It’s a story as old as time: The tortoise and the hare.
There is a parallel here that can explain the importance of consistency in your rehab or fitness journey.
In some circles of the fitness community, we will see behaviors of “pushing” the intensity in workouts that are often performed at an unsustainable level for days, weeks, or even months.
When we exercise at an unsustainable level, we run the risk of breaching our body’s capacity. When our capacity is breached, we tend to experience negative side effects, such as pain, fatigue, and other symptoms associated with overuse and under-recovery.
To put it simply – progress isn’t made when we’re hurt. It’s not made when we’re burnt out.
The same is true for rehab after pain or injury. When trying to “push intensity” too soon after an injury before your body is prepared for it, we often end up with a setback. Although frustrating, we use this information as feedback to adjust the plan moving forward. Setbacks should be viewed as the ultimate learning experience.
Intensity is a double-edged sword. It’s the thing that gets us results. It’s also the factor that can leave us in a world of hurt.
When used strategically, and paired with healthy lifestyle behaviors (like sleep, stress management, and appropriate nutrition), intensity can be used with responsibility to get the results you desire.
Going through a series of progress, then setbacks?
Evaluate your training.
Are you performing most exercises to failure?
Are you approaching your workouts as punishment?
Are you missing workouts because of excessive soreness or pain?
Are you incorporating rest days in your plan?
Are you trying to double up on workouts to make up for missed days?
All of the above are important to assess to keep yourself from experiencing setbacks, and most importantly, to make sustainable progress.
Play the long game.