Most people have no idea the level of risk they are taking while working out in a gym. I’ve been in the fitness industry for over 25 years and have seen way too many injuries and accidents due to inappropriate training.  What many gym members don’t understand is that there is a risk-reward ratio for every exercise, fitness class or training program they participate in.  This is aside from the dangerous things people do like leaving a treadmill on and walking away. I have seen dozen of people over the years step on a moving treadmill that they thought was off and go right down and get seriously hurt. I will write an article about common gym accidents another time.  This discussion will focus on inappropriate training.

What are the Risks of Gym Training?

Before you perform any exercise in the gym you have to determine how potentially dangerous that movement is for your body and then decide if the benefit is worth the risk. Every exercise has a risk-reward or risk benefit ratio.

To help you decide if an exercise is worth the risk, you must evaluate your goals and any injuries you might have.  One of the biggest mistakes people make in the gym is taking on way too much risk based on their goals. I’m shocked sometimes at some of the high-risk movements I see baby boomers performing in the gym.  Even though I own my own personal training studio I still like to train myself in a large health club. It keeps me in touch with trends in the industry. Members ask me a lot of questions so I have a pretty good idea what their goals are. For example, I was watching a 60-year-old woman that I know training with a personal trainer trying to do a one legged squat while balancing on a Bosu Balance Trainer.  I know what this woman’s goals are.  She wants to lose about 15 lbs and have more energy. It’s hard to make an argument why this trainer would risk injuring their client to achieve her goals of weight loss and more energy. I could understand that movement if she was a young gymnast and wanted to improve her strength and balance in her legs. Performing a one legged squat on an unstable surface (Bosu Balance Trainer) for a middle aged women who just wants to lose some weight and feel better is taking on way too much risk for her goals.

Keep in mind general fitness training should not be like playing a sport; you should never take on too much risk.  Find the safest and most enjoyable ways to reach your fitness goals while minimizing the chance of injury. Don’t follow the trends you see in the gym. Be more sensible. You don’t have to risk injury or over train like professional athletes to achieve your goals.

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Best- Mike Cola
Fitness Contrarian

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My name is Mike Cola (yeah that is me in the pic @ 54 years old). I’ve been called a “Contrarian” since I believe that most mainstream fitness approaches are extremely inefficient.

I achieved the look in that photo just training 3 times per week. My specialty is helping people reach peak condition without having to hit the gym 6-7 times per week.

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