A New Year, A New You? No, A Better You & Not a Broken You
Even when I say it the saying makes me cringe, New Year, New You. As you many have read in my previous blog I don’t really buy into the possibly misinformed and biased goals of new year’s resolutions. I am very keen on balanced, well thought out goals.
So whether you have set a new year’s resolution/goal to smash a couch to 10km or to regain control after the indulgences of the festive season it would seem it is the time to get up and get out doing some exercise after the festive season. In either case I fully support such a movement to more exercise and healthier eating, whatever time of the year.
What I would like you to think about is to THINK about your training and the exercise you are or planning on doing. To get the most out of what you are doing and more importantly to avoid injury.
It is impossible to give you a complete outline of how to train for every potential goal out there however I can help you think about a few things to consider and to seek more advice if needed.
More often than not two things will inform you in the best way in gauging your training:
1. Listen to your body
2. Common sense
More and more I hear stories/ accounts of people ignoring both and it being a cause or contributor to injuries.
Listening to your body doesn’t mean meditating or any obscure practices, it is simply stopping and thinking is this good for me or my body? Is this too much for it or me? Physical stress like exercise is the same as mental stress so treat them as equal. This requires dialling into how you are feeling and it takes trial and error in knowing when to push and when to rest.
Common sense is sometimes forgotten when goals are set and the mind is focused. It is vital to use common sense as a guide as normally its pretty spot on. Doing 5 days back to back running after not running for two weeks goes against common sense and training principles for most individuals.
So things to possibly ask yourself to make sure you avoid injury and don’t overdo it this January:
What are you doing? Do you like it? Is it suitable for your goal? Is it attainable?
Have you done it before? How long ago? Is your plan a gradual progression?
Are you giving yourself enough recovery time between exercise sessions?
Have you considered any existing injuries or medical conditions you have or may have developed since last exercising this intense?
If you have considered these items above into your plan of action then great but if not then you might want to consider a few tweaks here and there or to gain further advice. Little and often is best approach in starting out and getting back into it without the pain or discomfort of mega sessions and becoming injured, sore or disheartened.
I support any activity, whatever shape or form it comes in from bowls to tai chi or cross fit. As long as safe practice, common sense is used and you listen to your body. Don’t blindly follow others whether it be friends, class peers or even an instructor/PT. Don’t be afraid to not do an exercise, question technique if you’re not sure or doesn’t feel good. Ultimately asking why or sitting out an exercise is better than an injury of any severity.
Further common things to consider regarding specific exercise types that I have seen as an exercise professional myself are the following:
Insanity work out – due to its Intensity and high impact nature care must be taken and also suggest a foundation level of body weight resistance training before starting. Quickly highlights imbalances and can lead to injuries if not technically done correctly.
Cross fit – A great form of training however does comprise of a lot of Olympic lifting which requires attention to detail in the technique and in my opinion, should be considered carefully in the volume that is performed within the training week.
Tabata – a form of high intensity interval training – a great form of training however exposes underlying conditions very quickly, whether it be musculoskeletal or cardio respiratory.
A large increase in the distance running per week – can expose imbalances very quickly and increases chances of injury. A common on is not having the appropriate footwear to support your feet. I would recommend an essential bit of kit is a new pair of trainers from a running shop that assess your gait (running style).
If you are in any doubt with regards to how to train for a goal, technique or a program to get the end point then I would always suggest seeking professional advice. Seeing a personal trainer, like myself, can guide you in the right direction, give you feedback and encouragement. The cost of this isn’t comparable to the discomfort of being injured and the cost/wait to see the physiotherapist.
Final top tips for the new year’s exercise frenzy to a better you (not a new you):
2. Little and often
3. Recovery (stretch, massage, cross train/low impact exercise & sleep)
4. Don’t do it alone, get a partner in crime, a social support network of a friend you can rope in, an exercise class or a PT.
Good luck in making a better you in 2018.
By Lee Weston