There is a lot of misinformation regarding exercising. One thing every athlete should know is when to continue pushing through and when to stop.
Have you ever heard of the “No Pain, No Gain” dogma?
There are different kinds of feelings you can gain from exercising. As you gain experience, you will start recognising good feelings from the bad feelings which tell you something is either wrong or about to be wrong.
Exercising should fatigue and tire you but too much of a good thing can become bad.
I will go through a variety of different feelings, tell you what causes them and what you should do if you experience them.
What exercise should cause – the good feelings
The goal of exercising is to become stronger. To do this we need to tire out and fatigue our muscles which causes tiny microdamages within them. When we rest, our bodies repair these microdamages and overcompensates for them by building our muscles bigger, and this is the time when our muscles grow – when we rest.
When you are just starting out with a new workout program or working out exceptionally hard, you are likely to start feeling fatigue and soreness in your muscles and maybe a bit of shaking which is all a good thing.
Muscle soreness is a good thing telling you your workout was efficient and you are getting stronger. I personally like this feeling and this is the part I like the most in my workouts, the sore, fatigued feeling in my muscles which tells me I have successfully tired out my muscles and I will become stronger.
This feeling will usually go away but in some cases it can last a day or two if you have worked very hard, but it will go away. You should always let your muscles rest 48 hours before exercising the same muscles again. Do note that you can exercise focusing on your other muscle groups during this time.
What you should absolutely not feel – the bad feelings
You should absolutely NEVER feel pain during your workouts. Should you feel pain I advise you to stop whatever you are doing.
But Matthew, I have heard I should always push my limits during my workouts to get stronger. What harm can it do anyway?
I am glad you asked that.
Pain is your body’s way to tell you something is wrong. Your body is basically crying for you to STOP. Whatever it is you are doing, find out the underlying root cause and treat it. The more pain you are feeling, the louder your body is screaming.
Pain is an early warning sign
When you feel pain, it basically tells you to slow down and be cautious.
It is an early warning sign something is about to go wrong. Like a herd of animals running away from a natural catastrophe.
But back to the question: what harm can it do?
Should you decide to push through your pain thinking ”no pain, no gain” you are treading on a dangerous thread. You are risking getting an injury – that is, if you haven’t got one already.
What to do when I feel pain?
There are plenty of different kinds of pains, and add in the various body parts and locations in your body – it is very difficult to tell what it is.
The easiest, and usually first thing people do is to go to the internet, start googling and maybe asking in an internet forum with other like-minded individuals who may or may not have any needed knowledge.
This is what most people do wrong. The best thing that could happen is someone will tell you to see a doctor. The worst thing that could happen is someone tells you bad advice without knowing your situation which could be even detrimental to you.
Do note however that your symptoms can go under a wide variety of conditions. Always take what you hear or read with a grain of salt and use your own judgement.
If you think you know what your problem is, good, but do take your time to see a doctor to make sure you are correct. Your doctor can give you a more thorough assessment on your condition in person than any articles or people on the internet.
Should you feel pain, ALWAYS consult your doctor. It is very difficult to assess your situation online even if the other person is a qualified and professional doctor.
Random people on online forums can not give you a realistic assessment of your situation.
Going to doctor
Okay, so you have decided to see a doctor and have booked a time. What next?
Before you do actually go to see a doctor, you should find out a few things out.
- Where did you feel pain?
- What kind of pain did you feel?
- Where did you feel pain?
- Was it sharp?
- Was it concentrated on a small area or spread on a larger area?
- How long did it last?
- When did you experience it?
- What were you doing during that time?
- How often do you feel it?
- What could have caused it?
You might be thinking this is a bit too many questions. But the thing is, your doctor has to ask a lot of questions to figure out what is causing it. Our bodies are very complex and our symptoms could be caused by a wide variety of things. So the more you know before seeing your doctor, the better off you will be and the better he can help you.
If you are not exactly sure, you can try googling with searches relating to your pain and find out more. A lot of people are searching for information on all kinds of symptoms and pains on Google so you are likely to find more information if you know what to search for.
Searching information on Google will make you more prepared to see a doctor. It is easy to think it is the doctor’s duty to help you but the reality is, the more you know, the more your doctor is able to help you.
If you go to see a doctor and say you have pain in your knee when squatting but can’t describe what kind of pain you experience, which part of the knee you feel it etc he might not be able to help you much. On the contrary, you will likely hear something along the lines of ”knees are a very complex body part and it could be anything”.
There are times when I have gone to see a doctor without knowing anything about my condition, just telling I it hurts but the doctor could not help me because I did not know the answers to the questions my doctor asked me.
And then there are times when I have done a lot of googling on my issue and I even found out the underlying root cause myself even before seeing my doctor – which made seeing a doctor very easy and comfortable since I already had an idea what could be bothering me before seeing a doctor. I then went to see a doctor to confirm it is what I think it is and get treatment. Knowing my situation allowed me to give information to my doctor without him asking because I was already familiar with what my condition was and what are the common causes and symptoms behind it.
I made an appointment with a doctor but it did not help – what to do now?
Sometimes there are times when we see a doctor but it does not help us. What now?
The reasons for it can vary. Maybe he could not get enough information assessing you, maybe he did not have expertise in the right area or maybe he was not familiar with your condition.
If your doctor visit was not useful to you because your doctor did not have the right kind of knowledge, ask where you can make an appointment with a doctor qualified in your particular case. Ask to see a doctor who has experience in the particular area that is ailing you.
After visiting a doctor
Every one of us likes to be lazy but it is not over yet after visiting your doctor. If your doctor or physiotherapist gives you exercises for rehabilitating your injury, do them regularly. Your injury or underlying issue won’t heal by itself if you keep waiting. It requires you to actively take action to treat it.
Do remember to ask your doctor his contact details so you can get back to him later should you have questions.
I have personally met a physiotherapist only to find out later he did not give me his contact information when I had forgotten what he had told me.
He had given me exercises to rehabilitate my muscles and personally showed me how to perform them. But later when I got back to home, I had already forgotten what they were. And since I did not remember his name, email or phone number I could not call him back and ask how to do them again.
Should you ever feel pain while exercising, you need to STOP whatever you are doing. You will risk getting an injury if you continue pushing through despite of your pain. Google if you must to find out more information on what is bothering you and book an appointment with a doctor or a physiotherapist.
Do not trust everything random folks on internet forums who may or may not possess doctor credentials tell you. Even for a qualified doctor it is very difficult to assess your situation without seeing you in person.
Share you experiences with pain and injuries below!