Have you ever done something without thinking? Not like putting the peanut butter back in the freezer because you weren't paying attention, but rather jumping into a big endeavor before you were properly prepared?
I'll be the first to admit that I have a tendency to jump off of cliffs and build my parachutes on the way down. Sometimes it works out brilliantly. Other times, well, does the word "splat" mean anything to ya?
I think there is a huge benefit to being able to make a jump when you're ready because too many of us tiptoe the edge of the cliff, doubting we'll ever be prepared. But in some cases, it really does pay to make sure you know your stuff.
An example of this would involve people and exercise. Starting, or modifying, an exercise routine can become a big undertaking - one that causes people to hesitate for months or years, fearing they'll never be ready. Yes, you should jump, but yes, you should also be prepared.
Working out can be extremely beneficial for your health, that much is obvious. But what is not covered as often is the importance of performing your exercises properly. The fact is you can easily hurt yourself if you're not paying attention to what you're doing (and you thought all those mirrors were just for vanity's sake, pssh).
It's not always an acute injury, either. Injuries from the weight room typically aren't from a sudden, one-time accident. More often they're caused by chronic improper usage. Bad form here, bad shoulder there. You get the picture?
In this day and age there are multiple ways to get information on proper exercise performance. Many high-level coaches and trainers have videos online detailing how to properly perform numerous lifts, from a simple biceps curl to an overhead squat. Some resources are free, some require payment. Plus, different professionals will teach the same lift with different technique. So who should you choose?
Just because one pro teaches an exercise one way does not mean it's the end-all-be-all way. There are definitely improper ways to do many lifts, so try to gather a little bit of information and don't just run off after the first video you see. Also, listen to your body. If something doesn't feel right to you, don't do it. After all, you know your body better than anybody else ever will.
For anybody looking for a great, free resource, I've recently uploaded my entire library of how-to videos to www.FreshEvolutionFitness.com which currently features ten different categories. They include areas like: upper back, legs, abs and arms, as well as stretching and exercises you can do at-home. Yep, I said 100-percent free, no need to re-read.
While you're there, feel free to check out the blog "Prepare yourself" which gives away tips and tools to improve your time management and food choices. (Yes, also free... I feel like a crazy used car salesman at this point.)
Whether you learn from me or from any other qualified fitness professional, find what works for you. Be sure you're lifting correctly. You'd be amazed at how many people I see using cringe worthy form. Do yourself a favor and watch a video or two. Your body will thank you for it later.
Andy Frisch, NASM CPT, CES, PES, WFS, IFT, NESTA FNC, is a successful personal trainer and nutrition coach who enjoys working with clients of all shapes, sizes and ages. He currently train clients at Sports Village Fitness in Lebanon, works with clients online at www.FreshEvolutionFitness.com.