Have you ever injured your shoulder or back by loading your barbell with too much weight and failing to properly execute the move? Did an Inversion-gone-wrong in yoga or Pilates leave you with a muscle strain? How about shinsplints or a sprained ankle from running? Let’s face it: Gym-related injuries happen. But can they be avoided?
“It depends on the scenario. All too often, we find ourselves trying to ‘look good’ for a special occasion, event, milestone or photo shoot in a short matter of time,” says Gianna Fae Vassilakos, a certified holistic nutrition coach, master personal trainer, reiki practitioner, NPC bikini competitor and plant-based foodie who helps her clients find balance — mind, body and spirit. “The ‘all-or-nothing’ mentality can severely raise the likelihood of injury, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. The level of activity also plays a major part. The more aggressive the workout, the higher the chances of injury.”
If you’re going to the gym and casually riding a stationary bike while browsing social media, you’re a lot less likely to get injured, considering you’re not enduring a strenuous workout, but you aren’t likely to make any gains, either.
So what’s a fitness junkie to do in order to strike the right balance? Well, you can start with Vassilakos’ tips for safer workouts:
“Your fitness journey should be enjoyable and not rushed for a short-term goal,” Vassilakos says. “Listen to your body, embrace balance, practice self-care and take rest days when necessary. It’s one thing to push past your limit, but it’s another to actually know your limit. Allow your mind and muscles to connect, which allows you to evolve from the inside out.”