Do you know what is going to really disrupt your EPIC fitness journey? An injury. At all costs, we are looking to prevent injuries whether that be an old injury you’ve rehabbed or any new tweak of muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Through my experience with sport, both as an athlete and from training them, I know that talent does not trump resiliency to injury. The fastest kid on the ice isn’t the fastest kid- it’s the fastest kid who isn’t injured. Of course, getting hurt doesn’t only affect your fitness journey but your everyday life. This is why it is critical we do things properly from start to finish at the gym.

In Canada, 35% of injuries happen during some sort of sport or exercise participation. Getting hurt because you weren’t prepared or pushed yourself too hard isn’t “tough” and will only slow down your progress. Being attuned to what makes injuries more likely AND training those areas before injury even becomes a potential for the body is how we have designed our methods. We are all about levelling up- we don’t need an injury to take us down while we’re climbing to the top! These are the tips that can save you from getting hurt.




STEP 1: Pre-workout Mindset

Before you even try to lift something, it is so important that you focus on being in the right headspace for your workout. If you’ve had a crappy day or are going through a tough time, getting to the gym can be an opportunity to make yourself feel a bit better and concentrate on something else- but that only works if you’re ready to set aside the negative.

When you step into the gym, it’s time to connect with your body. Your warm-up can be a tool to get you into the right mental space.

Professional athletes often talk about needing two hours to prepare mentally and physically before a game- and they are the best, most fit, and properly trained in their respective sport.

If athletes need that much time to prepare, certainly the rest of us who wish to be high-performance should make adequate preparation time as well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you spend two hours prepping before every workout BUT before every workout be cognizant of your frame of mind and what adjustments you can make to perform your best.

A simple way to get your mind right? We have every EPIC client and member start with a dynamic warm-up (more on that below!)- the same one every time. This ritual helps connect us to our bodies and the ritual itself is soothing and helps mind and body remember what is coming next- your workout!

Another simple way to get in a good frame of mind is to find a quiet space in the gym and close your eyes for a few minutes. Breath deeply into every part of your body. Connecting your brain to your body helps it ease up and get rid of the day’s chatter.




STEP 2: Dynamic Warm-up

Before stressing the muscles, we need to activate them. We spend so much time through the day sedentary when we are sitting behind desks at work or school. This makes muscles, like our glutes and rhomboids in particular, very sleepy. If we then start using them without properly waking them up, injury is almost an inevitable result. When you incorporate movement into your stretching you are increasing circulation and getting blood flow to your active muscles. This makes them more pliable and resilient.

We encourage you to incorporate these dynamic exercises into your warm-up as they are great demonstrations of how to activate muscles we don’t use enough!

Pitchers

  1. With your arm bent at a 90° angle, palm up, place your forearm and palm flat against the edge of a wall (upgrade this movement by adding a swiss ball)
  2. Keeping your chest tall, step forward on one foot, holding for 10-15 seconds.
  3. Repeat on the other side.

Thread the Needle

  1. Starting in a tabletop position, move your left arm between your right arm and belly, twisting your torso to lie flat on your left shoulder.
  2. Reversing this movement, return to starting position and repeat on the other side.

IT Band Side Stretch

  1. Start standing tall with your arms over your head, hands together.
  2. Gently bend toward your right side and hold.
  3. Return to starting position and repeat on the left.



STEP 3: Corrective Exercises

These movements we often tailor to each individual but there are a few movements that every single one of us will benefit from. These movements help to fix muscle imbalances and posture, plus they get your body moving in the way it was originally meant to- a way many people have accidentally unlearned thanks to all the sitting we do. Our bodies are meant to move!


Clamshells

  1. Lie on your side with your hips, shoulders, and feet stacked, knees bent.
  2. Keeping the hips and feet stacked raise and lower the top knee (tip: keep your hand on your hip to ensure it doesn’t move back as you raise your knee).
  3. After 5-10 reps, repeat on the other side.

3-Way Hip Circles

  1. Start in a tabletop position with your back flat.
  2. Keeping your knee bent lift your left leg directly behind you, holding for a moment.
  3. Keeping your knee still bent, move your leg to the side making it perpendicular to your body.
  4. Leading with your knee, bring your leg into your chest (circles!)
  5. After 5-10 reps, repeat on the other side.



STEP 4: Listen to your Body

Every day is different. On Mondays we feel different than Fridays, what you were suppressing yesterday might be affecting you today- we are constantly going through changes in our lives and while we do our darndest to leave any negativity at the door, our body simply may not feel the same day in and day out. That’s why it is imperative you listen to your body. You can’t hit personal bests every day- no one can. And that’s okay. Pushing yourself further and faster than the day before, even if you’re not feeling up to it is a surefire way to get hurt.

From a biochemical standpoint, your body needs sustenance before it exerts itself at the gym. Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, is a chemical our bodies produce that give us energy. How do we get ATP? Food! (and creatine - make sure to have an all natural one if you are trying to lean out). While you shouldn’t eat within 45 minutes of working out (hello lead belly) you also shouldn’t be starving yourself. Your body will never perform it’s best if it has zero energy.



STEP 5: Post-workout Nutrition

This is key. Properly recovering from your workout plays a huge role in setting you up for your next workout!

Fish oil is an essential supplement for anyone levelling up. The omega-3s promote muscle protein synthesis so taking this post-workout helps to reduce muscle fatigue, aiding the muscular and skeletal systems.

Adding protein powder to your shake or smoothie post-workout is probably one of the most common recovery methods - it’s effective! Protein is required for every single process in the body. When you work out you are breaking down muscle. Protein is most easily absorbed by your muscles post-workout as it helps the muscle recover faster- so you can see results faster, too! We offer our own EPIC Brown Rice Protein which is vegan, organic, and very easy on the digestive tract. Since it’s important to have different protein options we also supply New Zealand Whey protein and SunWarrior Vegan protein to suit your unique needs.

Our Personal Trainers and staff are a fount of knowledge. If you have any questions or concerns about preventing or rehabbing an injury, don’t be shy to ask! We combine the principles of physiotherapy and athletic performance to ensure that healthy joints, tissues, and muscles are top priority. What’s the sense of being a lean mean machine if you’re limping? Our holistic approach is all about balance to give you sustained results.


You can book a free one-hour consultation with one of our Personal Trainers. Ask for our functional movement assessment and see what movements or body parts are susceptible to injury based on your past, genetics or lifestyle. We can help!