Muscles on fire? Flex your exercise intuition!

Pushing through the burn

Think back to your last BeyondBarre class, working on a particularly intense set of muscle isolation exercises at the barre or on the mat. The muscles in your abs, legs or bum are on fire, screaming at you to stop. Your body quivers with muscle exhaustion and you feel yourself slipping into “stop mode” because you think you can’t take another second of the discomfort.

Now would be an easy time to stop and give up on the exercise. There is no doubt that you are in “pain”. The question is: Do you dig deep within yourself and push through the burn or do you stop to avoid injury?

Here is where you need to learn “exercise intuition.” It’s important to learn body awareness necessary to tell the difference between improving your fitness endurance or the beginning stages of an injury. You need to be able to feel the difference between a muscle that’s sore and one that has become strained. This may take some time if you are new to exercise. Listen to your body. If in doubt, end the exercise.

But if you’re confident you can push on without straining muscles, here are a few strategies to help you keep going. The secret is to tap into your inner strength.

It’s the inner strength that drives us to build our outer muscular strength. Focus on your breathing, listen to the beat of the music, and know that the discomfort of the muscle burn will only last for a short time in the grand scheme of your day. I tell myself that I can do almost anything for one minute. By the time one minute is up, I usually feel I can go on with the exercise for even longer.

– Colleen Ketchum, Founder of the BeyondBarre Fitness Method and Owner of Pilates In Motion Fitness Studio