Staying Healthy While Pushing Your Limits

“Work smarter, not harder.” The world of fitness and athletics is constantly advancing as we learn more about the human body. Now more than ever, there are more efficient ways to get the results you want. And yet, there is still one little rule that governs all of these new workout routines: listen to your body.



No one knows you better than you


I’m all for pushing yourself. I’m 59 and still manage to dominate in the gym like someone who’s 29. But I, like everyone, have my limits. It can be a useful tactic to push past your limits in order to achieve the results you want, but there’s a right and wrong way to do that.

When something hurts, stop. I’m not talking about soreness or fatigue, for any good workout should come with a healthy serving of these two. I’m referring to pain that stems from an injury. Your joints are the most at risk during any kind of strenuous exercise, so these are the areas you especially need to take care of. I’m getting it done at 59, but my body hurts too occasionally!


My knees bother me sometimes due to years of boxing and gradual wear and tear from being so active. I use kinesiology tape when they’re feeling balky. I also have an issue with my middle finger in my right hand, probably from boxing as well. Cortisone shots can help this kind of issue, and I make sure to buy a new pair of boxing gloves every year. I broke the fifth metatarsal on my right foot a few years ago after tripping on a weight (not very graceful). When this bothers me, I use Voltaren to take the edge off.


These are things I do to mitigate my body’s limitations. If something feels off, though, I stop, as should you. You can’t get the results you want if you’re stuck at home recovering; no need to be a hero.


Modify your workouts


Trainers are in the position they’re in because they are experts in their respective fields. However, this does not mean their programs are infallible. Sometimes, you need to tweak things to suit your body’s limitations.


I’m the self-proclaimed Queen of Modifications. I’ve worked with plenty of trainers throughout my life, and I almost always end up altering some aspect of their routine. Like I said, no one knows your body better than you, including your trainer. You are unnecessarily putting yourself at risk if you’re moving in ways your body isn’t built for. Your body knows what it likes and doesn’t like. Listen to what it’s telling you.


The best ability is availability


Effort is a necessary tool to producing results, but you’re wasting your effort if you don’t also work smart. An injury can derail your entire plan, so be sure to take care of your body in and after the gym!


I have been on both sides of the coin when it comes to exercise: as a trainer and as a trainee. If you’d like some consultation as it relates to your workout and/or recovery plan, I’d love to help! Send me a message on IG (@gailgensler) email (gailgensler@gmail.com) or on my website!