We all joke about how an intense workout was “killer” but what if it is costing you healthy years ahead?
1. PAIN vs DISCOMFORT During physical growth training where we are training to build muscle or improve cardio conditioning sensations of muscle fatigue or ‘being out of breath’ are very common and an important part of programming. What is not productive in any training is acute pain in response to a repetitive posture, range of motion or plane of motion. If you feel a pain in your knee every time you squat, this is your body’s alarm letting you know you need to reconsider the mechanics (form) of your exercise or modality (i.e. how much resistance/weight the joint can support).
So simplified metric to Pain vs. Discomfort is onset and replication. Acute, sharp pain with repetitive motion BAD. Growing ‘tiredness’, exhaustion, fatigue GOOD.
2. Are you chronically injured? Anyone who’s played hard in high school or college athletics can attest to being on the DL for part of a season. That’s part of being an athlete. Sometimes circumstance of competition, overtraining or even tripping over a sidewalk can see us to a seat on the sidelines. However, if your workouts are reigniting your injuries repetitively, you setting yourself up for an early replacement surgery or compounding cardiac conditions.
*Hear me out, even if you have properly rehabbed an injury your work is not over. While returning to running, lifting, swimming or any activity is cleared, your complete workouts should ALWAYS include exercises that benefit secondary and tertiary supporting groups (muscles, tendons, ligaments surrounding the injury), flexibility and build you back from an appropriate level of conditioning (not jumping back into your peak training schedule).
3. Are you having trouble recovering between workouts? The dirty word in high intensity fitness trends is Rhabdomyolysis or Rhabdo as its commonly referred to on popular reddit accounts. Rhabdomyolysis is a condition that causes our muscles to break down or leak, releasing the muscle cells’ contents into the bloodstream. Those contents contain a protein, myoglobin, which can cause injury to the kidneys. (The University of Queensland, Dr. Rob Eley April 2017) https://medicine.uq.edu.au/article/2017/04/explainer-what-rhabdomyolysis-and-what’s-its-connection-crossfit
This systemic damage caused by overtrained, under recovered muscles can result in kidney failure, compartment syndrome, changes to blood chemicals which affect muscles, the heart and the brain and even death. Scary, right?
Recovery is part of training. I’ll say it again, Recovery is an ESSENTIAL part of all physical training. In fact, my marathon training only involves three days of running per week. Yes, I know every ‘generic-expert’ marathon training program on the internet will tell you 5 days or more, but I have never had an injury take me out of a race from over-training and for someone who Qualified and ran the Boston Marathon as their second only marathon…smarter not harder.
Be well and Be good to your body!