Last week, on the very same day that I wrote that post about modifications for wrist pain during upper body exercises, I was having a little chat at the gym with a member who had wrist pain from benching and doing curls. After a bit of a conversation, he explained that it’s been chronic for about two months in one wrist, but it usually flip flops back and forth between his wrists. It’s been happening for as long as he’s been working out.
I don’t have the guys entire injury and activity history, so I don’t know what he’s hurt or how he’s trained in the past. Based on what I see though, and in the man’s own words, “[He’s] a creature of habit.” How habitual? Well, curls and benching hurts his wrists, and all I ever see him do is curl and bench. Does that make any sense?
I come across as an anti-bench press zealot so strongly at my gym that I’ve actually been getting funny looks from people when I DO in fact recommend the bench press or do it myself. They’re actually confused by it, which I find amusing. It’s not that I’m against benching, but I prefer exercises that give you greater bang-for-your-buck, and continuously performing an exercise that hurts you is just idiotic! It take simple logic to say, “If it hurts, don’t do it”, but unfortunately, we aren’t exactly the most logical of creatures, are we?
We’re creatures of habit. We do the same things over and over again, practice the same repetitive routine, repeat the same behaviors. These can be wonderful, health enhancing behaviors, or they can be absolutely asinine. Maybe you’ve made a daily habit of exercising for 20 minutes before you eat breakfast, or perhaps you have a rise-and-shine cigarette. Those are two simple but vastly different habits, aren’t they?
Regardless of the health benefits or harms, you probably do those things without thinking about them. It’s just part of the procedure, and you continue to do it without criticizing or critiquing it. Sure, you may have consciously considered it when you began, but now that it’s normal, you’re set in your ways.
You need to think more. You need to think about what you do, how you do it, why you do it, where you do it. Remember the question words that you probably learned in first grade? Those are still important, but we don’t apply them to important things. We’re more likely to ask, “Should I go to McDonalds or Burger King for dinner tonight?” Instead of asking, “What can I do during the week to make it easier to eat a healthy meal at home?” Sure, the drive through window and your preferred #6 meal is much easier, but the more you do that, the more your butt starts to look like the seat you’re sitting on. If you’re okay with resembling Spongebob Squarepants, then do your thing; I doubt you are though, and you’d prefer to do things a little bit healthier, because the extra work pays off.
In order to improve on what we do, we need to think about how we can get better. Without considering where we can progress, we’ll be in the same place, doing the same things, and we won’t get anywhere. There are infinite factors that contribute to our quality of life and overall health, and it’s up to you to consider how they contribute to or detract from your happiness and success. Look at what you’re doing, and consider where you can make changes. Making the change is up to you.