NO GAIN WITH­OUT THE PAIN

TEMPTED TO SLACK OFF AT THE BACK OF THAT GROUP CLASS? PUTTING MORE OOMPH INTO YOUR WORK­OUTS CAN BRING AMAZ­ING BEN­E­FITS ... AS LONG AS YOU LIS­TEN TO YOUR BODY

Townsville Bulletin - Townsville Eye - - WELLNESS - DREW GRIF­FITH

How many of us go through the mo­tions of our ex­er­cise pro­grams — an­other thing to tick off in our busy lives? This can be fine if you’re not look­ing to im­prove, but if you’re want­ing to best use your time to kick some fit­ness goals, there are many ben­e­fits to trav­el­ling just that lit­tle bit fur­ther or go­ing that lit­tle bit harder ev­ery time you ex­er­cise.

Ex­er­cis­ing with greater in­ten­sity can pro­duce ben­e­fits in­clud­ing burn­ing ex­tra calo­ries, in­creas­ing your metabolism well af­ter you’ve fin­ished ex­er­cis­ing, im­prov­ing your body’s oxy­gen use and im­prov­ing health mark­ers such as blood pres­sure and blood su­gar. The list is long.

Mak­ing your ex­er­cise rou­tine more of a chal­lenge can also trig­ger the body into pro­duc­ing its own ar­ray of happy hor­mones. Feel-good en­dor­phins, pro­duced dur­ing stren­u­ous ex­er­cise, can block our body’s pain re­cep­tors and are re­spon­si­ble for nat­u­ral post-work­out highs.

Dopamine is an­other chem­i­cal pro­duced in the brain dur­ing car­dio ex­er­cise par­tic­u­larly. It’s as­so­ci­ated with im­prov­ing mood and long-term mem­ory and bring­ing on plea­sur­able feel­ings.

Here are some things to con­sider in tak­ing your ex­er­cise rou­tine up a notch (or two):

WILL POWER

A strong will is an ad­van­tage in many ar­eas of life. Of­ten it dis­tin­guishes a true cham­pion from the merely tal­ented. Di­rect your fo­cus to your ex­er­cise and try to bring a bit of your “game day” men­tal­ity to ev­ery ses­sion. Con­sciously push your­self harder, hard enough where you can in­crease your body heat and sus­tain the ef­fort that re­quires. As I of­ten say to my clients: “bring the heat”.

USE YOUR DATA

Use a GPS app on your smart de­vice or a cus­tomised mon­i­tor. You can see the dis­tance you travel, count your steps, time the work­out you’re do­ing or mon­i­tor your heartrate. Start pay­ing at­ten­tion to the data gen­er­ated and make a con­scious ef­fort to bet­ter your per­for­mance ev­ery time. For ex­am­ple, if you ride a bike to work and travel the same path each day, time your­self and try to ride 10, 20, 30 sec­onds faster each way.

AC­CEPT DIS­COM­FORT

There’s a say­ing: “suf­fer a lit­tle to gain a lot”. Get your­self ac­quainted with suf­fer­ing the dis­com­fort that phys­i­cal ex­er­cise can pro­duce. Some are bet­ter at ac­com­mo­dat­ing it than oth­ers but it can be a learned skill. There are a cou­ple of types of pain when it comes to in­tense phys­i­cal ef­fort — burn­ing mus­cles and gen­eral fa­tigue are ex­am­ples. Once you’re at the thresh­old, steel your­self men­tally to stay in that un­com­fort­able zone for a lit­tle longer each time. Treat it as a per­sonal chal­lenge. Con­sis­tency is the key to suc­cess here.

SET THE FOUN­DA­TIONS

En­sure qual­ity move­ment pat­terns or good body me­chan­ics be­fore you get into the zone. Don’t push when the foun­da­tion isn’t there. As al­ways, warm up well. En­sure you have no lim­i­ta­tions that would risk injury. For ex­am­ple, if you’ve pulled your calf mus­cle you wouldn’t un­der­take a marathon so be smart about your train­ing. Do it un­der ex­pert guid­ance if you can and, if in doubt, al­ways con­sult a health pro­fes­sional.

KNOW WHEN TO PULL BACK

But, I hear you ask, how do I know when it’s not “good” pain? It’s true your brain is likely to tell you to stop be­cause it equates pain with injury but that’s not al­ways the case. The se­cret is in get­ting to know your own body and un­der­stand­ing its cues. This takes time so take it slow and steady.

Gym owner Drew Grif­fith holds a Cert III and IV in Fit­ness and is a CrossFit Level 1 Coach. The strength and con­di­tion­ing trainer has been help­ing peo­ple achieve their health, weight, sport and fit­ness goals for the past 30 years.

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