Gains Without Pain: How to Safely Return to Sport & Fitness

melanieChiropractic, Events, exercise, General health, Healthy Lifestyle, Low back pain, Massage Therapy, Physiotherapy, strengthening, StretchesLeave a Comment

Recently, Body Co’s own chiropractor Dr. Peter Johnston and I (physiotherapist, Jordan Fortuna) got together to discuss the basic principles around evaluating/managing your workout routine in order to maximize the effectiveness of your program. Whether you are a seasoned vet or a rookie in the sport and fitness world, the principles we discussed are applicable across the board and can be effective reminders to help get you back on track and moving towards your goals. I’ve summarized some of the main discussion points below, but please do check out the full video HERE.


  1. Create tangible short-term and long-term goals so that you can reflect on and monitor your progress and keep yourself accountable (consider writing it down!)
  2. Try to provide yourself with a timeframe on when you would like to achieve your goals 
  3. Be flexible with yourself as you work towards your goals. Bumps in the road are expected, and sometimes our goal-setting can be unrealistic based on (simply) life.

Principles of Progressive Overload:

  1. Pushing yourself just A LITTLE BIT more during exercise and sport can cause positive adaptations (or a training stimulus) to your fitness that will help progress you closer to your goals.
  2. Consider monitoring your movement ‘fidelity’, or movement quality, as an indicator for your training stimulus. Overtime, and with frequent training, you should be able to add more load (mileage, speed, weights, repetitions, etc.) while maintaining your movement fidelity.
  3. True changes take time, don’t expect a personal best on every exercise session. Track your exercise sessions in a meaningful way in order to see the long-term positive trends!

How to avoid hitting plateaus:

  1. Think of a plateau as a polite notification to change up what you are doing in order to move forward, rather than demonizing it as a failure to your training routine.
  2. What factors can you change within your exercise session in order to minimize the risk of plateauing (for example, dropping your running distance while increasing your pace)? What can you implement to improve your post-workout recovery and thus maximize your next exercise session (for example, taking a proper rest day)?
  3. Consider tracking a performance marker(s) relevant to you to determine if you are improving or plateauing (for example, runners can record distance and pace of their run).
  4. Reflect on the goals you set in order to redirect your training and move beyond a plateau. If you haven’t set goals yet, do that first.

Injury Risk Reduction:

  1. General aches and pains that come with consistent training don’t necessarily mean stop training.  These signs/symptoms can often be effectively used to guide your future training sessions and help you improve in areas that you may have been neglecting.
  2. Even though we are suggesting you need to progressively overload with exercise in order to improve your capacity, you want to avoid progressing too quickly. This really varies based on the person and the activity but usually your body will tell you when this is happening, so pay attention.

Though this was not a comprehensive review of everything you could do to maximize your workout potential, we hope you find some of this content useful and applicable to you. If you are having concerns and unsure where to start, or there are specific injuries or pains that are limiting your capacity to achieve your goals, connecting with us HERE is a great way to help get you back on track and moving in the right direction.

Thanks for reading and happy training!

Jordan Fortuna, Physiotherapist

Jordan Fortuna, Physiotherapist

Jordan is a graduate of the University of Toronto Physiotherapy program and has since been practicing in orthopaedic settings. He has developed an interest in sports physiotherapy through his many years as an athlete, participating in baseball, golf, snowboarding, and more recently rock-climbing, cycling, and strength training. He has worked with a variety of clientele including athletes from disciplines such as competitive dancing, running, rock-climbing, and mixed-martial arts, as well as non-athletes of a wide age range and ability. Regardless of activity level, he is dedicated to improving mobility, optimizing function, and strengthening to help achieve your goals through the use of an individualized exercise prescription and manual therapy. He also has additional training in acupuncture and sports taping.

Jordan is available for appointment on Tuesday, Thursdays and every other Saturday. You can book your appointment with him here.

Peter, Chiropractor at Body Co. Toronto

Dr. Peter Johnston

Peter is a graduate of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, University of Toronto and Kikkawa College. In practice since 2005, he has extensive experience with athletic populations from junior to masters, including working with the National Canadian Diving team, triathletes, runners, racquet sports athletes, dancers and all people that move to live a good life.

Having experienced injuries and chronic pain during his own athletic career, Peter has experienced how disabling common sports and occupational injuries can be. Realizing that the most disabling aspect of pain can be the lack of confidence and guidance on how to restore normal movement, Peter’s vision for the practice of orthopaedic healthcare is the use of therapy, education and advice to make sure that every patient can move without pain or fear.

Peter is certified to use medical acupuncture as an evidence-based Chiropractor and Registered Massage Therapist. His treatments include comprehensive education, spinal and extremity manipulation, soft tissue therapy, medical acupuncture, tailored exercise programs and healthy lifestyle modifications.

Peter is available for new bookings on Wednesday afternoons and evening as well as Sundays at Body Co.

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