Think back to when you started training. What was it that made you want to start building a better you? Committing to working out is not a decision that is often taking lightly, or seriously. But you are one of the few that decide to workout, be healthy, and stick to your goals. You should be proud. What motivated you? Were you sitting down one day and out of the blue thought to yourself, ‘I should start going to the gym’? Unlikely. Usually, there’s something you want that is important enough to give you the push you need to start living better.
For some, it’s wanting to feel healthier. Maybe you had a holiday coming up and you wanted to look a certain way. Sometimes, it’s out of boredom. You’re looking for a new hobby and you always enjoyed sports as a child so working out might be a fun pastime for you. What is clear in all motivations is that people want exercise to eventually make them feel good. So why when training feels bad do so many of us continue to ignore the warning signs of damage we are doing to our bodies?
Acute back pain during training is not normal. You should be able to tell the difference between post-workout soreness and what is a back injury. One develops over time, like with post-workout aching in any other muscle. The other is sudden and painful. If you are continually experiencing back pain during training, you could permanently damage your body. Ignoring the pain might stem from classic workout tropes like ‘no pain no gain’, and yes, there is some truth to that. But that small twinge you feel every time you go to pick up the weights is your body’s way of telling you, hey, this doesn’t feel right, you should stop. Lots of beginners make the mistake of thinking they’re in pain because they’re out of practice. When I get stronger it will be fine, they say. But by that time, the damage may already be done.
You could end up needing an operation or living with chronic pain that never goes away. This is a high price to pay for a few good pictures on holiday. So, you need to be absolutely certain you are working out the right way. We cannot emphasise enough the importance of a tailored training plan, clear guidance, and impeccable posture. With everything you do at the gym, there is a correct way to do it. Personal trainers and sports scientists have studied their craft for years. They have the experience to know how to get the most out of your body without hurting it. This is by far the best way to make sure you are working out safely and effectively.
Not everyone can, or wants to have a personal trainer, but it is worth at least completing a gym induction before you start, just so you know how to use the facilities. These are often free and monitored by a professional. Try to read as much as possible on how to train properly. Do your research and if you are ever unsure of how to do something, just ask. Staff will be more than happy to help you. Everyone in the gym is there because they want to either feel good or help you feel good. No one wants to see you get hurt.
Before I became a personal trainer, I was just another guy in the gym who thought I could do everything better on my own. You can read about my personal struggle with acute back pain *here*. I have come a long way since then and now focus on sharing my personal experiences and my knowledge as a personal trainer with my clients. If you would like to talk about starting on a safe and effective road to fitness, get in contact. I’d love to see what we can accomplish together.