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Common fitness experiences that are not normal

I have been having similar conversations lately with a few clients and wanted to extend these thoughts out to you. In the era of the ability to Google everything, you'll likely find thousands of links that share the commonality when you're having an unwanted experience within your body. Some links will have helpful suggestions, some will deem your experience "normal", and few will suggest going to a doctor or specialist for clarity.


Here are a few things that are deemed as "normal" within fitness, but are not:


1. Having pain.

If you've been consuming my content or know me in real life, you know that I am not the kind of personal trainer that encourages "no pain, no gain". This is a poor and unsustainable way to approach long-term fitness. Getting out of your comfort zone because an exercise is tough is one thing, but pain is a hard pass. Pain is not something you should be experiencing in the weight room (or out of the weight room for that matter). Whether it's your knees, shoulders, or a funky thing going on it you're back, please seek out your physician and/or physical therapist for a diagnosis and treatment plan if you're experiencing pain.


2. Peeing a little when you squat, deadlift, run, or jump.

(Or laugh, sneeze, or cough). This doesn't only occur in people who have been pregnant or given birth. This can happen to both men and women at any age. Yes, it is common for this to occur after giving birth, but it is not normal for it to last months and years. You do not have to live the rest of your days peeing every time you brace your core or do a little jump to reach something off the top shelf of your kitchen cabinet. Bracing your core is necessary for you to safely lift heavy weight in the gym, pick up your kiddos, carry groceries, or move furniture while protecting your back. If you have a hard time bracing your core (both in the gym or while experiencing a sneeze attack) without peeing a little, please seek out a pelvic floor physical therapist. Remember this is for both women AND men, not just women.


3. Always having sore muscles.

It's fairly normal and common to experience soreness during the first week of a new phase of workouts, if you're new to exercise, or if you started or reintroduced a new form of cardio. "Normal" for soreness would be about 1-2 days, otherwise known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Being sore beyond two or three days could mean that you're not recovering properly. I recommend reviewing your sleep quality and quantity, overall nutrition (emphasis on protein intake), hydration, and stress management. I would also recommend talking it over with your trainer to make sure your training program is organized in a way that allows you to recover in between sessions based on the four topics of impacts listed above. Your ability to progress in the gym will rely heavily on your ability to recover.


This is not an exhaustive list of common fitness experiences that are not normal. Remember, just because your Aunt Judith or BFF Fran experienced the same thing doesn't make it normal. Asking questions and seeking help from the right people can make all the difference if you have the means to.


Katharine Moustakes
Hey, friend!

I'm Katharine.

I'm a personal trainer, running coaching, and nutrition coach who's stoked about lifting, the outdoors, summit snacks, and my dog.


I understand that fitness is not your whole life. Fitness is a PART of your life. I approach training in a way that adds value to your life and longevity, so you can enjoy being active whether you're romping around in the mountains, playing with your kids, or signing up for your first 10K race.

I'm here to meet you where you are, so you can train safely and effectively, and gain strength and confidence both in the gym and on the trails.

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