Workout Injuries are Not Normal, So Don’t Accept Them As Normal

Workout injuries shouldn’t need to happen, ever. Much in the same way that a doctor takes the Hippocratic Oath to “first do no harm”, we at Vertex Fitness adopt the same philosophy in our approach to exercise. I’ve noticed a disturbing trend lately among fitness enthusiasts who believe that getting injured is a natural part of working out. Workout injuries are not normal, however. You should never get injured exercising, if you’re practicing proper form and responsible techniques. Getting fit at any cost doesn’t make sense if you’re getting hurt while doing it, because then you aren’t really getting healthier. Our definition of “health”, “fitness”, and “exercise” explain why hurting yourself to get fit is not compatible. The definitions that guide us at Vertex Fitness are taken from the book “Body by Science” by Doug McGuff, M.D., and are as follows:

Health: A physiological state in which there is an absence of disease or pathology and that maintains the necessary biologic balance between the catabolic and anabolic states.

Fitness: The bodily state of being physiologically capable of handling challenges that exist above a resting threshold of activity.

Exercise: A specific activity that stimulates a positive physiological adaptation that serves to enhance fitness and health and does not undermine the latter in the process of enhancing the former.”

Particularly note the last half of the definition for exercise: it does not undermine your health in the process of increasing your fitness. If you’re laid up on crutches, you’re not healthy. Current workout and fitness culture has normalized some pretty unhealthy behaviors, however. Crash weight loss programs and wildly unbalanced diet plans are just one symptom of an overall trend of ignoring the requirements for basic good health in favor of pie-in-the-sky promises and quick gains. But one of the most disturbing trends in the fitness world is the normalization of workout injuries. Some people who lift weights in the gym or participate in some of the more intense exercise programs really believe that workout injuries are a normal, every day part of getting fit, almost a badge of honor. But how are you making yourself more healthy if you’re limping to the office or ending up in the hospital with a case of Rhabdomyolysis?

How Did Workout Injuries Become So Ubiquitous?

I believe that fitness marketing has a part to play here–the messaging coming from everyone from Gatorade to Under Armor encourages fitness seekers to go all out and push through the pain, as though this were an integral part of the process. But there’s a difference between acknowledging your body’s abilities and working to expand them, and ignoring your body’s signals that something has gone wrong.

Another factor in workout injuries are exercise programs that are designed to push the body past its safe limits. CrossFit is one such program whose primary goal for participants is to do the most amount of work in the least possible amount of time. That is a recipe for injury.

Designed to Fail

As detailed in this article in Men’s Fitness about CrossFit workout injuries,

“New research is putting numbers to anecdotal evidence of CrossFit’s risks. Yuri Feito, a professor of exercise science at Kennesaw State University in Georgia (and a CrossFitter himself), analyzed data from 737 CrossFit participants and found that 51 percent had experienced an injury in the year prior – from minor sprains to muscle tears to broken fingers. Of those, 10 to 15 percent warranted a trip to the hospital.”

That is not normal. For one thing, there is no such thing as a “normal” amount of injury associated with fitness. If you are doing the workouts correctly and safely, you shouldn’t get hurt, ever. You certainly shouldn’t expect injury as part of the cost of doing business.

To add insult to injury, CrossFit’s in-house lawyer, Dale Saran, had this to say: “You have to accept a risk of injury as a reality of playing a sport, or just living a life. A 100-percent safe exercise has a zero percent chance of getting you fit. It’s you sitting on the couch with a helmet and kneepads on.” This could not be more wildly nor willfully inaccurate. It’s also not a great idea to take fitness or medical advice from a lawyer whose job is to protect a fitness brand from liability.

Workout Injuries Not Part of the Vertex Fitness Ethos

As dozens of Vertex Fitness clients have attested in their testimonials, our program does indeed get you results. We don’t do this by asking our clients to jerk kettle bells around until their muscles scream uncle; we do it by using the HIT method of strength training, which is shown by the scientific literature to be a safe, effective workout program.

Safety is a huge part of the ethos at Vertex Fitness. Our qualified, professional trainers know how to recognize the safe limits for each client, and to gradually work with them to increase their strength and ability. We also emphasize and teach proper form during our workouts to prevent workout injuries. If you’ve experienced an injury, working out or otherwise, you can also use us a resource to get you back on track with your exercise program without exacerbating the injury or prolonging healing time. We take a comprehensive health history before every first workout to ensure that we are accommodating each client’s particular health and safety needs. Give us a call to learn how we can help you get fit without risking injury.

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