Weight training and living the bodybuilding lifestyle should be considered a long term endeavour. The only way you will ever accrue the type of muscle and strength you are in search of is if you make training each day a priority and become consistent will all facets that support this. The longer you train, the better you get at recognizing certain cues that your body will send out to you along with knowing the appropriate response to either counter those cues or enhance them. The body is amazing at providing us with signals and many times these signals go unnoticed or even ignored; don’t do that. Listen to what your body is telling you to not only save yourself a lot of wasted energy and slower than desired gains, but also potentially a lot of pain as well. You will know when something is off or even better, when something is on so don’t neglect it and respond to it as best you can. The following scenarios are very common place and perhaps you have experienced one or all of them yourself. With the right actions, regardless of what your body is telling you, progress can be made and disaster avoided with the right type of response.
The pump is one of, if not, the greatest feeling you can achieve in the gym. When your muscles fill up from the reps you complete within your first couple of sets, you know right away that it’s going to be a great workout. However, what if after a few sets into the workout you’re just not feeling it? Regardless of what movements you use or which rep schemes you perform, you’re just not getting that pump; what do you do then? Well, obviously something is wrong and you need to fix it. If this has never happened to you, consider yourself lucky because even those of us who have decades of training under our weight belts and have pretty much done it all, still have this happen from time to time. So what do you do when this occurs? Well, first and foremost just keep training and log the session in your book as a subpar workout. Then, go back to the drawing board to see where you went wrong with your nutrition and hydration. Chances are, a couple of missed meals happened or a lower volume of fluid was consumed that day or your electrolyte balance is off. This is usually the problem and easily fixed. The other issue could be stress. Sometimes elevated cortisol levels can interfere with your pump and your mindset and just throw things off completely. Again, just chalk it up to a less than stellar day and then be better the next.
If every bodybuilder and weight lifter could just put their ego and persistency aside every once in awhile, there would most likely be less injuries occurring and more time logged in the gym. Unwanted pain, not the type of pain you get deep into those top sets, but pain that shouldn’t be there for what you are doing is not a good thing. It is a sign that something is wrong and not working correctly. Often times if the pain isn’t too severe, it gets ignored and this can very well lead to a serious injury. If you feel something you don’t like, stop! It really is as simple as that and thinking that working through it is the best thing to do is wrong. There will be times when you do experience a sharp and unexpected pain here and there and most times those pan out to be nothing. You know your body and how it feels when everything is working right so the minute you notice pain that shouldn’t be there, stop and figure it out. Yes of course there will be lingering aches and pains but that’s different and we all have our basket of minor and nagging injuries but you are also used to how those feel and know how to handle them. If these worsen, do not forge ahead until you have it checked out and assessed by someone who knows what they’re doing. This is a must to avoid what you don’t want to have happen and go through.
Now that you have read about two scenarios in which you hope you never have to go through, here’s one that can happen from time to time and when it does, creates so much joy and happiness that you’ll find it very difficult to leave the gym. There will be days when you feel like you can move mountains. All of the weights in the gym feel like feathers, the pump you carry around with you makes your muscles feel like springs and you can bounce anything off your chest or quads and the last thing you want to do is end your workout. When you encounter this training cue from your body, roll with it and just keep training! There’s no reason to stop your workout if you’re having fun and feeling amazing. Do more sets, more reps or more exercises than you usually do. Stay in the gym for as long as you can. These days don’t happen all the time so when they do, have at it. Maybe even double up on body parts that you’re training that day or focus on a lagging muscle group and smash it to pieces that day. Whatever it is you decide to do, don’t waste the day and train until you’re told to leave.
Your instincts when it comes to training and your knowledge of your own body are ultra-important when it comes to staying in this game for the long haul. You need to understand the cues and signals your body sends out to you and then how to respond appropriately for the greater good. It may take you a while to figure these cues out and as you progress through your training journey, you can count on new signals to be sent out to you as well. As long as you are being smart in your approach and paying attention to everything you will be just fine. You know your body best and what to do with it so never forget that and enjoy all that this lifestyle has to offer.
Author: Dana Bushell
Gym Star Team Member