Listening To Your Body's Wisdom: Learning How To Scale Up or Down Your Workouts
Our bodies tell the story of what's going on inside us, that's important information for us to know during our workouts!
May 15, 2022
The Body's Wisdom Tells Us A Story While We Workout, Are We Listening?
If the body was telling us a story let's imagine it was telling us the story of Goldilocks and the 3 bears, but let's make it the tl:dr version and cut to the part where the porridge was, "Too Hot", "Too Cold" or "Just Right". Now, let's add working out into the mix. Somedays the workout is "Just Right", but on other days it may feel "Too Hot" Or "Too Cold". What happens then? I'm glad you asked! Let's talk about the stories your body wants to tell you, while you're working out.
When a workout is, "Too Hot" for the sake of today's blog is going to mean that it's too much for you. That can be that the weight is too heavy to complete the movement with aligned form or the movement isn't comfortable and is causing too much pain in your bodies range of motion (ROM). Also, if you're recovering from an injury or have chronic pain from any disabilities, your body is sending you warning signs through the intense pain that the movement might be too much for you.
At this time your bodies story is telling you that you need to adjust and find a weight that is going to be a load that can support you in completing the movement with aligned form. It's also telling you that maybe this movement in its full ROM isn't where your bodies flexibility is at and you need to modify the movement for safety and to reduce pain. There is no shame in listening to your bodies need. Modifications and or Scaling Down are two ways we can listen to our body and take care of ourselves during the workout so we can make the workout, "Just Right".
So then, when the workout is "Too Cold", we can then realize that it may not be challenging enough anymore and we need to throw some more heat into the mix. That can be when the amount of reps your doing with aligned form begin to feel easy, breezy and comfortable. It can also be that moment when that little voice in your head says, "You know we can go a little faster in this cardio section, we're feeling extra strong in our body today". That's when scaling up is the way to go!
You can do a few things, you can begin to move more efficiently through your movement by slowing it down and making your transitions slower and more seamless during the strength portion of class. You can also choose to increase your weight size by 5 to 10 pounds depending on the movement variation you are doing. Lastly, it's those moments where you begin to push yourself a little faster in the cardio section, giving yourself a boost into your endurance training. For example, if you have a 3 Round Cardio portion of class what would happen if you mentally give yourself the goal of gradually getting faster every round. Scaling up isn't just about weighting up, you can challenge yourself in many ways to find that heat that makes your workout, "Just Right".
Wait, but what is a "Just Right" workout? Well, that is subjective to where you are on that day. You may have had a good night's sleep, ate a deliciously nourishing lunch or the commute from was smooth as butter. You may then feel like it's a good day to scale up cause your feeling strong in your body, mind and spirit. On the flipside you may have not had the best sleep, traffic was horrible and you slipped on a banana peel at work and your right glute is sore from the fall. You may want to adjust the workout and listen to your bodies needs of scaling down that day, but still aiming to get a great workout in.
All in all the tl:dr is, that our bodies are always speaking to us. Especially when we are working them out. It's our job to know our own bodies and to listen to their stories. Only you know when the pain level is a "hurt so good" verses a "oh no that's really uncomfortable and painful". It's your job to know you and also to communicate to your coach or personal trainer where your at that day. Somedays the coach is ready to scale you up, but maybe you're not ready that day or maybe you didn't know you were ready. Remember that coaches are here to keep you safe, accountable and to also be a support in your story. We are here to scale you up and or down with care. Teamwork really does make the dreamwork through listening and communication. We can meet our fitness and movement goals safely through learning if our workouts are, "Too Hot/Too Much", "Too Cold/Not Enough" or "Just Right" and scaling them from there. (Whatever did happen to little red riding hood? All I cared about was the porridge!)
Are you ready to listen to your body's story and have a great workout?