At some point in your life, you’ve probably been involved in overexercising. We’ve all been there. You’ve been in a workout, feel like you’ve given your all. But the coach starts to yell in your face.
That can be good for you. In ways, coaches/trainers push us beyond what we believed capable. But if we’re being honest, are you still with that coach? Probably not.
Pushing yourself is only good if you are in good shape to start with. And you allow time to rest.
In a world where you’re supposed to show no weakness, I understand. I’ve gotten caught up in overexercising myself. But jumping into a workout full force and continuing to do so even when can’t feel your anything isn’t tough. It’s stupid, and it’ll get you hurt.
Overexercising Can Cause Serious Medical Issues
Ever heard of Rhabdomyolysis? Crossfitters certainly have.
When you do repetitive exercises (as 100+ reps) it brakes down your muscles. If you continue every single day with the same exercise, you don’t give your body time to repair those muscles. The result? Rhabdoymsis, a condition where your muscle cells start to explode. And eventually, your kidneys start to fail. It’s a big issue seen amongst Crossfitters because they teach the philosophy of repeating rep after rep until you can’t anymore and doing it again the next day.
It’s excruciating, it’s awful for your muscles. If you feel too sore to move the next day, don’t continue with the same exercise. It’s not tough, it’s harmful to your body.
Less reps done with the correct form at a weight you can handle is much more effective. Instead of tearing down muscle, you build it. It will help you get the results you’re looking for without harming your body.
Besides, one workout does not fit all. If you’re just starting exercise, your coach shouldn’t you expect you to do the same workout on a whiteboard everyone else is doing. You have different strengths, different weaknesses, and it’s silly to believe that following that whiteboard to the T means you’re tough. As an MMA fighter, wrestler and heavyweight lifter, I know tough. That’s not it.
Pushing Yourself too Far Makes You More Likely to Quit
I remember one time barely being capable of walking, I was so sore. I dropped a pencil and just stared at it for a long time before I decided it wasn’t worth it. I was walking away and not picking that pencil up.
If you let yourself rest, it’s more than OK to feel that sore. But if you’re trying to get back in shape, I don’t recommend it.
You want a workout you can enjoy. When you enjoy it, you stick with it. When you feel constant pain and shame because your body couldn’t handle that workout, you want to quit. My clients slowly work into their exercises and end up making lifestyle changes. That’s what it’s about, anyway. You don’t need to lose weight fast, get buff fast. You should be looking to improve your health for life.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Your body can only handle so many reps before it starts to lose proper form. Once you are no longer using correct form, you need to stop. That’s when injuries happen.
Even if you aren’t injured, you didn’t do a favor for your muscles. Or your joints. And if you keep going, you will sustain an injury.
Your body isn’t aware that you benched 200 pounds, it’s not even aware if you lifted 10 pounds. It simply responds to stress. It doesn’t matter how much or little you lift or how many reps you do. If you work the body, create healthy stress, it will respond by building muscles.
Your body is also great at quickly adapting. Eventually, it gets used to the weight and reps you are lifting, and so to create stress, you need to increase your weight. As you continue, you’ll find yourself getting stronger and stronger. Without having to go through the process of killing yourself.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in being tough and pushing yourself. What I don’t believe in is 100+ reps with bad form that you did just to say you can complete it. It’s much better to do 10 reps with great form than 100 bad reps. I simply believe in being tough in the right way.
Men and women at Jed’s Gym lift heavy. I have one female client who does deadlifts at 225 pounds for 10 reps. That is something to be proud of! Knowing you are helping your body become strong and healthy is a great feeling. Feeling like you failed again because your trainer yelled at you the entire time and not being able to walk the next day, that’s not a good feeling at all.
For myths on weight training, check out this article.