Insights from a Personal Trainer – Avoiding Injury

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by Mathews McGarry

Many people start exercising to get in shape, and that’s a commendable thing to do. However, many people also don’t know that by exercising without supervision, or without proper equipment, they can actually do more harm than good.

The three pillars of fitness are – sleeping, eating healthy, and working out.

Every one of them should be dosed according to your needs, because not every person is the same, and not everyone’s body is the same. A personal trainer can help you with that, but ultimately, you know your body the best. Let’s take a look at what you should be doing in order to avoid getting injured.

Food

Food

Contrary to popular belief, there’s no such thing as a miracle food that will make you feel energized at all times. But by combining different foods, you can achieve that effect.

Greek yogurt, oatmeal, eggs, and almonds are essential but don’t rely just on them. Create a healthy diet plan and stick to it! Only by doing so will you avoid suffering an injury.

Of course, feed your body the necessary protein after a workout if you want to repair any muscle damage.

Frequency

Those who decide to start working out are usually in their mid-twenties and thirties, and even though they think they can endure anything, that’s simply not the case. Often an injury occurs because those who are overweight or deconditioned start pushing themselves to the limit.

If you’re just starting to work out, two or three days a week are enough. You need to get your body used to the exercise routine. Look at it this way – a mountain climber does not try to conquer a mountain in one go. He plans the whole thing and chooses when and where he will rest. That’s exactly what you should do. Plan ahead. Too much too early in the program will break you.

Intensity

Personal trainers never start their client at the highest intensity they can achieve. Okay, that’s a lie. They might do it once, just to see what their client’s limit is. Starting at around 70-80 percent of your maximum is what you should do. Start slowly and improve gradually. Increase the intensity by 5% per week and your body will be able to adjust.

Warm up

Warm Up

There’s not a single person on this planet that likes to warm up. It’s annoying and boring. But, like water is essential for life, warming up is essential for a workout. To properly warm up you can:

• Ride a bike
• Jog
• Jump rope
• Stretch

Do warm up exercises for at least 5-10 minutes and ease your body into a workout routine. If you plan on doing isolation exercises, pay close attention to warming up the specific muscle group.

No pain, no gain?

You can see all kinds of fitness experts on the web preaching that “No pain, no gain” thing, but most people don’t understand what that is about. High-intensity training can cause that feeling of heat in the targeted muscles, but the moment something’s not feeling right you need to stop! Don’t push yourself through pain and risk getting injured for a long time.

Equipment

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Like the samurai needs the kimono and the katana, you need proper equipment to train. By wearing high-quality gym clothes designed specifically for comfort and mobility, you’ll significantly reduce the risk of injury. Often people go to the gym wearing saggy pants and loose T-shirts, and by doing so, they risk getting injured. On the other hand, if you wish to restrict your movements and pose yourself another obstacle, wear something too tight by all means. Don’t be one of them. Just don’t.

Sometimes it’s not your fault

Even if you did absolutely everything possible to prevent an injury, there’s still a chance you might get injured. Our bodies are fragile, and the most important thing to do (besides injury prevention) is to treat it right if it does occur. Use the RICE method to keep your injury from getting worse.

R – Rest
I – Ice the injury
C – Apply a compression bandage
E – Elevate the injury and prevent swelling

Your body can run like a perfect machine, but like any machine, it needs maintenance and a diligent operator – and that’s you. Always eat healthy, stretch, and most importantly, rest. Just don’t rest for too long.

There will be days when you don’t feel like working out. Days when you just want to lie down and die. Don’t let that happen, exercise even when you’re feeling down, just lower the intensity of your workouts. Continuity is the key to success.

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