By Izzy Atkinson
Let’s face it. We have all believed at one point or another that the only proof of a good workout is feeling completely fatigued after - doused in sweat, feeling like you can’t pick yourself up off the ground, and sometimes being in serious pain.
The fitness industry has engraved in our brains that unless you are dying during a workout, it’s a waste of your time and not an effective workout.
But guess what? This is FAKE NEWS. And I’m here to tell you why.
For the past six months, I have been dealing with a lower back injury. And while having an injury stinks, I am grateful for how much I have learned throughout my healing process about the body, and have been able to completely change my mindset around working out.
As a product of my environment, I was one to always believe that more is better - more weight, more reps, more sweat, more exhaustion, more pain.
But constantly focusing on “more, more, more” in my workouts, resulted in a lack of focus on my form, which then caused my injury.
Now that I am on the road to recovery, I wanted to share my top tips to help you get into the habit of training smarter, not harder:
Form is everything
Performing an exercise with correct form will help with injury prevention and targeting correct muscle groups during a workout. If your form is being compromised, you are simply just moving and throwing weight around.
Leave your ego at the door
No matter how long you have been going to your gym or taking workout classes, try your best to leave your ego at the door when it comes to the workout. It’s only going to get in your way and inhibit your progress. If a trainer is telling you your form is off, listen to them. If your body isn’t feeling the correct muscles being worked during an exercise, ask for help.
Modifications are cool
As I was teaching my 2.0 class this past Saturday, I was telling everyone “there is no shame in the knee-dropping game” as we were getting ready for push-ups. And my reason for saying this was to let everyone know that it’s completely okay to take modifications when you need it. There is this stigma that a modification signifies weakness, which is completely UNTRUE. You will get more out of your workout performing 10 perfect form push-ups on your knees, than 10 rushed incorrect push-ups on your toes #FACTS.
Keep that core tight
If you’ve taken my classes, then you know that I am always reminding everyone to keep their core tight. And the reason being is that your core is supporting your entire body. It’s providing you stability and helping support your lower back during your workouts. When I’m focusing on keeping my core tight throughout my exercises, it’s also helping me stay mindful of my form and posture.
Strength has many definitions
Strength does not have to be defined by getting more reps in or upping your weight. While both of these things do show that strength is gained (and are both awesome accomplishments), there are other ways to gauge your progress. For example, see how far your form has come from the first workout in the month to the last. See how your mindset has gotten stronger in each workout. See how your perspective has shifted and now you love a certain exercise that you used to dislike.
Ask for help
If you are feeling unsure of how to perform a certain exercise or something is hurting and it shouldn’t be, ask for help. It’s your trainers jobs to provide education on what we know and we love being asked questions! Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. No question is “stupid”.