Re­mem­ber to go slow to go fast

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - ERNIE SCHRAMAYR

Re­cently, I was asked to par­tic­i­pate in an ad­ven­ture race in Au­gust in Hamil­ton called “Hell in the Har­bour”.

It is a char­ity event that in­cludes a 6 km run bro­ken up by 17 ob­sta­cles and sounds like some­thing that should be right up my al­ley! The in­vi­ta­tion made me re­al­ize, how­ever, that I haven’t done any­thing like that in ages. It’s been about two years since I last did any kind of run­ning, and, while I’ve never stopped ex­er­cis­ing, run­ning just hasn’t been part of my reper­toire.

Ac­cept­ing the in­vi­ta­tion means that I’ve got some work to do. Four weeks isn’t a great deal of time to pre­pare to go to “Hell”.

In plan­ning how to pro­ceed, I was re­minded of the old adage; Go Slow ... to Go Fast. From an old Latin ex­pres­sion “Festina Len­tle” that trans­lates into “Make haste, slowly”, it is a re­minder that mov­ing too quickly to ac­com­plish a goal can ac­tu­ally de­lay achieve­ment of that goal. Coined by Au­gus­tus, the founder of the Ro­man Em­pire, the phrase is of­ten used in busi­ness, but, it can be ap­plied to any num­ber of dis­ci­plines, in­clud­ing health and fit­ness.

With only four weeks to pre­pare, the temp­ta­tion to go all out on “Day One” is great. The dan­ger is do­ing more than the body is ready to han­dle, tak­ing too lit­tle re­cov­ery time and ul­ti­mately get­ting in­jured. When I was younger, and less ex­pe­ri­enced, I made this mis­take and ended up treat­ing a strained leg rather than com­pet­ing in and en­joy­ing an event that I wanted to par­tic­i­pate in.

Hu­man be­ings are driven by de­sire. When we want some­thing, we want it NOW! As a Cer­ti­fied Per­sonal Trainer and Med­i­cal Ex­er­cise Spe­cial­ist, my job is to help clients de­velop mean­ing­ful, pro­gres­sive plans that al­low for max­i­mum ben­e­fit, while min­i­miz­ing their risk of get­ting in­jured or burnt out be­fore achiev­ing their goal.

Over the years, I’ve seen three dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios, re­peat­edly, where peo­ple have gone too fast too soon and failed to achieve their de­sired out­come. When they con­tacted me, it was with a great deal of frus­tra­tion as they had put in an hon­est ef­fort with­out ex­pe­ri­enc­ing much of a pay­off.

1) With the un­der­stand­ing that ex­ces­sive caloric in­take leads to weight gain, peo­ple will try to lose weight by mak­ing a huge shift in their eat­ing habits. This is a tac­tic used by com­mer­cial diet pro­grams for dra­matic early weight loss. In many cases, how­ever, the weight that some­one loses by cut­ting calo­ries or car­bo­hy­drates may ac­tu­ally be wa­ter and lean muscle tis­sue. This af­fects me­tab­o­lism and can lead to the dreaded weight loss “plateau” and then weight re­gain in the form of fat.

Make small, sus­tain­able changes in your eat­ing habits that you will be able to main­tain for a life­time.

2) As a life­long ath­lete, I get it. Phys­io­ther­apy is bor­ing! It’s also ex­tremely im­por­tant and nec­es­sary for re­cov­ery. Of­ten, peo­ple will skip the “bor­ing” early stages of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion to get right back to what they were do­ing be­fore be­ing side­lined with an in­jury or op­er­a­tion. The dan­ger in this is in devel­op­ing faulty move­ment pat­terns to com­pen­sate for weak or sore ar­eas that lead to chronic overuse in­juries.

3) With­out a solid plan, it is easy to in­crease train­ing vol­ume or in­ten­sity too much be­fore the body is ready to han­dle it. In my ex­am­ple above, this meant in­creas­ing my run­ning time and dis­tance too quickly. I’ve done this in the past and be­come in­jured. This time, I am go­ing to put my ego aside and be happy do­ing the best I can in the four weeks that I have for train­ing. If this means walk­ing part of the course … so be it.

It goes with­out say­ing that peo­ple want the ef­forts they put into their fit­ness to be long last­ing. Don’t be se­duced by the prom­ise of “quick, easy” plans that will get you there faster. Make haste, by go­ing slowly and max­i­mize your chances of be­ing suc­cess­ful.

Med­i­cal ex­er­cise spe­cial­ist Ernie Schramayr, CPT, helps his clients man­age med­i­cal con­di­tions with ex­er­cise. You can fol­low him at ernies­fit­ness­world.com. 905-741-7532 or ernies­fit­ness­world@gmail.com

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