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  • Writer's pictureAshley Farrar

Feeling tired after a training session... is it what we should aim for?

While feeling tired after a training session feels good when our goal is to get rid of excess energy, it's not the only measure of success.

Think of it this way, if you add a bigger engine to your car and drive around with the parking brake on, you might burn a lot of gas.

If the amount of gas used up is your benchmark for success, then you might not notice that you could actually travel much further with the smaller engine if you just took the parking brake off.

When you move your body, there are lots of ways you can burn a lot of gas (and sometimes, that's exactly what our body needs!). You can make decisions that increase the intensity of the workout and the effort required to do it.

Sometimes, in your attempt to reach that goal of feeling tired, you might clench your muscles, hold your breath, or grit your teeth. While there's nothing inherently wrong with those things (I mean, I love pushing myself to my limits sometimes too), all that added tension might do more than just make your workout feel more effortful...

It might also make it more difficult for your body to respond adaptively through stabilization... and it might put your nervous system into survival mode (some of us will be more prone to this than others). Both of these things can contribute to sensations of pain and discomfort.

While it is impossible to claim that these create pain (because pain is complex and loads of stuff impacts how we experience pain), for those of you who are in a cycle of pain, it might be something to explore.

I teach you how to take your parking brake off so you have options of how to approach movement so that you can feel how you want to feel (whether that be less tension while you move, or feeling more comfortable to explore movement while you're in a pain cycle).

Together, we find the strategies that work the best for you, so that you can create mobility in the restricted areas of your body and develop stability in the areas that need more control.

Imagine yourself on a winter walk. As you walk, you are dealing with forces from both inside and outside of your body. The ground is pushing against your feet at changing angles with each step. The snow is not even, it has slants and dips, areas that are more and less slippery. The wind can be light or strong. These forces could throw you off, but your body is constantly adjusting to keep you from falling over.

The question is, how much gas do you want or need to burn to keep yourself upright and moving?

As you develop the skills that allow your body to adapt well to incoming forces, your body gets better at using the least amount of compression and effort required to do the thing. You end up feeling capable and confident in moving your body under a variety of conditions.

When you train your body without its parking brake on, you use less gas, and daily activities start to feel effortless. This leaves you with more energy to do the things you love!

Who can benefit from this training approach? Nearly everyone.

Pain, stiffness in joints, stress, and movement habits affect your body's ability to be dynamically stable.

Whether your goal is to maintain energy and reduce discomfort with daily activities like walking or laundry, prevent injuries by avoiding unnecessary or unusual load on joints and tissues, proactively reduce your risk of falls, or to improve sport performance, training your body with its parking brake off will serve you well.

At the end of the day, once you have the tools and skills that help you to take your parking brake off, you ultimately have more control over your experiences. Some days you might choose to push yourself, burn gas, and expend your energy... and other days you might choose to enjoy the moment, explore your comfort zone, and train for movement efficiency.

There's no right or wrong, just what you need in this moment.

Curious how this might help you? Book a free consultation and we can chat about it!

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