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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Steer Clear of Overtraining in Your Workouts

ThinkstockPhotos-sb10062340z-001.jpgOvertraining is something that is commonly experienced in the fitness world yet frequently not recognized. What exactly is overtraining? It happens when the volume or intensity of exercise goes beyond your capacity to recover. Progress is no longer seen, and as time goes on, individuals who are overtraining tend to lose strength and become weaker. This is something that by definition everyone would want to avoid, but it’s easier said than done!

A lot of exercise happens to be a mindset. We’ve all been there: “I’ll just go for a run since I ate a whole pizza last night,” or “I’ll grab a second workout today so I can pig out on dinner.” However, maybe these things are pushing you over the edge into the overtraining zone, a place that you really don’t want to be.

Let’s take a look at five signs that you could be overtraining, and then five potential solutions.

Five Signs of Overtraining

  • Repeated injury: Do you have an injury that heals and then comes right back again? One sign of potential overtraining is having repeated injuries pop up. Because you are not allowing proper recovery between training sessions, the injury will never fully heal and keep coming back.
  • Exhaustion: Do you feel like you just can’t quite seem to get enough rest between training sessions? When an individual is overtraining, the work capacity being done is greater than the recovery time allotted. If you feel your body is not quite ready for the next workout, consider taking a rest.
  • Lack of progression: Are you stuck in your workouts and not seeing any gains even with the greater work capacity? If you are overtraining, you will begin to see a lack of progression in strength and training gains. The workout plateau could be caused by other factors, but consider taking a look at your training if you are lacking in progression.
  • Nagging injury: Do you have a nagging injury that won’t heal? If you have an injury that you cannot recover from and it refuses to go away, you might be training too much. Taking a break will allow your body to recover from those nagging injuries.
  • Persistent muscle soreness: Are you constantly sore after workouts and never feel “normal”? A classic sign of overtraining is constant muscle soreness that will not go away. The lactic acid buildup in your body doesn’t have time to flush out of the muscles when the training regimen is too high.

If you are struggling with any of the overtraining signs, consider one of the following solutions.

Five Solutions for Overtraining

  • Take a break. This tends to be the hardest one because of the challenging mindset, but you will do your body a huge favor if you take some time off. Maybe it’s a week or two weeks, but allow yourself enough time off to fully recover and see the gains that come from it.
  • Reduce volume. One way to break overtraining issues is to reduce the amount that you are working out. You can reduce length or frequency of workouts during the week. Either way, cut down on the volume and see how you feel.
  • Rethink your training plan. You may need to rethink the training plan that you currently have. Maybe you need to change up days or space workouts apart from what you currently have going. Take a look and make adjustments where necessary.
  • Try a massage. Sometimes a deep-tissue massage will help to push out some buildup within your muscles. Take a day and schedule a massage in place of your training session and see if that helps.
  • Reevaluate your goals. While no one wants to reduce a goal they originally set, sometimes if your body cannot take the load you are putting it under, you may need to make a change. This doesn’t mean that you need to reduce your goals; maybe just making small modifications would be acceptable.

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This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To read more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: workouts injury prevention overtraining exhaustion massage

Five Resistance-Training Mistakes that Slow Muscle-Building

ThinkstockPhotos-517048740.jpgBuilding muscle is perhaps the most common goal (second to fat loss) of an exercise program. Many people eventually hit a plateau with exercise routines and muscle-gaining processes and find it increasingly difficult to continue putting on new muscle. Once the body becomes too familiar with certain exercises or a certain style of training, your results will be hindered.

However, you might in fact need to take a closer look at your training habits before you jump to the conclusion that you have hit a plateau. Take a look at my top 5 muscle-building mistakes, and how to power through the plateau and continue making gains.

1. Overtraining

Overtraining is a very real trap to which many people trying to gain muscle fall victim. In our society we often think that when trying to gain muscle, “more is better.” However, when it comes to training, more is often not better. Only the right amount of the right type of training will be beneficial to increasing muscle in the body.

The easiest way to explain this concept is to first point out that in order for muscles to grow in size (hypertrophy), they must be allowed to fully recover from micro tears experienced during an intense resistance-training workout. If we fall into the trap of thinking more is better, we often find ourselves either doing an absurd amount of sets and reps for each muscle group, or training the same muscle group multiple times a week, and not allowing proper recovery time. While I do applaud the effort in this technique, I have learned from personal experience that sometimes instead of training harder, we must train smarter.

2. Under-training

As opposed to mistake number 1, numerous people also often under-train when working out. Under-training happens when you walk into the gym and head over to the leg extension machine, perform a set of 12 reps at low-moderate intensity, and play with your phone for 2 or 3 minutes while resting, waiting on your next set. When trying to build muscle, the number of reps you complete does not mean anything if you are not bringing the correct intensity to those numbers. If you are on rep 12 and it feels like you are trying to lift a car, you are at the correct intensity for that exercise. If you get to rep 12 and you are already looking forward to your next set because you felt as though 12 reps was not enough, you might not be training with the proper intensity to build muscle. A good workout should come with challenges; therefore, you should almost be reaching failure on each set you do. If a person does not push themselves close to their limits, gaining new muscle and improving lifts will be rather difficult.

3. Avoiding the Hard Exercises

Most of us are guilty of this (including myself). We tend to avoid the hard exercises because they challenge our comfort level in the gym. However, since a majority of the “hard exercises” we tend to avoid happen to be compound exercises, we are actually doing ourselves a huge disservice. Compound exercises are extremely beneficial when trying to build muscle. They tend to use multiple muscle groups at the same time (even the ones we are not accustomed to working out individually). Therefore, compound exercises are great not only for working the major muscle groups in the body, but are also great for working the smaller muscle groups, which will result in improved strength levels overall that should transfer over to other lifts.

4. Failure to Build a Foundation

Before you can move to the “hard” or compound exercises, you must first build a solid foundation through muscular strength, muscular endurance, and proper movement patterns. These three components tie into one another very closely. If a person does not have a solid foundation with correct movement patterns, he or she will be performing compound exercises with improper lifting techniques, causing untargeted muscle groups to compensate. If the targeted muscle is not firing as effectively as it should be within the compound exercise, how can you expect a great deal of muscle growth?

Conversely, if a person has not improved their muscular endurance before attempting to improve their muscular strength, he or she might only be able to lift a certain amount of weight for only a short time (due to lack of muscular endurance), even if the person has learned proper movement technique. Lastly, if a person has not improved their muscular strength, it will be very difficult to continuously improve the weight needed to lift in order to create muscle hypertrophy (or size). So as you can see, building those three foundations first plays a huge role in long-term increase of muscle.

5. Nutrition

The last and arguably most common mistake seen when trying to build muscle is actually undernourishing the muscles themselves. Can you really expect your muscles to be able to grow when you are not giving them the proper amount of nutrients? That’s like expecting your car to survive a family road trip from Indiana to California without putting gas in it first. It simply won’t happen.

The mistake we usually make is thinking that as long as we are allowing our bodies to be in a “caloric surplus,” we will grow new muscle as long as we participate in a consistent resistance-training program. Unfortunately, not all foods are created with equal nutritional value, meaning there are foods we consume on a daily basis that are not giving us the proper amount of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats our muscles need in order to grow. Instead they fill us up with “empty calories” (no nutritional value) that include calories from sugar and saturated fat that provide little to no health benefits.

To make matters even worse, you actually intake more calories per gram when you consume fats compared to carbohydrates and proteins.

Nutrient Calories per Gram Calories in 50 grams
Carbohydrates 4 200
Proteins 4 200
Fats 9 450

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Many times people overlook these mistakes when trying to build muscle. However, if you begin to understand that all of these factors play a huge role in the efficiency of the muscle-building process, you will finally be able to get past the physical barriers you have unintentionally created for yourself.

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This blog was written by Darius Felix, Health Fitness Specialist at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: nutrition muscles resistance overtraining recovery muscle building

Endurance or Speed? Two Common Goals for Running

For years people have been running in marathons and half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. And most recently the wide world of racing has taken a turn for themed runs, which is quite exciting if you have ever been to one! But no matter how many years go by, two goals continue to come up: running farther, and running faster.

We often hear someone say, “I want to be able to run farther than I did before.” We see it all the time: “I am going from the couch to running a 5K,” or “Last year I completed the 10K, so this year I really want to try the half marathon!” The other thing we hear is, “I like the distance that I am running, but next time I want to cut off 10 minutes.” The goal is to keep going faster and breaking a personal record. But which one is better—which goal should we strive to accomplish?

There are hundreds of programs out there that help you with one of the two goals: programs that are designed to help you increase your distance over time, or programs that are designed to keep your distance but increase your pace. And the good news is that both types work for different people.

Kris Berg, an exercise physiologist and professor at the University of Nebraska Omaha, says that after several decades of studying how an athlete can increase their endurance, he continues to lean on the profound answer of “The person needs to do what feels right for them.” Every person is made up differently genetically, and every method works differently for each person. It’s important to listen to what your body says, and if you can’t go farther, work on going faster, and if you can’t go faster, work on going farther!

Let’s take a look at each of the two common goals more in depth. 

Common goal #1: Being able to build endurance and go farther over time. 

The first and most important thing to keep in mind with any sort of training (and not just endurance running) is that adaptation and change are gradual. You will not be able to run 3 miles today and 16 miles tomorrow. Building gradually is vital to grasp before you set an overall goal, which must be realistic. Gradual adaptation means gradual, patient, and consistent. 

Another trick to being able to run long distances is to not start off too fast. Many people don’t make the distance they want because they are running at a pace that they cannot sustain. Find a pace that works for you! 

One other vital point to make when working on building your endurance: don’t overtrain. In most marathon training programs and endurance building programs out there, you will not see more than three days worth of running per week. You need to allow your body time to rest between runs.

Common goal #2: Working on speed to shave off some time from your last race. 

Disclaimer: working on speed is hard; be prepared to be mentally tough and stick to the workouts. When working on speed you will want to focus on some interval workouts. These are workouts that you are pushing at a fast pace for a certain period of time, then slowing down to recover before the next interval starts. 

And a final tip: If you want to run faster, you need to make your legs stronger. By doing some strength training and building up muscle mass, your speed will increase.

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So whatever your goal may be for your next race, keep these things in mind. A great way to help train to meet your goal is with our Mini-Marathon & 5K Training Program offered at NIFS. REGISTER NOW and take advantage of Early bird pricing until 11/22/15.

This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

 

 

Topics: NIFS running marathon training mini marathon half marathon endurance overtraining goals speed

To the Extreme: Gearing Up for High-Intensity Training

High-intensityI have witnessed and been a part of a growing trend in fitness these days: “If it’s not hurting, it’s not working,” and the end of a workout consists of you lying in a pool of sweat unable to move for a few minutes. What I see are mainly poorly coached high-intensity movement jamborees with little concern for proper progressions, obsessions to complete extreme events such as marathons and mud runs, and a great deal of overtraining.

Some mistakes I have made in my own training and the training of others were based on this “it’s not effective if you don’t feel like dying at the end of it” mentality. Having completed two Tough Mudders and a Train Like a Navy Seal program myself, I understand the draw and the fascination with this type of training and events. The mistake is the notion that these are the “standard” by which we measure ourselves when it comes to our physical fitness and capabilities and what our workouts should ultimately look like. I am here to tell you that they are not.

Now, I am not advocating that you should forget about completing that first marathon pr obstacle run, or aspiring to participate in high-intensity training to challenge yourself physically. These are all fine and good, and high-intensity training can be very effective in many aspects of our fitness. What I am advocating is that you be smart about it and take the proper approach and not get caught up with the mainstream idea that this is the standard of health and fitness.

Here are some key steps to ensure that you get the best results from your training, safely. At the end of the day, it should be about getting your desired results and being able to live your daily life.

1. Get Evaluated

Receiving a proper evaluation from a qualified professional before starting any program is paramount. A good evaluation should assess your mobility, stability, relative strength, and cardiac capacity. At NIFS, we use the Functional Movement Screening to help evaluate these aspects and pinpoint any problems you may have first and foremost in your mobility. Without proper mobility, adding load will soon lead to an injury. Knowing your ability to stabilize those mobile joints will provide a focus for the next link in the chain. Having a good grasp on how strong you are with your own body is vital to future strength programming.

Lastly, how healthy are your heart and lungs? A solid evaluation will ensure you do not bite off more than you can chew when beginning your program. Sadly, most people skip this step and their first evaluation is with their doctor diagnosing an injury that occurred during training. Get the movement and fitness evaluation now!

2. Build a Foundation

After gathering that crucial information in the evaluation step, it is now time to build a strong foundation. I am sure you all have heard the story of the Three Little Pigs, so I won’t bore you by reciting it. But the important message there is without a stable and strong foundation, any gust of wind will knock you over, so to speak. Attempting high-intensity, power-based movements on a weak foundation will certainly cause the house to crumble. Adding a positive to a negative will not produce positive results (another Gray Cook truism); it will only continue to train the dysfunctional movement pattern and weaken the foundation. After you find those limitations, take the time to fix them and beef up your foundation on which to build.

3. Master Your Body

A rather frustrating trend I see a great deal is attempting advanced exercises (whether it is barbells, kettlebells, or dumbbells, to name a few) before mastering basic body-weight movements. You learned to crawl before you learned to walk, right? So why would you do heavy bench press if you cannot complete a proper push-up? I think it is drilled into our heads that the best way to look cool on YouTube or Facebook is to load the barbell up with some bumper plates (because they look bigger) and bang out a few crappy reps of a barbell squat. Utilize the best equipment that you have at your disposal, all the time, YOUR BODY! Mastering basic body-weight movements such as the push-up, squat, pull-up, and lunge will set you up properly to attempt more advanced exercises while decreasing your chance for injury. By the way, some of the most effective work I do with people does not involve any additional tools, just the most important one, themselves.

4. Follow a Progressive Program

After completing the above steps, you will know the best place to start and where eventually you would like to finish. Following a fitness program that gradually increases technical needs and intensity will allow you grow the strength and skill to take on more advanced and intense workouts and events. This program really needs to be developed specifically for you, and following a program of someone else will not elicit the same results. To get stronger, you have to start where you are capable of completing the exercise with proper technique and then gradually and systematically increase the load. That’s how it works, that’s it. You will not jump onto a bench press and bang out a world-record lift without the proper progressions. Same thing goes for all aspects of fitness.

So if that is the case (and trust me, it is), why do we think it is okay to hop right into a high-intensity workout or event that we have not yet prepared for by following proper progressions? Even worse, we wonder why we get hurt or don’t see the results we were promised by the very motivated and sweaty individual on TV. You can’t be the best at something right now. It takes methodical and progressive steps, and failure, to get there. A very important part of your progressive program is recovery. Overtraining is a huge problem these days, and I think it is simply due to the lack of knowledge that recovery equals training. The benefits of your work happen during recovery, and not necessarily during training. Keep your eyes open for an upcoming post centered around this important and sometimes neglected concept of recovery in fitness and training.

I’ll be the first to admit my mistakes and that I was “that guy” in the past. “Show up and throw up” was the motto, and anything less than that was a failure. Due to that mentality, I am not ashamed to say that I am still dealing with injuries today from that time in my training journey, and it has definitely affected my training and daily life. John Maxwell once said that “a man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them,” and I believe I have.

Don’t do what many people do: do the above steps in reverse order. If you have, be big enough to admit the mistake and correct it. Be smart about your training, and don’t get caught up in the hype of what some camps believe fitness and physical activity should look like. Gray Cook put it best when he said, “More is not better; better is better.” Be better!

This blog was written by Tony Maloney, Health Fitness Specialist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

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Topics: injury prevention weightlifting overtraining HIT

“Sir! Yes Sir! May I Have Another?” The Militarization of Fitness

200069247-001There is a fitness trend that has been bothering me for a long time, and in recent years it has gotten exponentially worse. There are exercise programs that have actually declared war on the human body, and by doing so, have widened the gap further between health and fitness.

I know that they are commonly linked, but please understand that health and fitness are not the same thing. You can have very healthy biomarkers and still be unfit. Likewise, you can have tremendous strength or outrageous endurance and be very unhealthy.

The Trend of Intense, Dangerous Workouts

This current version of “beating the body into submission” by the evil triumvirate of ego, willpower, and ignorance started with the media marketing experiment of P90X and its search for the limits of stupidity that people would pay for. At about the same time, there was the appearance of neighborhood boot camps that were conducted on strip mall parking lots and/or any available piece of grass that no one would be chased off of, led by unqualified trainers out to make a quick buck by riding the trend of selling pain to the fitness gullible. And then came the growth of CrossFit and its many copies selling to the male ego: SWAT Team, MMA, and Special Ops–inspired training so that “You can be the man!”

The common theme of this period is finding the limits of discomfort that the public can be convinced to invest their time, energy, and money into by marketing to the ego’s desire for quick and nearly impossible change by violating the basic laws of human biology and twisting logic to arrive at “the-end-justifies-the-means” training: No Pain, No Gain! Train to Failure. Train Hard or Go Home!

Currently, we have a cultural fitness myth that is doomed to fail because it is not sustainable. The human body cannot live on the “edge” for long without breaking down. The changes we desire actually occur during recovery as a result of proper exercise stimulus. More stimulus is not better; it is just more, and too much can retard recovery and greatly increase the risk of injury.

Jonathan Angelili wrote a very thoughtful blog published on Greatist titled, “The Massive Fitness Trend That’s Not Actually Healthy at All,” where he states that the fitness industry has come to “glorify exercise as an all-out war on the body.” Instead of living within our bodies and having fitness and health evolve naturally, the ego/mind plays the role of sadistic coach intent on whipping the lazy body to reach some arbitrary goal as quickly as possible, at which time another arbitrary goal is launched, so the beatings continue.

P90X, boot camps, and CrossFit didn’t create this antagonistic attitude toward the human body, but rather they simply took advantage of it. We, as a culture, have had a very long history of the mind being separated from the body and the belief that success, however you define it, must be chased down and wrestled to the ground at all cost, including the loss of health. The belief is “the more you want it, the more you must sacrifice to get it.” Sadly, way too many people are quite willing to sacrifice their health for what they have been convinced is The Standard for Fitness, not realizing that health and fitness can be diametrically opposed.

Pain Is a Great Teacher!

Punch a shark long enough in the nose and it will eventually bite you. Living on the extreme edge of training because it makes the ego feel special and supported by the mistaken beliefs that more is better and more often is better yet, a breakdown is inevitable. If you want to put a smiley face on this situation, pain is a great teacher.

Pain gets your attention in a way that nothing else can. Movement can no longer continue without a constant reminder that something is very wrong, and more than likely, you are responsible.

The mindset that led to the pain happening in the first place will begin by muscling on: icing, taking OTC pain relievers, and even metaphorically just “rubbing dirt on it.” You know, just suck it up and move on. Next will come a quick trip to a doctor for the next level up pain relief so that the same training can continue without missing a beat. If none of that works, then comes the specialist with X-rays, MRIs, PT, and possible surgery. That same training that got you here has stopped and the search begins for “what can I do now?”

Like a shop teacher accidentally cutting off his fingers with a band saw: Oops! At least, you’re helping the medical economy.

There is inherent risk in exercising. Most waiver forms state that exercise can even cause death, extremely rare but still possible, but the injuries I’m referring to come under the heading of “Can Be and Should Be Avoided” with an eye toward injury prevention.

Reasonable goals, properly designed workout programs, and just some plain common sense can go a long way to safely reaching your goals with few injury setbacks. If you are involved in fitness for the long haul, these three elements can lead to an enjoyable life of fitness and health.

Just ask yourself two questions:

  1. Is what I’m doing striving toward health and fitness?
  2. Am I learning to live within my body and experiencing greater joy while on this journey?

If your answers are yes, cool, you’re on your way.

If your answers are no, then “Sir! Yes Sir! May I Have Another!”

This blog was written by Rick Huse, NIFS Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

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Topics: fitness injury prevention challenge boot camp overtraining health injuries pain fitness trends CrossFit

Overcoming Stress, Exhaustion, and Overtraining

Kris-1Are you having one of those days (or weeks, or months) where you feel like the gerbil on the wheel? You are going along just fine, and then a stressful situation crops up and you to need to spin the wheel faster. Soon, that’s not fast enough. When you finally realize you are going to be thrown off the wheel if you stop, it hits you: you’re exhausted. I get this way every few months.

It doesn’t take much, as you look back, to see how all the mess got started. But we are here for solutions, so let’s find a plan to get us out of the wheel safely.

Take a Break or Try Relaxation Techniques

A weeks’ vacation would be great at this time, but most of us cannot just get up and go. What we can do is plan a short vacation or “staycation” for a long weekend or one day of the week. For me, it helps if I can involve my family, as we seem to be together less and less during these stressful times.

If a vacation week, weekend, or day off is not possible, you need to find time each day for meditation, reflection, and relaxation. Now, I am not about legs crossed and chants, but finding a quiet time and place where you can just STOP is a good place to begin your unwinding.

Deep breathing will help you get to a calmer place. I am not setting a time limit on this, so do as much as you can. Sit quietly and listen to your breath: good, long inhales and longer exhales. Fill your lungs and diaphragm, feeling your belly rise and fall with the breath. Do not think of anything, and try to block out your distractions. Music, it has been said, can calm the savage beast; well, you and I are that beast and we need calm, so that may help.

Here’s another blog about deep-breathing exercises for stress relief.

We cannot determine how stress adds to our weight gain or failure to lose, but it does factor in. If you can find a calm place to take yourself, to get rid of this stress, you will feel better, and thus your body will react better.

Overtraining, Stress and Your Heart Rate

“I’m not overtrained; I’m just not fit.” No, you probably are overtrained and need a break. One good way to tell is to take your heart rate first thing in the morning. (Make sure you don’t have full bladder, or it will raise your heart rate.) When you are rested, recovered, and feeling good, that’s the best time to figure out your rate. If your rate is up three to five beats, you need a break. So if you start now when you know you are stressed, try to take your rate a few days in a row, as you are taking it easy. See whether the morning rate drops.

Usually we don’t need to do the heart rate test very often (one time every two weeks or so), but in the beginning take it for a few days (three to five if possible) to get an idea where you are at.

Overtraining can cause injuries. See what the NIFS experts say about some of these types of injuries here.

A Plan for Resting on “Taper Weeks”

Most runners will tell you that taper week is the toughest week to train. Basically, this week you rest and cut down your running to be ready for race day. There is a great quote about this: “It is better to be over-rested than under-recovered.” Your body is calling (perhaps screaming) for a break, and you are going to have to learn to back down the exercise for a good week and possibly more.

In my mind, two weeks would be crazy, lazy, fattening, and maddening, but this is the bargain I have made with myself (thanks to my training partners for playing along): one week of easy, short workouts; the next will be more challenging and fun. All intense work will be very short, 15 to 20 seconds with long breaks (up to three times as long).

After my hiatus I would like to get on a race training plan or a strength plan and start at it full bore. For now I am going to nap, eat well, go as hard as I can, OR LESS, and enjoy the freedom from any strenuous workouts. If you are feeling the same, I hope you will join me!

This blog was written by Kris Simpson, NIFS Personal Trainer. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

When your ready to start your race planning for 2015 cross the finish line with us! The 25th Annual Mini Marathon & 5K Training Program starts January 21–May 6, 2015. Training is Wednesdays at 6pm at NIFS downtown.

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Topics: stress marathon training injury prevention overtraining

Thomas’ Corner: Shin Splint Showdown

March can be a good starting point for goal setting and modifying resolutions (not to mention contemplating the time we have until swimsuit weather arrives). Regardless of individual intentions and goals, starting a new routine, becoming a regular at the gym, not properly warming up and cooling down and breaking in new sneakers all have one nagging issue in common: shin splints.shin splints

What Is a Shin Splint?

A shin splint is described as pain in the lower leg and is typically located on the front, inside portion of the shin bone (tibia). Some individuals experience tenderness, numbness, and even throbbing in the affected area. The pain usually lasts only during exercise and will go away when we are at rest.

What Causes Shin Splints?

Shin splints are mainly caused by running form, running on hard surfaces, overuse/overtraining, nonsupportive shoes, and genetics (flat feet). While the best treatment for shin splints remains simple rest, it is permissible to exercise if proper post-exercise treatment is administered. This treatment includes icing the shin and keeping it elevated for 10 to 15 minutes after your exercise session.

Preventing Shin Splints

Shin splints are treatable and preventable. Do not let them beat you in your quest for fitness and wellness prosperity. Take the necessary precautions and be aware of how your body is responding to your training. For expert advice on footwear, ask your family podiatrist or footwear professional. You can also help your cause by avoiding running on hard surfaces, adjusting workout intensity to a gradual increase (instead of “no pain, no gain” mentality), and making sure you are wearing proper shoes that fit your foot type.

Stretches For Preventing Shin Splints

shin spint stretchshin splint stretchFor shin splint prevention, begin a stretching routine that includes standing calf stretches (shown to the right using a slanted service), Achilles tendon stretches (shown using a towel for better range of motion), as well as a well-rounded dynamic warm-ups.

It is also important to strengthen the muscles in the lower leg with toe raises and toe presses (shown below using a step).

shin spint stretchshin splint stretch

Please contact a NIFS Health Fitness Specialist to help you set up exercises and stretches that are appropriate for your fitness level and goals.

Be well, and best wishes!

If you are interested in training for a half or full marathon, NIFS has programs just for you! Contact Stephanie Kaiser for more information.

This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, Health Fitness Specialist at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: Thomas' Corner running injury prevention overtraining

Thomas’ Corner: No Pain, No Gain?

thomas

“No Pain, No Gain.” This motto has been forever linked to wellness and fitness. We know that without a little struggle, there will be no progress, but is it really necessary to “bring the pain?”

We do know that when we workout, we create muscle soreness. This is, in part, due to overload of the muscle during exercise or even creating very small tears in the muscle fiber. There is good news though! Your body will repair these muscle tears and become even stronger, allowing you to better handle the workloads of your future workouts.

A concern does arise, however, if significant and repeated tissue tearing is happening frequently; a severe injury or tissue damage could take place. (See this article for more on the hazards of overtraining.) To prevent this from happening, you can start one of several pre-workout rituals, including foam rolling and dynamic stretching. A post-workout stretching is also equally important followed by good nutrition and adequate rest.

Creating a plan of action with a fitness specialist or personal trainer will help you develop a workout that is appropriate for your goals! Yes there may still be some pain at times but it's the gain you'll remember.

Evolve and rejoice,

Thomas

This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, Health Fitness Specialist at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: fitness center Thomas' Corner workouts injury prevention overtraining stretching