Welcome back to this week’s edition of 2-Minute Tuesdays where we are bringing you one exercise topic, talking about it for two minutes, and giving you three reasons why you should follow our advice. This week we are speaking to the former college and high school athletes. This is for those of you who used to compete on a regular basis and are now at a loss on how to exercise without that competitive model.
1) Gym Time Is Not Competition Time
Our first tip for former athletes is you must keep in mind that gym time is not competition time. You have to stop competing with others and competing with yourself. Your whole reason for being at the gym is to improve the state of your body, not to compete despite the state of your body.
Action Step: Try to shy away from gyms that are more competitive in nature. While there is nothing wrong with pushing yourself and challenging yourself at the gym, the biggest difficulty you will likely face will be to tone down your competitive nature and instead focus on improving the function and health of your body.
2) Stop Pushing Through The Pain
Tip number two for former athletes is to stop pushing through the pain. When you were a high school or college athlete, there were some days when you had to go to the gym and workout and train even if your body wasn’t feeling good, but that is no longer the case. If you are hurt, if you are aching, if you are beat up, if you are sore, you have to listen to your body before it catches up with you, sooner rather than later.
Action Step: Prioritize recovery over pushing your limits. Challenge yourself to find the minimum effective dose of exercise that you need in order to accomplish your goals. If you cannot at least match the volume or intensity of exercise that you did the last time you worked out, you need more time to recover.
3) Your Exercise Goals Must Be About Health
Our last tip for former athletes is to make your exercise goals about health, not performance. When you were an athlete, the whole goal of exercising was to improve your performance. Now that you are not an athlete anymore, your goal in the gym has to be about your health. Remember, when you are exercising, it is about your health and no longer your performance.
Action Step: Again, continue to challenge yourself to progress at the gym, but do so in ways that are appropriate for your body. Don’t risk the health of your shoulders trying to hit a bench press PR that is out of your league. Don’t push through knee pain in pursuit of a lowering your 10K time. If you want to run a 10K, fine. If you are able to lift more weight than you ever have, awesome. But don’t sacrifice the health of your body in order to achieve these goals.
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