What should I do in the gym?
With instructions to every exercise imaginable at our fingertips: You’d think that we’d be the healthiest generation in human history.
Spoiler alert: We’re not.
With abundance comes confusion. The most common question with exercise “Where do I begin?” I believe the answer comes from self-inquiry, here’s a few to get you started:
- “What would I like to achieve with training?”
This a difficult but necessary question. Ask yourself. Answer specifically and honestly. “I want a smaller waistline”, “I want broader shoulders”, “I want a stronger lower back”, “I want bigger biceps”, “I just want to have fun” are common answers.
It’s important to not judge what you want, because your answer determines your training approach.
If bigger biceps are truly what you desire (although we can argue about the utility of this goal), that crosses out lots fluff. Your approach should zone in on performing exercises that stimulate muscle growth of the biceps brachii, rather than spending an hour running on the treadmill.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you want to have fun, unless you love the agonizing burn of concentrated curls or high-rep deep squatting, Zumba, dance, or group exercise classes are safer bets.
- “Can I do it 2-3 times a week?
One session of bicep curling will not do anything to grow your biceps. No exercise session is worth doing in isolation.
Sessions should beget sessions, and to truly reap the benefits of exercising, learn to schedule in multiple sessions throughout a week. Rather than expecting instant results, long term planning for long term progression should be the goal.
Some clichés are true: Fitness shouldn’t be a destination, but a journey. Treat the fruits of labor from exercising as being able to keep on exercising.
- “Can I do it pain free?”
No exercise is worth doing if it causes pain that sets you back.
That said, it’s important to discern between soreness and pain. Pain usually comes in sudden, acute, sharp sensations, and are often located on joints. Pain is indicative of injury, while soreness, although sometimes unbearable, are an expected result of exercise.
Pain: My knees hurt when I walk down the stairs. Soreness: My glutes and quads are sore walking down the stairs.
While exercise induced pain is something to avoid, an experience of it provides important insights. Movements that cause pain can sometimes be sign of a problem that may lead to more severe future pain.
This is where a consultations with a physiotherapist or an exercise specialist can be valuable. Pain is so multifaceted that entire textbooks have been dedicated to examining this phenomena.
If you’re facing pain or any issues while performing your exercise of choice, know that it’s not the end of the road. It never is. Drop by Healthworks Mont Kiara and schedule a consultation session with our team of Chiropractors, Physiotherapists and Exercise Specialists as we work holistically to get you back on track.