“Reduce your load if the weight is too heavy,” is a phrase that I often say to both my physical health and mental health clients.
I thought about this sometime ago when I was lifting weights during a strength workout. I was performing an arm curl and was on my third set and very quickly realized that the weight that I had selected for the previous two sets was going to be too heavy for the third set. At this point of the workout, I was becoming fatigued and needed to lighten my weight.
The phrase, “reduce your load if the weight is too heavy” presented itself once again as I was attempting to complete a series of tasks that had accumulated due to some unforeseen circumstances. There I was I was in the middle of the workday realizing that the “load” that I was trying to carry was too heavy to move forward. I was feeling overwhelmed and needed to lighten the load.
Have there been times in the middle of a workout or the middle of a workday that you realized the weight or load was too heavy? Did you adjust? Did you lighten the load? Did you continue to move forward even though you knew the weight or load was too heavy?
As a NASM Master Trainer and a Nationally Certified and Licensed Counselor, I would love to say that I have always reduced the load when the weight was too heavy, however I cannot make that claim. I have moved forward with a weight or load that has been too heavy and suffered the consequences, injury when exercising and stress when working. Fortunately, I have learned that never, yes never, is it ever healthy to move forward when the weight is too heavy.
What are signs that the weight or load are too heavy?
When performing strength training, signs that a weight is too heavy are:
- Inability to lift and lower the weight with proper form and technique.
- Excessive strain on a muscle or a series of muscles when performing the exercise.
- Moving other parts of the body in a manner that negatively impacts other areas of the body, such as arching the back.
When performing work tasks, signs that your load is too heavy are:
- Inability to effectively complete tasks in a timely manner.
- Excessive strain on your mental state and other things around you.
- Shifting important parts of your life in a manner that negatively impacts other important areas of your life, such as personal relationships with loved ones.
Interestingly, what I noticed in both situations, exercising or working, is that the weight or load is typically one that you have selected or one that you have the power to adjust.
When you are planning your workout, choose weights that you know that you can handle and be prepared with lighter weights to make the appropriate adjustments.
- Make sure you have selected the appropriate weights for the workout that you have planned.
- Have lighter weights readily available allowing you to quickly adjust to a lighter weight so that you see the adjustment NOT as a sign of weakness, but an essential part of your workout.
- Always stay within your fitness level. Something that I always say is, “lift with your mind, not your ego.”
Likewise, when you are planning your work calendar, schedule tasks that you know that you can handle and be prepared to make the appropriate adjustments when necessary.
- Make sure you have created enough time and space for the tasks that you must complete.
- Have unscheduled time in your schedule for unexpected situations and circumstances, so that you see necessary adjustments NOT as distractions but a necessary part of the overall process.
- Always aim to move forward with integrity and a spirit of excellence. When you are unable to move forward with integrity and a spirit of excellence, delegate or eliminate.
There may be many times in your life whether you are exercising or working when you come to a point in a workout or workday that you realize that your weight or load are too heavy. I hope now you understand not only the importance of reducing your weight or load but also how to make the necessary adjustments.
Opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or its subsidiaries and affiliates.