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Balance in life: How the things we love sometimes take their toll on us.

gymnast performs a balance with split.

Every fitness story starts with one great idea at its core – being healthy. You could argue that somebody started working out for some other reason, however, no matter what that other reason might be it surely has some sort of connection with health. Why does it happen then that we stumble across a huge variety of unhealthy things while trying to achieve our goal? What comes between us and the finish line we’re trying so hard (sometimes too hard) to reach?

Injuries

The number one thing which comes up as a result of excessive and uncontrolled physical exercise and sports is injury. Injuries can occur as a result of something we could not have anticipated, like somebody stepping on your ankle or landing poorly on the ground. But they also come up because of a conscious mistake. If we indulge in some kind of activity chances are that something might go wrong.

Sports injury
Female runner suffering a knee injury

Injuries simply happen and they happen a lot! Unfortunately, almost anybody who ever played some type of sport knows what injuries are, have seen others suffer from injuries, or have had one themselves. It’s a fairly common thing, especially on a professional level of performance.

What can we do about them? Can we make them disappear? Unfortunately, we cannot. The most we can do is try and prevent them from happening. The only cure for the disease of injury is that of being conscious of what we do and how we perform the exercises or play our favorite sport.

That is why it is important to learn the proper form when performing any desired exercise. This is why athletes always have a third person monitoring their workouts. To see if we’re making a mistake, to correct it or advise on a certain issue. Whether it’s a personal trainer, a coach or a training buddy it is always nice to have someone around just in case.[2]

That is why we advise always training smart over killing yourself every single time you go for a workout. It is a wise choice for your body in the long run. Way too many times people go hard on themselves, push their limits, and suffer an unnecessary injury as a result.

“One more rep” mentality

What we see happening in the gym lately has significantly changed the perception of what is considered to be a successful workout. Today, if you didn’t bleed during your workout you did poorly. Why is that so? Just because some buffed-up dude said you should always do “one more rep” or you will always be weak doesn’t make it true.

Instead, listen to your body when it’s speaking. It is always going to give you signals and you mustn’t ignore them. You cannot do more than your body allows you to no matter how strong you believe you are. If you tell yourself you can do more when you really can’t you will almost always end up doing more harm to yourself than good. Potentially, it can lead to the worst of outcomes.

Strength comes as a result of continuous effort and it is not a one-time miracle event. Nobody ever got strong after one more forced and poorly performed repetition. Try approaching your workouts in a different fashion.

Instead of trying to bust your ass once a week and then doing nothing for the rest of that week, try putting in more of moderately intense workouts during one week. You won’t be as nearly as fatigued as you would be if you did one killer workout and then waited for your body to recover fully.[3] Plus, if you do two or three workouts during a week instead of only one, you do way more work if you put it into a monthly or a yearly perspective. As Firas Zahabi firmly put it, consistency usually wins over intensity.

At the end of the day, you will inevitably have more experience in the field of your interest, whether it’s fitness, swimming or rugby.

Not taking time off

One of the seriously unhealthy things which fitness enthusiasts find out sooner or later is being sick and tired of working out. It just so happens that people tend to get bored with repeating the same things over and over again. It is in our nature. Also, expecting a lot of things and not being able to achieve them hurts us on a psychological level. We’re so obsessed with bringing our best game that we sometimes burnout in the midst of it all.

Being aware of these things will bring you a step closer to overcoming them as well. We’re not able to perform like we would like to every single time. It is simply not possible. Whoever told you that it is possible lied and you know it. Embrace your mortality and imperfection. You are who you are – just a human being.

Once you understand that you will notice when you get saturated and know that it is time to take it slowly. That does not necessarily mean you should stop working out at all costs. You can try switching things up in your program or find a new activity/sport. Perhaps you should go for a vacation? After that, once you come back to our regular training cycle, you will notice a huge difference.

After having some time off people notice where they were making mistakes and have a clear mental image. Things seem sort of fresh and new. Use these small hacks to benefit greatly and improve your overall performance.

Conclusion

Taking some time off in order to reflect upon the things we do is productive and nobody should be afraid of it. If you do not work out for a week your body won’t forget all the years of effort you made, but your mind will surely be thankful. One step back from time to time never hurt anybody in making progress, however, it surely made a huge difference in keeping a clear mind. Counterintuitive ideas sometimes do turn out to be highly productive after all.

References:

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