The cookies have been eaten, the shopping is complete, and the gym membership just hit your credit card. Whether for personal growth, maintaining health, or slimming up for summer, millions of Americans will be hitting the gym in January. Unfortunately, many people will also end up quitting or in my office because of nagging pain or new injury. Pain is a sure-fire way to discourage and derail even the best-laid workout plans. This blog will give you tips to keep your workouts consistent and pain-free in the New Year.
The first mistake I see is being too eager. There is little evidence that working out more will drop the pounds or build muscle faster. A good fitness program revolves around changes made outside of the gym and inside it. A week before starting your new workout plan, it’s a good idea to download a free calorie tracking app to truly understand how much you are eating in a day or week. Fitness goals are met in the kitchen. Whether you want to bulk up or trim down, your diet needs to match that. Knowing if you are overeating or undereating, you can make slight adjustments to meet your goals.
Good, so you’ve gone to the grocery store and stocked up on the healthy stuff. Now you need to plan your workouts. The most important thing is to make your workouts fit in your day. That will be a hard initial commitment if you aren’t used to carving out an hour four times per week. Start with some light bodyweight exercises in your living room before the kids wake up or go on a walk at lunchtime. The key is consistency.
It’s also good to take other baseline measurements that align with your goals. Do you want to run a 5k in 25 minutes? See how long it takes you to run a mile. Do you want to fit into an old pair of jeans? Take a waist measurement. Before pictures can also serve as great motivation four, six, or eight weeks down the line when the excitement of starting a new workout program begins to fade.
Any change in diet or activity level will cause a reaction in your body. Whether it’s a different bathroom routine or soreness in your legs as you pick up that laundry basket. Many people can see soreness as a negative, but it’s your body’s way of protecting itself while it rebuilds to meet the needs of a more challenging task. Soreness usually goes away within a day or two. If it takes longer, consider lessening the intensity of your next workout. If it lasts longer than a week, worsens, or limits your ability to do once easy activities, it could be a sign of injury, and you should see a physical therapist.
Physical therapists love to prevent injuries just as much as fix them. Call your local Athletico office today to schedule a Free Assessment. Your physical therapist can work with you to iron out kinks in your running stride, lifting form, and much more to help jump-start a happy and healthy 2022. Free Assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our Telehealth platform.
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.