Scroll through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and you’ll be inundated with memes, motivational quotes and images delivering the message that the “gym is life.” This is a large part of the fitness industry, and it can be very positive when it helps motivate us to push hard and get to the gym!
But these social media posts can be misleading. And while I know that this part of the fitness industry will never change, I don’t want you to feel the need to accept these messages as absolute truths.
Let’s go over a few of these themes and find a different, more well-rounded approach to them; this will allow us to work out safely, find a healthier balance and set ourselves up for more success. It might even help us avoid giving up and stick to our plan!
- “No pain, no gain”: Let’s face it. Working out, lifting weight and pushing our bodies is going to evoke some kind of discomfort. If we don’t push past this minor discomfort, we probably won’t change very much. But pushing past actual pain and ignoring nagging injuries is a recipe for disaster. You’ll “gain” far more by resting and seeking help for your pain than pushing past it.
- “Don’t quit”: Similar to Number 1, this fitness industry message can lead us to push past where we should stop and rest or rehab. It’s important to know when to quit a workout or to be flexible and find an alternative that works better for you.
- “I’ll rest when I’m dead”: See the common theme here? Your muscle gains, strength improvements and physique changes occur between gym sessions. If you never give yourself time to recover, you’ll probably hit a plateau, get injured or become burned out.
- “Lift hard or go home”: Not every session is going to be your best. You can choose to get in some activity even if you can’t lift hard each time. Adjusting your plan, learning to work out at different intensities and knowing when your body needs a break are integral steps to achieving fitness success rather than following this all-or-nothing mentality.