Ease into training, for safety and to avoid injury
I am struggling to find an exercise that suits me long term. As a kid, I used to run a lot of cross country, winning medals, and played basketball with success. Over the last 10 years I have had injury after injury, and stopped running two years ago after constant back problems. I took up walking, set dancing and kettlebells. I had to stop in November after more back problems. Now I'm on rest for a month but I'm not good when I don't exercise. Can you suggest anything that I can do long term that will not keep causing injury.
Karl replies: Injuries can cause even the most patient people to get fed up and stop exercising, but thankfully this hasn't happened to you yet.
My bet would be that you are an incredibly competitive person who puts their all into whatever sport you do, pushing the body too hard and resulting in the injuries that you have.
Backs are funny things, they require lots of movement but you need to know exactly what type of movement you should be doing.
I would switch your resistance training to dumbbells and barbells as opposed to kettlebells, and recommend a session with a trainer to show you what type of exercises you should be doing for your back.
Certainly, pilates is a great idea. Aim for a small class where you will get lots of attention and specific exercises for your back.
My best recommendation for you is to start slow. Maybe start with just two sessions a week for four weeks. Then go to three.
Basically, ease into your training, ensuring that no injuries are flaring up, and then increase it little by little as you go along.
Know what your goals are and then tailor your regime to fit
I am a 5ft 4 female with a body fat of 14.6 per cent. I train hard, up to five times a week, a combination of strength and interval training. My diet consists of lean protein, lots of veg and good fats. I have gluten free oatmeal as a carb meal about twice a week. As my body fat is decreasing my weight is increasing, due to muscle mass. I am worried I am gaining too much weight, too quickly.
Karl replies: It SOUNDS like you are regimented and extremely strict on your diet too. Your body fat is already super low, and getting it lower will be hard. My question is, what are your goals from your training? Are you training to become stronger and lift heavier or for normal muscle tone and weight loss?
Strength training can lead to gains in lean tissue, developing strength and muscle. This is fantastic if this is your goal, but if it's not then you need to change your routine.
All forms of resistance training will improve your strength. Lean tissue increases can mean increases in your glutes and legs, which many women don't want. Your food is great, don't be afraid to have a treat day every now and again. My advice is to establish your training goals and ensure your resistance training is matching them.
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