Are You Working Out or Working In?
In fitness, we are so often convinced that in order for exercise to work for us, we must feel pain.
How often have you bragged about how hard it was to sit to pee after a grueling workout, or how much your abs hurt after doing boot camp?
(I know, I’ve done it too.)
But as the saying goes…No pain no gain, right?
From what’s broadcasted in the media (infomercials, extreme weight loss shows, and most commercial fitness programs), we’ve been convinced that the harder it (exercise) is, the better it is for us.
We think that being sore and in pain is a sign of a good workout.
I’ve even heard clients say that they’ve picked classes and trainers based on how sore they get after a session.
But does pushing your body to the point of pain, really make for an effective workout?
To a certain extent, yes, maybe. Feeling the effects of a workout through soreness in the body is a sign that change is happening.
MOST of us are still working against our body rather than working with it.
This is where the concept of Workout Out vs. Working In comes into play. (You can click on the link to watch a video by Paul Chek).
What exactly does Working Out vs. Working In, mean?
Basically, “Working Out” means exercising to the point in which the exercise is no longer beneficial, but rather hurtful to the body.
“Working In” refers to using movement to help assist and promote healing within the body.
To help you get a better grasp of the concept, here are some examples of “Working Out”:
- Over-exercising which can lead to too much muscle breakdown and overuse injuries. (Taking SPIN class 5 days a week would be a good example of this.)
- Choosing the wrong exercises for your body. (Like over working certain muscle groups which can create imbalances throughout the body.)
- Performing too much cardio.
- Forcing yourself to work out when you’re tired, stressed, or sick.
- Not resting or nourishing your body properly before and after exercising.
- Using exercise solely as a way to lose weight.
- Rewarding yourself with food for working out.
And on the flip side, here are some examples of “Working In”:
- Picking exercises that are good for your body, not just because it’s the latest fad or trend.
- Working out at times during the day that are good for your lifestyle. (Honestly, do you really enjoy working out at 5 am?)
- Hydrating and fueling your body properly before and after your workouts.
- Getting an adequate amount of sleep and rest to help recover from exercising.
- Adjusting your workouts when you are tired, sleep deprived and stressed out (mentally, emotionally, physically or even spiritually).
- Choosing more anabolic forms of exercise like proper strength training.
- Improving your posture and correcting muscular imbalances to increase range of motion and to make your workouts more effective.
- Addressing any kind of pain (back pain, knee pain, tendonitis, etc) rather than working through it.
As you have just read, the two are very different.
Most of us fall under “Working Out” since as a blanket statement, we are all overstressed and overworked to the point where exercise has become an additional stressor to the body.
Working 60 hours a week, eating crappy foods, sleeping 5 hours a night and THEN adding 3-4 hours of exercising a week is not atypical in this modern life.
Adding exercise in to an energy depleting lifestyle like above, would be like taking money out of the bank and overdrawing on your account.
Instead of receiving an overdraw fee, our body tells us through chronic sickness, fatigue, digestive issues, sleep disturbances, weight gain, difficulty with weight loss, hormonal changes, metabolic changes, and even disease.
But, since “Working Out” is easier to feel (through being sore), we often choose this route because it’s a form of instant gratification.
Even if it means adding more harm to the body than good.
As human beings, we like to feel rewarded, and in exercise, being sore and in pain, in a sense, can be taken as a reward.
Since “Working In”, well, works from within our body’s, it often time takes longer to see it’s effects.
“Working Out” is typically a quick fix.
And quick fixes are just that…quick fixes.
You will never get permanent and sustainable results from quick fixes.
In health, there is no “Easy” button.
But since we are always in such a rush to get it, have it, be it, or do it, now, now, NOW, we just don’t have the patience to “Work In”.
This is why, we see so many friends and family members lose weight, gain it, lose it again, gain more, lose a little, and on and on.
“Working Out” is great way to yo-yo diet your way into frustration.
Instead of punishing our body, why not find ways to work with it.
Listen to your body.
Find what it needs.
Perhaps, its more sleep?
More love (or sex)?
If you’re struggling with your fitness, your body, or your health, maybe it’s time to take a step back.
And maybe it’s time to start “Working In” rather than “Working Out”.