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February 29, 2020

The Study That Shocked Me: Workout Related Injuries Up 144%!

By Michael Hughes

In general,  try to stay generous in my assumptions about fitness trends and other styles of training. It feels good to cheer for others trying to bring fitness to their communities and I always want to support members and friends finding a style of fitness they LOVE, even if it’s not what I think they should do. Truly.

But… I recently read an insane study that I can’t unsee and it’s lit a fire under me. The truth is NOT every style of fitness is created equal. I’ll just say it that bluntly.

Workout related injuries are 144% higher than they were 10 years ago! 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness earlier this year looked at injuries from 2007 through 2016 and found a 144 percent increase in all workout related injuries in the years 2012 through 2016 compared with 2007 through 2011. The study went on estimate that during this time there were an estimated 3,988,903 injuries, most often in males (58%) and with the age between 20 to 39 years (39%). These increases in injury incidence correlated with a 274% increase in HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).

This caught my eye because Gymnazo workouts can be described as HIIT style to a degree. It’s also sobering to me because hundreds of members walk through my doors trusting our workouts to be safe. I know I can’t stop workout related injuries from happening, but did you know I still feel a pit in my stomach whenever a member experiences anything close to a tweak or twinge of pain under my roof? I do. It weighs on me.

Two Things You Should Know as a Gym Goer

  1. You are injury prone right now and at risk to some degree. Each person who walks into a fitness facility brings with them movement dysfunction from past injuries, past unbalanced training styles or habitual movements that they do everyday. For most people it’s not a question of IF you get injured, but WHEN. So because this level of risk exists now, it’s never been more important to be discerning when it comes to fitness.
  2. You deserve coaches who can help problem solve and program for injury prevention. Very few educational resources adequately prepare 99% of trainers to be able to help you and safeguard you in your workouts. Did you know in the state of California, all you need to be a personal trainer is liability insurance?!? Even if a trainer gets an actual certification, the vast majority are simply just not prepared for it, and it puts you at significant risk. We all know preventing injury is the holy grail, and you deserve to be coached by people who passionately obsess over how to improve their programming, to advance their skills and to see results of declining injury rates in their facility.

It honestly makes me cringe when I see someone get injured… have to stop doing their favorite activities… be told to not do anything active… take longer to heal then they wanted and slowly make their way back to feeling like themselves… only to get injured again. It’s honestly the worst. But it’s so common a cycle, I’m asked often to jump on podcasts and teach trainers how to avoid this cycle of injury —> rehab —> performance —> injury.

So I share with them how we’ve been able to reduce workout related injuries consistently by doing these four things.

4 Things I Advise Trainers to Do to Safeguard You In Your Workouts:

  1. Blend fitness with restoration when you program workouts. Build in the solution to the problem. This reduces wear and tear and prepares our clients to be safer doing the activities they love.
  2. Build a culture in our facility that values a three dimensional warm up and intentional cool down. Don’t compromise on these.
  3. Teach and empower our clients to listen to their bodies and see aches and pains are the messengers they are. Discourage pushing through the pain and encourage body awareness and intuition.
  4. Invest in your education and knowledge. Never believe you’re good enough. Never believe you know it all. Always be learning and growing because our clients deserve that.

Bottomline:

I’ll step off my soap box for a minute, but I feel so strongly that you deserve to NOT be a statistic in studies like this. I know how hard it is to make fitness a habit and to step away from busy lives, demanding jobs and even sacrifice time with your family to take care of yourself. I know it can be challenging to build it into your budget and have to shave costs elsewhere.

All I’m saying is if you are going to go through all that to prioritize yourself, to end up picking a riskier program with less educated and capable coaching, would be a real tragedy. I want more for you. I want you to be able to sustain the healthy habits in your life that bring you energy, pride and results. Don’t settle. You deserve to be as injury free as humanly possible.

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