I’ve found that exercise abuse among “fit” people is almost as bad as the lack of exercise among the general public. Misusing exercise can lead to exhaustion, stress, fat storage, overuse injuries, weakness, mood swings and a lack of overall energy. This is why people who work out aren't always the healthiest.
To prevent yourself from misusing exercise, you first need to know what exercise is, and formulate a REAL success plan toward your fitness, health, strength and weight-loss goals.
Here are eight signs that you might be abusing exercise, along with tips to improve your methods:
1. You're in pain.
If you’re misusing exercise you might be experiencing achy joints, knee or back pain and a whole list of other “fitness” issues.
If you’ve been working out for a while with no real forward progress, you may be misusing your workouts by not working out regularly, or doing too much. The solution to this is simple: if you're experiencing pain, stop what you're doing and talk to a professional.
2. You don’t know the true definition of exercise.
True and smart exercise can help you become stronger, less susceptible to injury and can increase cardiorespiratory functioning.
However, people constantly abuse and break down their bodies because they don’t understand the correct definition of exercise. They think more is better — more miles, more hours, more classes, more jumps. But in reality, training smarter is better.
If you can hold a plank for three minutes, it might be time to switch it up and try an extended plank for 30 seconds to work different muscles. Instead of trying to do every exercise at every workout, focus on mastering your form and your breathing.
3. You’re using sports activities in place of your strength-and-conditioning program.
Many people have taken up recreational sports as a way to stay active and fit — using a sport as a form of “exercise.” However, sports are not to be confused with your exercise routine.
All athletes have strength-and-conditioning exercise routines that are separate from their sport. In a study done by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, female volleyball players were given a strength-and-conditioning routine in their off season. The routine proved to help their performance in their actual sport. Recreational sports like swimming, running, tennis and basketball are activities. Your exercise routine is the strength-and-conditioning regimen used to get in shape for your sport.
4. You’re exercising for the wrong reasons.
Workouts should never focus on “calorie burn” alone. With that kind of attitude you’ll wind up breaking your body down with useless exercise, spending three hours at the gym and getting nothing done except for stressing and overtraining with no real balance or gains.
If you train with clear fitness goals in your mind, you’ll make the most out of each exercise. Shift your focus a bit and learn to train for performance, not calories.
5. You’ve gotten injured from your workout routine.
Correct exercise should not lead to injury. While it's OK to get injured in your sport (like falling in a hockey or tennis game), it's absolutely NOT OK to get hurt lifting a weight, swinging a kettlebell, or doing a push-up.
If you get injured in your workout, something is wrong: your form is off, you're training too much or performing the wrong exercises for the wrong number of repetitions.
The key is to know what you're doing, what muscle you're working, what your goal is and why you're doing the exercise. If you feel pain (let's say knee pain from running), STOP your activity and reprogram your workout to help you feel pain free. If you're "working out through the pain" you're doing as much harm as good.
6. You spend three hours at the gym.
Unless it’s your job to train (like a professional athlete), you have zero reason to spend half of your day jumping from one machine to the other in hopes of burning more calories. Whatever you can do in three hours you can do even better in 45-60 minutes. The idea of training is to get the most out of your muscle and to get out.
7. You don’t have a training program.
People who randomly work out will never get the results that people who work out on a program do. The fittest bodies in the world follow a program. Exercise programing is key. Find a home or gym program that works for you and follow it.
8. You're following the wrong advice.
There are countless fitness "experts" sharing their workouts on Instagram, Facebook and more. You shouldn't follow every move or word from these so-called gurus. You should know why you're doing the exercise and what benefits you'll gain from proper training. The people who get and sustain the best results are those who have a clear understanding of what fitness is and what they specifically need to do to achieve their goals.
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