Pushing through a workout is a primal instinct. We get into the gym and start moving heavy weights, sweating, grunting, and acting like a monster.
We gauge our workouts on how bad our muscles burn, and how bad we tremble when we leave the gym. Sure, we may be so sore we can't sit on the crapper, but that was a job well done... Right?
Related - 8 Signs of Overtraining
We've gotta reach for the stars and pull one more rep or one more mile out of our workouts if we want to accomplish anything.
The discomfort we feel when we workout is normal. The small aches, muscle burning, and the occasional bloody nose or shins are all normal.
So how do we know when exactly we shouldn't push through a workout? How do you know you aren't just being a wuss?
Our body gives us warning signs that we aren't ready for another workout. Do you know how to listen to your body? Whether you're a gym newbie or a seasoned pro, we need to listen to our bodies and be wary of these 6 warning signs that we shouldn't keep training.
When to Stop
#1 - You're Sick
So here it is mid-week and you are not feeling good. Do you have a cold or the flu? Maybe you just ate some tainted food.
What do you do? Well, your body is in overdrive trying to fight off whatever you have.
Working out with any sort of ailment like a fever, sore throat, or severe aches and pains prolong healing time and could make the symptoms worse. If you are truly sick, taking time off from the gym to let your body recover is necessary. When you come back ready to go, your fitness level will have taken a hit.
Ease back into your routine for a week or so until you feel back to normal.
#2 - You Have Pain
We all have those days when we don't want to work out. We make up some pain or ailment because we don't want to upset our workout partner... But it's really just to go home and play that new video game.
Pain is our body's way of letting us know there's a problem. The less you pay attention to this pain, the more you put yourself at risk for big problems.
There are a couple different types of pain: acute and chronic. While acute pain is the result of an immediate trauma like rolling your ankle, chronic pain persists long after the normal amount of healing time.
Working out elevates your heart rate, makes you breathe rapidly, causes sweating and fatigue, and feels like there is a fire in our muscles. These are normal sensations that do not qualify as pain.
Acute pain is a warning sign to stop. Any sharp pains or swelling needs to be addressed immediately. Otherwise, the problem will only get worse.
With chronic pain, many physicians will promote physical activity and exercise to help with the pain.
#3 - You're Having Trouble Breathing
Okay, so you've put in some time on the treadmill and you're breathing heavy. This isn't considered having trouble breathing. Typically, having trouble breathing is an indication of the following:
- You're working out way past your level of fitness.
- You have a respiratory condition such as exercise-induced asthma.
- You have some circulatory problem.
If you've ever seen anyone doing interval training, you may think they are dying. They catch their breath quickly after their effort has stopped. This is normal.
When you are gasping for air during exercise and are unable to catch your breath afterward, there is a big problem.
#4 - You're Feeling Light Headed
Being light headed is a sign that there's a major issue. There are a few reasons that you may feel light headed:
- A heart or circulatory problem
- Breathing problem
- Metabolic problem such as low blood sugar
If this is something that happens often, you really need to get checked out by your doctor.
#5 - You Feel Chest Pain, Pressure, Discomfort
This is probably the most severe warning sign of them all.
While a heart attack is somewhat rare during exercise, it is possible to occur to someone who has an underlying heart disease. The problem with this is most people are unaware of any issues until these warning signs appear.
Experiencing these symptoms during a workout session is the sign to stop immediately and seek medical attention. After a little research, women are more likely to have other symptoms. Some symptoms include:
- Discomfort in the back, jaw, or throat
Don't play off these symptoms, as they are a warning sign that something fatal may happen.
#6 - You're Burning Out
You can't focus in the gym, you sit there on your phone, and you really don't want to be there. Sound familiar?
While this isn't a physical sign you are unable to workout, this symptom completely ruins any workout session.
You've put in the months or years of work, for what? Sure, you have lost a significant amount of weight and your lifts are pretty heavy... But who cares?
Look, burning out happens. Whether you are physically burned out similar to overtraining or you are just not feeling it, being burned out impacts your workouts. The lack of focus means your form is not up to par, your weight selection is terrible, and you probably don't even want to be there.
Have You Hit a Plateau?
Plateaus in lifting and weight loss happen. Your body can only adapt so much before things slow down.
Take some time off from the gym and do some things in life you enjoy. Miss playing basketball? What about going to the mall?
Take a week off from the gym and be active elsewhere. You're going to come back feeling better, more focused, and ready to go.