Can You Workout the Wrong Way?

First of all, props to you for getting up and moving! Whether you’re just starting to work out, or are a well seasoned exercise veteran and gym-enthusiast, you need to be familiar with the signs you’re doing the wrong exercise. Not every workout is for everyone, it all depends on your body, goals, and physical ability. Exercise is a tool used to accomplish a goal. As the saying goes “when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”. A 400m sprinter and a Powerlifter aren’t going to have the same training program. 


If you’re exercising without a trainer, and you’re on your own to weed through the overwhelming information available on the internet, we’re hoping we can offer some guidance. There are warning signs to look out for that signal that something might not be entirely right. You may be not doing the right exercises or you could even be working against yourself if you’re not careful.

You’re feeling it in the wrong spots 

It is so important to listen to your body before, during, and after your workout. To avoid injury or overworking a particular muscle group, you want to be in tune with where you’re “feeling” the work from your exercise. 


It’s normal to feel challenged, but if you’re feeling pain or discomfort, you might need to recalibrate. 

RED FLAGS 


Squats: Bad form can lead to knee or low back pain. Don’t be afraid to go parallel or further with your squats, studies show this doesn’t hurt your knees (1). The squat is a great movement that can be dissected in great detail. Until we cover the squat, you can find great examples from Olympic Weightlifters and Powerlifters. (note how the knees move forward and the hips move back. The squat isn’t a perfect up/down movement)


Bench Press: Feeling it in your shoulders? Your elbow placement is likely the culprit. Keep your elbows close to your ribcage, and at a 45 degree angle at minimum as opposed to flaring your shoulders straight out.


Push-ups: Feeling pain or soreness in your neck when doing push-ups is common with a simple solution. Be mindful of how your head is positioned. In a push-up, you should be looking at the ground. 



Continue to be vigilant of where you’re “feeling” it even after your workout. Soreness in your muscles, even for 2-3 days, is normal and healthy, but if you feel pain in your joints then you might need to have your form checked.


With any exercise, such as the bench or squat, you want to master the movement without added weight before moving up. If something doesn’t feel right, then fix it before increasing the weight or intensity. Assuming the problem will go away or “fix itself” is a dangerous slope to go follow.


You don’t feel good after your workout 

After a workout, you should feel rejuvenated! If you’re feeling worse, that can be a sign you’re not on the right track with your exercise plan. Keep in mind, exercise shouldn’t be a punishment or feel like a chore. Be careful to not push yourself too hard when you’re starting out. If you’re too sore to workout for the rest of the week, you’ll actually slow yourself down in the long run.


Once you’ve found the right exercise for you, you’ll recognize the good feeling it brings.

HOW YOU’LL FEEL GOOD 

Increased energy levels

Quality Sleep 

Mood improvement

Confidence


Try different workouts and see what gets you excited to get moving! The best workout is the one you look forward to doing!


You aren’t seeing results

Your reason for working out is going to be different from the person next to you at the gym. Some people are hoping to lose weight, others exercise to improve their mental health and some people will be there for the sleep and energy benefits. 


Studies show an impressive correlation between regular exercise and energy level and sleep quality. You should notice an improvement to these within 2 weeks of regular exercise (2,3). 


If you’re going for weight loss or other visible results, experts say it depends on each person and their exercise regimen, but results will show faster for those new to fitness, even within a few days (4). Exercise veterans will take some more time to see results, from a few weeks to a month. 


If a month goes by with regular exercise and you don’t see the changes you’re looking for, you should take this as a sign you’re not doing the best for your body, goals, or ability. You might need to increase intensity, frequency, or some other variable.


You’re in pain days after your workout 

Your body will experience soreness and fatigue post-workout as part of its recovery, but noticing a difference between expected recovery and something else is crucial. 


DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) is normal part of exercise and it can take time for your body to heal and grow. But keep in mind, this soreness shouldn’t last longer than 48 to 72 hours post-workout. If you find yourself significantly sore for more than 3 days, or if your soreness prevents you from accomplishing your daily tasks then you may need to cut back.


When to be concerned 

Pain or aches more than 72 hours after workout

Sharp pains, especially in the joints

Impaired range of motion


To speed up this recovery process, and tend to sore muscles, consider using the Meteor!


It feels easy

When we say it feels easy, we mean that it feels too easy. There’s always that person at the gym lifting weights or using the leg press at a rapid speed like it’s nothing. While it might look impressive, a workout that is that simple for you isn’t doing you any favors.


If your exercise isn’t a challenge, you need to switch the exercise or increase the difficulty. This doesn’t mean you need to breach exhaustion every time that you workout, but you should feel tired after a workout at least a couple times a week to help increase your aerobic and strength capacities.


SIMPLE WAYS TO LEVEL UP YOUR EXERCISE 

Add more weight or reps

Increase time (for cardio)

Increase speed (for sprints or power exercises)

Add resistance in other ways (ankle weights, bands, chains or vests)

Try a new type of workout or class


Pay Attention for the Best Results

You’re not doing the best for your body if you’re mindlessly working out each day. To get the best results and decrease the risk of injury, you need to be in tune with how you’re feeling before, during, and after your workout. These are just a few signs your workout might not be the best for you and your goals, but anytime you feel discomfort or aren’t excited to workout should prompt a reflection on how you’re exercising. 

We reach our goals when we not only set them, but when we regularly record and report our training progress. Seeing your improvement written out not only keeps you accountable, but it can motivate you to reach further and dig deeper!