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Fitness: Injury-Free Workouts

By Oscar Saucedo

It’s New Year’s Resolution time—the busiest time—in the fitness industry.  The gyms will be full of new and returning members. We welcome all of you! As a manager at Gold’s Gym, I realize how important the first weeks of our new relationship will be for both your and our success. In the fitness business, acquiring new members is always great. But the successful fitness facilities are able to keep more members coming back!

How can we keep members coming back?  We try to keep you seeing great results all year!  Gold’s Gym has determined through research that the “fitness cliff” is February 9th. That’s the day we begin to see people quitting on their New Year’s fitness goals. Some of the more common reasons for giving up are 1) unrealistic expectations; 2) unproductive workouts; and 3) injuries. These reasons can be reduced to onefundamental reason: the fitness enthusiast doesn’t seek out the necessary support to succeed.  Seek out support in the form of programs, education, and personal training to help you keep coming back to finish what you start.   For this month, we will touch on only one of the mentioned reasons and explain some basic ways to stay injury-free. 

Injuries can be common for beginners.  This is because the beginner is deconditioned.  For our purposes, to be deconditioned means that the client has been sedentary for way too long.  Muscles are underused, and the resulting strength imbalances can eventually lead to injuries.

A good personal trainer will be able to see signs of deconditioning in a new member during the first meeting.  This first meeting is usually free of charge to the members and you should take full advantage of it.  Get a thorough assessment to find out where your muscular imbalances are and how to correct them.  This is a great first step to avoid injuries early in your fitness journey. Some signs of deconditioning that a trainer will look for are bad posture and inefficient movement.

When assessing a client’s posture and movement, we look at the 1) head/neck area; 2) shoulders; 3) hips; 4) knees; and 5) feet. Inactivity will cause muscular imbalances around all these “checkpoints” and cause bad posture and inefficient movement patterns.  For example, when the head protrudes forward, it usually means that the muscles in the front of the neck are tight and the muscles on the back of the neck are stretched out and weakened.  When the shoulders are hunched forward, it can indicate that the muscles of the chest are tight while the muscles of the middle back are stretched out and weakened. Think about how we spend so much time with our head forward and our shoulders hunched and you can see why it is so common to have posture like this.  Right now, I am typing at my computer.  If I don’t think about my posture, I can easily be sitting with my head forward and shoulders hunched.  We can do this while driving, watching television, etc.  The point is, the positions we assume daily in a sedentary lifestyle can lead to horribly bad posture.  And when you take that bad posture into the gym and attempt to run, jump, and lift heavy things, an injury is virtually unavoidable.  

Obviously, there is much more that can be discussed. But we will summarize with saying that keeping you focused and working on your goals is in everyone’s best interest—yours and ours.  So when you re-dedicate yourself to fitness this year, meet with one of our personal trainers to keep you working consistently and injury-free.

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