Listen to Your Body

You must listen to your body above all else, especially in training and nutrition.  There is a lot of noise online and in the media regarding training and nutrition that is truly overwhelming.  And a large majority of this noise is hot garbage trying to sell you something directly or indirectly.  This is even more true with nutrition as we are told to avoid XYZ like the plague, then the very next article states you must have that same XYZ in your diet or you will die immediately.

A popular podcast I listen to had 2 guests in 3 weeks that directly conflicted on the opinion of how much coffee we should have as well as consuming nuts.  THe first said to eat all the nuts we can and drink as much coffee as we desire.  The second guest recommended NO nuts, ever and to limit coffee to one cup per day, at most.  What the hell are we supposed to do with these conflicting views?  Especially if we get them from the same source, in this case, a podcast?  Its one thing to present the information and let the audience make their own choices but when hosting "industry experts" with polar opposite opinions it becomes impossible to keep this crap straight.

At the end of the day remember the podcast host is booking guests that will help his podcast numbers.  I hope he addresses these conflicts in a future podcast because having these guests virtually back to back could not be more confusing.  Which is why you should only take in external information with a grain of salt as YOU can be the ONLY expert on YOUR body.

Always Learning

I do not pretend to know it all.  It is very important to continue to educate yourself regarding training and nutrition through whichever medium you prefer.  I read several articles per day as well as listen to several fitness related podcasts every week.  Some of this knowledge gained is very helpful and will become new things I will incorporate into my daily life.  Some is not, and are things I will completely ignore.

I take in all the information I can, but the End All, Be All is what my body tells me.  Your body will tell you if your workouts are actually benefiting you or not.  I may incorporate a new routine or exercise that I recently read about, give it a few workouts and see how it works out.  Some of these exercises get thrown out right away.  Some I tweak for a wheeler and they become long-term fixtures in my programs.  Same thing goes for food as I am always tweaking what I eat.

Some exercises I know pretty quickly that I do not feel secure or my body will just not stabilize to be able to perform the movement.  These are the throw out right away variety.  Other exercises may feel fine as I do them but I feel un-expected soreness in areas that cause problems post workout.  These exercises may go back to the drawing board for some tweaks to see if they can be done without resulting in pain.  If pain continues they just get thrown out.

My body has told my High Volume programs with light weights is terribly boring and unchallenging for me.  If I am not challenged, I am OUT pretty quick as I become bored and half-ass it or do not look forward to the next workout, AT ALL.  I like to lift heavy.  My body likes it as well.  Too much volume and I feel worn out.  Workouts should leave you feeling energized, not running on empty.  Too much volume wears me out so I have eliminated high volume work from my routines.

My body has told me that I cannot do incline dumbell curls with my arms extremely stretched.  This movement pattern is great for hitting the short head of you bicep, which gives you that biceps peak.  However in my case a few days after performing this exercise my left shoulder would have problems.  Problems that actually forced me to stop any overhead pressing until the tendons healed.  It took me a long time to piece these items together but once I stopped this exercise completely my shoulders have rarely had issues.

My body has told me it likes coffee.  I like the taste, it makes me happy to drink it, so I do.  Same with the occassional pizza or weekly double cheeseburger and chocolate shake from Culvers!  I like these things, my body likes these things, so I let my body have these things in moderation. 

What to Listen To

  1. Joint and Tendon Soreness.  Joint pain is something to very much listen to.  Are you working out too much?  Are you doing a specific movement too often?  Same applies to tendons.
  2. Prolonged Muscle Soreness.  Your muscles will get sore.  Especially as you perform new movements that may be hitting muscles that you have never hit before in that manner.  Prolonged soreness, more than 3 days, after a workout is something a bit more worthy of you attention.  
  3. Chronic fatigue.  If you feel generally worn out on a day to day basis, listen.  Something is afoot.  Either you are not resting enough with proper nightly sleep, or not eating properly, or both.  Or something else.  

As wheelers we need to pay special attention to our shoulders, elbows and hands.  Any issues to these areas can sideline us for weeks.  Not fun.  We need to ensure we are recovering properly.  Eat well.  Sleep well.  Drink enough water.  If these three are in check yet your body is telling you something does not feel right, listen.

Continue to seek knowledge.  For the most part the internet is an amazing tool for seeking knowledge, just make sure to listen to your body above any Tom, Dick or Harry who may be trying to sell you something online, on a podcast or on TV.