I was training a client today in the gym on campus as part of my lab time for my ACE Personal Trainer course. The client was having trouble with her knees, but had come back from a visit with her physician bearing a clean bill of health, and a few recommendations. Overall the physician told the client that some knee pain was to be expected as the muscle groups around the knee are untrained and inflexible.
One of the exercises I had the client do was lunges, using interval training, twenty seconds work, ten seconds of rest. She at first complained that she couldn't go down all the way past parallel, which I reassured her was fine. Then she stated that she had a hard time keeping her balance, so I modified the lunges, making her stance and base wider. Still, she did have a hard time, and became intensely frustrated with her inability to both do lunges, and do them pain free. I managed to calm her down, and keep her on track, but it brings to mind some important ideas for training that I feel some people, including myself forget on a regular basis.
Aggravation happens. I still aggravate and irritate my joints on a regular basis through CrossFit, running, and Activities of Daily Living, such as chopping and cutting wood. This is just a part of being an active human being, and there's no getting away from it. The best thing to do is acknowledge that a body part or old injury has been aggravated, take steps to soothe and treat it after the work is done. Ice, and anti-inflammation drugs are the two things the Army P.A. always recommended. I also take fish oil for inflammation, stretch, and do self-myo-fascial release. After treatment, the best thing to do is acknowledge that the part is bothering us, and move on. There's no reason that I can see to ruin a good workout because a body part is being achy and otherwise obstinate.
As a result of aggravation, or something else, we may get irritated with an exercise routine, or our inability to do a certain movement or exercise. This too is natural, but if we fail to recognize it we risk severing the mind-body connection that is so vital to getting the most from exercise and life. Get irritated, it's fine. Then take a deep breath, acknowledge it, and move on.
Last, no matter what happens in the gym, everyone should recognize what they accomplished that day, and that week. Sometimes a person cannot get as much done in the gym as they would like. This is okay. Work has been done, health has been maintained, strength has been improved. These are all positive outcomes, and should be viewed as such. Focusing on what did happen instead of what did not happen will set the stage for another positive exercise session.