Have you ever taken inspiration from your favorite comic book heroes? You can envision being fast like the Flash or as strong as Superman. But even those characters have weaknesses and limitations. Even in our pursuit of superhuman perfection, we normal humans have to pace ourselves, plan ahead, and train to meet our goals. Here are some ways to ensure you know your limits and don’t bite off more than you can chew too quickly.
Finding The Right Workout For You
Don’t force yourself onto machines or into a routine that won’t agree with your limitations. For instance, if you have bad knees, a stepper or treadmill is not going to be your best friend. Attempting to make them stronger through sheer will is not the answer, so focus on areas of your body that will respond to exercise better. Remember: No two workouts are alike, just like no two people are alike, so know your limits when approaching a new activity.
Stretch To Reach New Heights
Superheroes can leap into action at the drop of a hat in movies or comics, but for us mere mortals, prep work is essential. That means hydration and stretching to get ourselves loose. Since we can’t have a back-and-forth conversation with our muscles, think of stretching as you letting them know what’s about to take place. We encourage you to reference our blog on the difference between static and dynamic stretches, to make sure you’re doing the best prep work for your routine.
Rest Is Best
When you focus too much on particular muscle groups for prolonged periods of time, the fibers of your muscles begin to breakdown and all the effort you’re putting it could do more harm than good. This is why it’s recommended not to train the same muscle groups for consecutive days so you have adequate recovery time. If you want to make the most of your routines, push yourself to workout 6-7 times a week, but on different areas (legs on Mondays and Thursdays, cardio on Wednesdays, arms on Tuesdays and Fridays, etc.) rather than risking injury or muscle fatigue by zoning in only on one aspect. Alternating between resistance training and cardio work offers a healthy balance, so create a schedule that works best for you and know your limits on either.
Keeping Your Heart Rate Up
When you decide to push yourself like a superhero, it’s necessary to keep your heart rate within the safe zone. This is generally determined by age, but everyone is different and will have their own limits. How in shape you may be as well as how often you work out already need to be taken into consideration. Smart watches make it easy these days to monitor your heart rate mid-workout, but you can also purchase a heart rate monitor online or from most fitness or department stores. Consult our blog post on why heart rate monitoring matters, and how many beats per minute you should shoot for depending on age, here.
No Pain, No Gain? Not Exactly
The adage of not making any positive strides without discomfort isn’t one to believe wholeheartedly. Not all pain in working out is normal, and it’s key to differentiate between your muscles getting a proper workout and putting yourself in serious harm. If you don’t already know your limits, your body will surely tell you, so be sure to watch out for any stabbing or shooting pains, as well as bruising from non-injury, discomfort that causes you to not use proper form, lightheadedness, or even symptoms of vomiting. All of these are signs that you’re pushing too hard or need the help of a medical professional.
How About You?
Do you have any particular ways to recognize and understand your limits?