You have heard it before - "work smarter, not harder".
If you look up the history of this quote, a version of it dates back as early as 1577 by British poet Nicholas Breton. It has also been rumored to be coined by Benjamin Franklin. However, in the fitness world, we have Jane Fonda apparently to thank for making this the theme of working out in the present day.
Well, Ms. Fonda, we have moved beyond leotards and tights, so we will move beyond thinking pain will cause us any optimal gain when it comes to working out and the health of our bodies.
Instead, let's borrow the phrase from Fred DeVito, "If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you." Working out should challenge you but not to the point of pain.
For many of us, working smarter and not harder is challenging when we exercise. Many of us, myself included, learned from those before me that said 'no pain, no gain,' 'just do it,' and 'pain is weakness leaving the body.' When you hear these words, it will lead you to believe that more is better for you.
As a recovering 'no pain, no gain' believer, I am here to tell you that when we adopt this mindset, we set our bodies up for failure. We set ourselves up for a life of chronic tightness, discomfort, and excessive and premature wear and tear of our joints while risking severe injury, which will likely happen when we do something innocuous.
Let's look at some ideas to work smarter, not harder, which will also help with your flexibility!
When working smarter you must include three important details:
Secondly, you must breathe optimally. While we will dedicate an entire newsletter to this topic later this month, here are some examples of not breathing well:
Finally, you want to use the right effort for the task or exercise. Here are some examples to further explain this point:
You may be thinking right now; I do many if not all of those things listed above. That is ok, for now. There are things we must stop doing for change to occur, just like if you want to save money, you may need to stop spending money on certain items. The same idea applies here.
In our last blog posts, we have covered four ways to improve flexibility.
We talked about posture and gave you some ideas to implement. This week we shared the importance of working smarter, not harder, during exercise.
We have two more topics to cover regarding improving flexibility, breathing, checks, and resets.
Until next time, if you can help improve your fitness or flexibility, be sure to reach out. If you know someone who may benefit or be interested in our newsletter, be sure to share!