’s also good to decipher when you’re just being “lazy” or you really need the rest—mentally and physically.
First of all, exercise has a huge mental component that we all tend to forget. First, you need to make a commitment. It starts there. Whether its learning to play an instrument, speak another language, or get in better shape, it starts with commitment and continues and grows with consistency. You will not see results by dabbling or working out once a week. Even a CONSISTENT 15 minutes a day, especially if its at an intense level will yield you better results then once a week.
SORE AFTER MY WORKOUT: MUSCLE MICROTRAUMA
What happens to your muscles when you work out? If you are new to exercising, or starting a new training regimen or just getting back into shape, expect to feel sore after your workout or within the next 24 hours. Your muscles tear. This is known as muscle microtrauma. These tears are the signals your body requires in order to repair itself during rest. The repair work slowly creates the strength. The tears actually stimulate the process. This is normal. It causes a little soreness which is why you need the recovery or rest in between workouts. This is the process of getting stronger and fitter. I call this growing pains.
In lieu of a complete day off, sometimes people work different body parts on different days or emphasize different areas if doing total body workouts. If there’s no incidence of a little soreness or fatigue, then you’re probably not working hard enough. Let me emphasize, I mean MODERATE to a little soreness or fatigue, NOT I can’t walk or lift my arm. A little soreness is normal. Know that newbies, especially, are gonna feel aches and pains. There’s also often a lot of tightness issues if you’re just getting back in shape. Make sure to stretch after a workout.
PROCRASTINATION OR FATIGUE
You most likely know this feeling: you need to get a workout in but your body and mind are just not wanting to cooperate. Your mind is telling you that you can do it later and you find yourself on the internet, or texting your friend, or going back to sleep. You may even feel a little tired. Well here’s the question, How tired? I definitely have mornings like this including some where a buy more time sitting in the gym parking lot sipping my coffee. But ultimately I feel much better once I push myself and get there. Sometimes the fatigue lingers for a little while but once I start moving, like 5-10 minutes into my workout I got my mojo going. Im feeling good. This is when to push– when the fatigue is not heavy, its just more mental.
But then there’s serious fatigue. I’ve also had times when I just can’t seem to wake up. And I do crawl back into bed and sleep like a rock. My body needed it. I know because I fall fast and deeply back to sleep. If you’re that tired, give in to it. But notice if it becomes a pattern. If it is, either you’re coming down with something like a cold, the workout time is unworkable, and or you’re chronically sleep deprived. I’ve been there. I’ve also tried pushing when I was exhausted and I couldn’t last 5 mins on the treadmill.
Revisit your commitment. 15 minutes a day could be all you need if you can budget the time. Once you’re caught up on sleep, if that’s the issue. See how you can budget your time.
FIRST TIME FEELING A PARTICULAR PAIN
If it’s the first time you’re feeling a pain in a certain area, notice if it’s a dull ache or a sharp pain and how long its been going on. A sharp pain means STOP. A dull ache could mean you injured it and your pushing it or you just worked it too hard. In the case of a dull ache, carefully, finish the workout, then ice and foam roll that specific area when you get home or at the gym. If this ache reoccurs the second or third time with a certain movement you may be aggravating an injury, you might want to see a professional like a physical therapist particularly if its affecting you in your normal activities.
LAZINESS OR QUIET TIME
Everyone is entitled to a day off. In fact if you’re working out everyday, you should have a day off. But even if you’re not, maybe you’ve been stressed and just need a quiet walk in the woods. Listen to your heart. If your soul is screaming for quiet and nonactivity LISTEN. And begin your week with a fresh start.
- Remember commitment and consistency
- Expect normal “growing” pains
- Do not push through sharp or unusual pain