4 Mistakes People Make When Pushing Themselves to a New Fitness Goal
Have you ever reached a fitness goal but felt like you could do better because your current routine is not yielding further improvements? Well, it might be time to set some new fitness goals and work towards achieving them. Whether you are training for weight loss, an upcoming competition or general fitness maintenance, it is important to pace yourself. Sometimes it may be tempting to take things a notch too high, especially if you achieve good results after a period of regular exercise.
However, aggressively pushing for new fitness goals all too often than not leads to over training. This in turn does more harm than good on fitness performance. So, to help you not jeopardize your exercise efforts, make sure to avoid these 4 mistakes people make when pushing themselves to a new fitness goal.
1) Pushing too Fast
Holding back may be tough when you are motivated to go the extra mile in your fitness training. However, doing too much too soon is dangerous when trying to achieve a new fitness goal in record time. When you increase activity, be it the amount of weight you lift, running distance, or intensity of any other fitness routine, your bones, muscles, and heart experience new unique stresses. When you progress too quickly to a level of exertion in which the body is not used to, this increases the risk of muscle strains, bursitis, tendonitis, or even fractures.
2) Not Resting Enough
Hitting the gym or engaging in your preferred type of exercise every day may seem like a great idea to speed up progress and results. Contrary to this notion, the body actually needs enough time to rest after vigorous exercise. When you exercise, muscles used develop small microscopic tears called scar tissue. By resting, this allows the body to repair muscle fibers. Resting adequately after workouts is therefore important for recovery. This is also the time your body adapts to stresses placed up on it. Without adequate recovery time, your bones and muscles will fail you, thus resulting in physical burnout and overuse injuries.
3) Repeating Same Workouts Over and Over
Another mistake people make when working towards a new fitness goal is continuing with the old training regimen. This often does not work because you have to change things up if you want to challenge the body and improve your conditioning and strength. So, if your primary target was strength related and now you have switched focus to building muscle, adjustments in your fitness plan should be made to reflect the changes in your new goal.
4) Falling Prey to ‘No Pain, No Gain’ Mindset
You may have heard the phrase ‘no pain, no gain’ in fitness circles. Well, it is a popular ideology that simply suggests the more we hammer our bodies with exercise, the faster the results will come. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you are not sore the next day after an intense workout, it does not mean that you are not doing enough. In fact, soreness is a poor indication of muscle adaptation and growth. Pushing harder each time when exercising will not allow your muscles to get accustomed to new physical stimuli. If you don’t want chronic fatigue and prolonged periods of delayed muscle onset to get in the way of your fitness goals, start slow and gradually increase the intensity and volume of your workouts.
Moving on to new fitness goals can be exciting and motivating. Make sure not to slow down your progress by avoiding the pitfalls discussed above as you push forward to achieve more from your fitness training.
Why “Pushing Through the Pain” Could be a Mistake During Workouts
The old fitness standby, “No pain, no gain,” may be killing your workout. You do have to experience discomfort to grow stronger. There is no doubt about that. The exertion you feel when you exercise is stress on your muscles. When your muscles are stressed past the point which they are regularly subjected to, they grow stronger in the repair process. So you do have to experience some low level of pain or discomfort when you exercise to see results.
However, when the pain is noticeable, this could be your body talking to you. You may have sustained an injury which is not outwardly noticeable, but has done significant damage. If you were to continue working out during that session, and possibly even the next day or next couple of days, you could do long-term, serious damage. While healthy progress is needed to keep your body improving physically, pushing through the pain is usually not a smart thing to do.
When Regression Is a Good Thing
There is a difference between pain and soreness. If you started your workout program very simple and with little exertion and have constantly, continually but slowly improved your level of stress and your duration of exercise, you are going to feel sore. That is your body becoming stronger. This is the repair process. This is normal, and it is a sign that you are building a stronger, healthier body.
Pain is different from soreness. If you have ever suffered a paper cut, that is a low level of pain. That is different from the feeling you get from sore muscles. Pain is a big, red warning flag to stop exercising. You should never push through physical pain. This is because of how your body handles pain.
If you are in a life or death survival situation, by all means, attempt to outrun that grizzly bear even though you have a broken leg. When you are exercising, this simply is not needed. Because of the way your body compensates for injuries, the adjustments your body makes to minimize the pain you feel can lead you to put more stress and strain on other body parts. These small compensations build up and can possibly cause another injury, even though they are initially designed to limit your pain from the first injury.
Pushing through pain can also cause you to develop, and unconsciously embrace, poor form. You probably know that, especially with strength training, 3 to 5 repetitions performed with perfect form will out produce 8 to 12 repetitions with sloppy form. As your body understands you are injured and begins to compensate for that injury, your form can suffer. If you get through the workout and feel good about pushing through the pain, your mind may unconsciously adopt this new, sloppier form as its regular practice.