Keeping with the “new year, new me” mentality, resolution makers are always looking for ways to reboot their workouts with 2017’s top fitness trends. However, jumping straight into a HIIT workout or CrossFit class without knowing what you’re getting yourself into can create a recipe for overtraining or injury that can stop any resolution in its tracks.
The decision to start a workout program should be the result of a thorough and careful consideration of all benefits and side effects that might occur. Not every program has the same positive impact on everyone that participates in it. Allowing your body and mind time to adapt to a new fitness program is essential. Controlled and steady progress brings the best (and lasting) results.
To help you get ready for all those fun new classes your gym is undoubtedly advertising, here’s the lowdown on four most popular fitness trends that can wreak havoc on your body if you’re not properly prepared.
1. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
These workouts promise to burn maximal calories in minimal time through short, high-intensity bouts of an exercise followed by brief rest periods. But because of the intensity, it’s important to evaluate your fitness level honestly before participating in the program.
According to the International Sports Sciences Association, those who are out of shape have a harder time performing the exercises properly and will need to build their strength and conditioning at lower intensities before attempting a HIIT workout.
Beginners who ignore these guidelines put themselves at risk of orthopedic injuries like rotator cuff tears, shoulder dislocation, meniscus tears, ACL tears and hip or ankle injuries. So in order to avoid injury, make sure to start the workout with an experienced, certified trainer who will monitor you throughout. Additionally, remember that mastering the proper technique requires time, so you need to be patient.
2. Hot Yoga
Yoga is known as a calming and relaxing exercise, but it also has the potential to harm instead of heal. Even with traditional classes, overeager yogis can push themselves too far, resulting in strained muscles, rotator cuff tears, torn cartilage in the knees and lower-back injuries.
With the added heat element, hot yoga dehydrates the body more quickly, which can increase joint pain and create additional health issues. And if you’re not properly hydrated beforehand or have low blood pressure you run the risk of passing out in class.
In order to avoid injury, do a few warm-up stretches before class and a nice cooldown after the workout (but not too quickly). And remember to keep the body hydrated before, during and after class.
3. Circuit Training
Similar to HIIT, circuit training can be dangerous for beginners because of the speed of the rotations. The dynamic movements in each rotation have the potential to push the body (especially your knees) to the limit.
With circuit training, it’s important to understand that pain is an indicator to that you need to slow down and relax the joint. Beginners will benefit from slower, more focused training to remain injury-free. It’s also important to maintain proper form while exercising. Ask a trainer to guide you. Then when you start doing the exercises properly and feel stronger, consider adding cardio training to your program.
You can’t talk about fitness trends without mentioning CrossFit. But fitness experts are split as to whether it’s a dangerous program, especially for those who don’t do it properly, or whether it’s just an intense (but perfectly safe) training method that whips the body into shape.
People often get involved in this program unprepared. As a result they end up with severe shoulder and knee injuries. However, all physical activities and workout programs require slow and steady progress, but when it comes to the cautiousness needed to practice safely, CrossFit tops them all, as it often involves complex lifts and advanced exercises.
It’s not uncommon to feel tired and weak after a CrossFit workout, but if you feel unusually tired, you should slow down immediately. Your body knows its limits, so you should pay attention to what it says. Overextending your limits always leads to injuries.
About the Author
Armin Tehrany, M.D., is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and founder of Manhattan Orthopedic Care. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and has served on the Board of Directors for the New York State Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons. After he received his medical degree from the New York University School of Medicine, he completed his residency in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. During that time he worked with the team physicians for the New York Jets, New York Rangers and New York Islanders.