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When Should You Stop Working Out?

The Type of Workout Pain You Should Never Ignore

We all know working out and seeing results is about "no pain, no gain," but when should you keep going and when is it time to stop? Eric Chen, a running coach and injury prevention trainer at Sports Club/LA, recently broke it down for us. "If it's the first time you're feeling [pain in a certain area], finish the workout, then ice and foam roll that specific area when you get home," he advises. Then "if it reoccurs the second or third time, see a professional."

Why should you sometimes power through the pain instead of calling it on your workout? Because training isn't just about what your body can do but also how you've prepared mentally to deal with issues that can hamper your performance. "If you're new to working out, aches and pains are normal. With something like endurance running, you're going to feel pain and tightness," Eric explains. "But if it's not lingering and if it hasn't bothered you before, you can probably push through and finish." Knowing how to react when you experience something uncomfortable during your workout will help you become a stronger, more prepared athlete overall.

Not all pain should be treated the same, however; Eric is quick to note that certain pains are always a cue to cut your workout short. "A burning sensation in any muscle group automatically means stop right there and rest," he warns. And he says while people normally don't experience sharp pain during a workout, if you do it could signal a pinched nerve, so discontinue your workout if you experience this sensation as well.

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