Your body can tell you a lot about your workout. How much you are sweating, how hard you are breathing, and how much your muscles are burning are all indicators of how much effort you are putting into your exercise routine. These are also signs you should monitor to make sure your workouts are challenging enough without running the risk of an injury.
Many athletes live by the mantra to go hard or go home, but this can reap some painful consequences. In addition, workouts should not make you feel ill or on the verge of collapse. These are not signs of a good workout; they indicate impending injury. Below are several signs your body uses to signal to you that you may be pushing too hard.
Muscle cramps are not necessarily an indication that you are pushing too hard, but your body is sending you a warning that you should heed. Muscle cramps are most often the result of dehydration, but heat stroke and pushing beyond your limits can also cause them. The intensity of the cramp can provide better insight. If you can continue to exercise with proper form and the cramp subsides quickly, you likely need to hydrate. However, if the cramp prevents you from continuing and does not subside after stretching and cooling down, you are demanding too much of your body.
Some cramps, like side stitches, are cardio-induced. They become less common as your physical fitness improves. You can also reduce their likelihood with a proper warm-up and by maintaining good form during exercises. Hydrating before and during a workout helps reduce the severity and frequency of side stitches as well, especially if you drink an electrolyte-infused beverage. Additional methods to prevent side stitches include:
- Avoid high fat and fibrous foods before working out. They make the stomach heavier, which can add stress to the diaphragm.
- Steady your breathing. If you are new to running or cardio-centric workouts, try to count your breaths while keeping them uniform and stable in frequency and duration.
- Improve your core strength. Having a stable core can help reduce the likelihood of side stitches.
One important note about side stitches is that you should never ignore it if it begins to travel up your left shoulder. This can be an indication of a heart attack.
Your muscles will shake as you put them through the paces. Trying to reach a new personal lifting record or grinding through the last few reps of heavy squats will do that to a body. If the shaking is slight and you can maintain good form, you can continue to exercise. This is a good sign and indicates you are increasing your endurance and strength. However, if the shaking forces you to compromise your form or you are under threat of dropping your weights, you have pushed too far. You run the risk of lasting injury if you continue with improper form.
If the latter applies, you need to stop and take a breather until the shaking subsides. If the shaking begins at the outset of your workout or without heavy physical effort, there may be other factors at play. You may be dehydrated or experiencing low blood sugar. To avoid this, be sure to hydrate throughout the day and your workout as well as eat a balanced diet.
Faintness, Nausea, or Vomiting
Feeling dizzy during a workout can mean a number of things. Like many of the above signs, you may be dehydrated or have low blood sugar. Sudden movement, such as standing up rapidly, can cause you to feel faint. A more concerning cause of dizziness during a workout is heat stroke. If the faint feeling is infrequent and subsides quickly, it is not likely a cause for concern. However, if the feeling persists despite replenishing your body with water and food or it happens on a regular basis, you should discuss it with your doctor.
The causes of nausea and vomiting are trickier to pinpoint as they can vary by individual. Some people experience nausea if they work out on an empty stomach while others with vomit without fail if they eat before exercising. This requires some trial and error to determine which, if either, is true for you. If your relative food intake is not the cause of your nausea and vomiting, then it is probable that your body is signaling for you to slow down.
Paying attention to the above signs will help you determine whether you can continue with your workout or if you need to stop and address a problem. Some issues are simple fixes: drink more water and eat nutritious foods. Other problems are more concerning and warrant a trip to the doctor.
Enlisting the aid of a qualified personal trainer or coach can also help elucidate matters. Coaches receive training to recognize the signs of overexertion, improper form, and more. They can help you achieve your physical fitness goals while maintaining good form and safety. To learn more about how the coaches at LoCoFit Leesburg can help you reach your goals, contact us today.