Life Beyond the Squat

I am totally at a crossroads here. I love squats. I love them so much that I find myself looking for any excuse to substitute a squat into whatever I’m doing. Jumping jacks? Perfect opportunity for a baby pulse squat in between. Sprints? Definitely tacking on 10 speed squats at every turn around. Brushing my teeth? Prime time for some quick pre bedtime squats. Driving?…ha just kidding!

But you know what I don’t like? The world acting like squats are the end all be all for women in their workouts.

Basically it’s all just getting a little excessive and I am pretty sure I’m not the only one wrapped up in the quest for the perfect backside curve, or perfect squat form. This was evident by the line of 10 girls eagerly squatting into the mirror at the gym yesterday willing the perfect booty to magically show. When did squats go from being a staple total body move to a cultish world of big booty gals breaking laws of physics through hugely toned behinds while thousands of instagramers double tap in awe?

squatting

It all reminds me of those hilarious/utterly disturbing pictures of guys skipping leg days and obviously working every muscle group besides legs 364 days a year. Makes ya do a double take in the worst way. Your workout routine is all about balance yet all I hear as a female on social media and in the gym is that squatting will solve all of my problems. It’s like the kale and avocado craze consuming health buffs around the world. Squatting has always been there yet now people think they should be doing it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Suddenly you are a fitness super star if 95% of your workout is spent squatting.

On the other hand it is an inarguable FACT that squatting is one of the most, if not THE most, functional body weight exercises around. Working over 200 muscles in the body there is no doubt this move is something everyone needs to practice. They burn tons of calories per rep, allow you to survive beach season, and most importantly cultivate a killer foundation of strength for active movements.

Luckily for anyone feeling consumed by squat madness there are numerous alternatives. Been squatting life away for the past year? Change it up try an upper body routine. Make squatting just a portion instead of the entire workout.

Check out my original post here from some awesome alternatives from Share it FItness

How to Deal When Your Legs Can’t

It’s that dull pain after leaving the gym. The throbbing while you are driving. The ache that flairs up while you sleep. But it’s probably nothing…

At least that’s what we all think until one half assed workout turns into two and you find yourself earnestly explaining to your lifting partner…”oh no  I’m not limping.” You are definitely limping but that’s normal right? I mean you workout hard, pain is weakness leaving the body after all. That’s right see ya later weakness! This must be what being fit feels like, it just hurts so good. So good that you can’t walk up a flight of stairs. So good that you…ouch…have to stop mid workout wincing from this now raging pain. So good that now you can’t work out?

Okay so maybe it’s not nothing now. It’s probably a strained muscle. Your friend’s brother’s girlfriend’s aunt had something like this once and she powered through it. Except this isn’t sore like a strained muscle would feel. Actually this feels like a spot directly on the bone that’s hurting. You are already thinking about the F-word. That word that sends fitness nuts into a spiral of anxiety, stress fracture.

Time for a doctor appointment, just to confirm that it’s not in fact the f-word and probably just a strain from overuse. The week before the appointment reality has set in, your bone feels bruised, and every step hurts…definitely the f-word. You make the necessary preparations to come to terms with the reality that the leg is done for. It now feels like a possibility that you will never run again. All of the research points to that darn f-word. The doctor is a waste of your time, because you already know, but you will go just to confirm your spare time clinical skills. Doctor know nothing proceeds to ask if you have ever heard of shin splints, which officially makes the last hour of your day totally worthless…inducing the eternal health care face palm.

Sometimes your legs get tired and simply can’t deal. When they are tired it is important to listen to your body, or the above scenario will be a routine event. Over working and excessive training are a recipe for exhaustion. Coping with this feeling is extremely challenging and difficult for just about everyone. Below are a few methods through which to cope with tired legs and manage injury more effectively.

Look down stream: When it comes to injury looking down stream is what really allows the situation to sink in. Looking for the cause of the injury and making plans to strengthen the area around it is always a good idea, but can also prompt further working out when what the body really needs is rest. Take the time to look down the metaphorical stream one month from now. Visualizing where you want to be in the future can provide some motivation to start dealing with the present.

Don’t ignore: they always say athletes and active people are the most in tune with their bodies, but they are also the most eager to pretend like all things are fine. For whatever reason, accepting weakness or injury is never an easy thing to do, especially when you have plans and goal surrounding the activity. Clearly think about what is being felt and listen to your body.

Reassess: does everything hurt? If so rest. Do only certain things hurt? Find out what those things are and avoid them. Talk with your doctor about approved activities. Most of the time you will have the ability to do low impact activities, or things that do not irritate the pain you are experiencing.

Get a professional opinion: Appointments are never fun, and you may think you know what’s going on, but hearing it from a professional can make it real. Doctor know nothing at least has the authority to tell you to slow down or ease up and this can be much more meaningful than the friends and family who have probably been telling you the same thing all month.

Readjust: your idea of what working out is doing for you. Spend the down time going for walks, doing partner workouts with a friend, and trying new things that may have not been considered before the injury. And consider if what was being done before was healthy or excessive.

When things start to hurt impulse says to keep going. Throughout an active life the body endures tons of different aches and pains that other’s don’t have to deal with. Instead of frantically trying to maintain the same level before the pain, listen closely to what the body is saying and consider the balance between mental and physical health during times of injury.

-RV