Monday, 19 June 2017

Training and Injuries

Training and Injuries

Injuries and illness are a part of life.
This blog comes with an EPIC disclaimer - there are most certainly times when rest is paramount to your recovery. 
However, I would love to explore the EXPERIENCE and our REACTION to injuries. 

There are two things that I LOVE about the experience of injuries as a coach.
1.     The way people react to them, and
2.     The creativity that can be applied to training around them IF the first point isn’t a negative reaction.

I have found there are two types of people. Some people will get an injury, either minor or significant and they will throw the towel in. Exercise will stop. Work will stop. Growth will stop. In fact life comes to a grinding halt. They will use it as that excuse they needed to QUIT. Their goals no longer seem relevant or important because their entire world revolves around this injury. Fear kicks in and suddenly they are no longer capable of even the simplest form of training, long after the injury has recovered. The injury becomes their IDENTITY…

“Hi, I’m John with the bad back,” rather than, “Hi, I’m John and I would love to get strong now that I have recovered from a dodgy back.”

Others will come to me and say…right…game on…let’s find a way to train SOMETHING while my injury heals. Even if it’s my finger, yes, that’s it…let’s train my finger! These people understand that the act of exercise isn’t just the progress they make on each individual day, but the progress they make across their lifetime. And sometimes it’s about the momentum of achieving and maintaining their longer-term goals, not the weight lifted on any given day. They understand that an injury is temporary. They also understand that maintaining regular exercise is just as important for their mental health as it is for their physical health.

What I find myself explaining over and over again is this – with any form of exercise, comes the possibility for an injury/niggle/tweak or pain. Does this mean we choose to live a sedentary life? Or do we rise to the challenge?

I choose rise to the challenge.

What’s the alternative? The myriad of health issues that come with being unhealthy, overweight and fatigued.

I love the creativity that comes with my job. I love knowing that no matter what injury is presented to me, there is a way to maintain activity and strength. And if I can’t find a way, there’s a team of physios at my disposal that share this same philosophy. This attitude is rubbing off on my Ritual HQ team of coaches and I LOVE the creativity that is coming from this team. They really are the team to go to if you want to get strong, fit and healthy, no matter what your condition.

My experience with injuries is fairly extensive and diverse. I do tend to push the limits when it comes to my body and I love it. But here’s my disclaimer – there are going to be those times when rest is the best thing for your injury.

But the mistake I see over and over again is resting for so long that the momentum is lost. So ask the question – what CAN I do, rather than what CAN’T I do!

Over the years I have trained through an ankle reconstruction (you still have an upper body, right?), a hysterectomy (I walked at a speed of 4 on the treadmill every day for three months and got myself through three entire seasons of Game of Thrones) and several back and neck injuries (which I usually hurt outside the gym).

Don't mistake DOMS with injuries. DOMS- delayed onset of
muscle soreness is perfectly normal after a solid session!

The secret to maintaining confidence and momentum in the gym through injury is this:
1.     Be extremely proactive with your injury recovery. Seek the right help and invest in your recovery. Don’t assume that it will get better with rest. The world has physios, chiropractors, osteopaths, acupuncturists, massage therapists (the list is fairly extensive) for a reason – to help you when you are experiencing pain
2.     Do Pilates. It will strengthen your core and ultimately protect your back.
3.     Do Mobility training and stretching – often. Especially before, during and after your training.
4.     Understand that strength training is the foundation to a strong body. If you want to be a runner, dancer, cyclist, gardener, or go on those epic walks, lift weights. If you want to focus on cardio, also do some form of quality strength training to support it.
5.     Find a coach who loves a challenge and will get as creative as they need to during your recovery.
6.     Don’t fear injuries. You are more likely to actually hurt yourself if you pre-empt it.
Find a coach who will get super creative with the functional
movements to ensure you progress slowly. Slow progress
is better than NO progress. 
Sadly, what I see more often than not is clients who are just on the brink of extraordinary, and then life throws them a challenge in the form of an injury. Rather than seek treatment, maintain momentum and embrace the challenge – they close the door on their goals and succumb to the cycle of self-sabotage or fear.

I am blessed with an obsessive desire to find a way. I will hunt, seek, research and fight for you until I have found a way to get you strong. I’m not alone – there are many of us who were put on this earth with that purpose. After all, we all deserve to live a wonderfully strong and happy life, so find the person who has the knowledge and the desire to fight for you.

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