Anyone who has stepped foot in a gym, with purpose, will experience a setback along the way.
There are times when your body doesn’t share your ambitions. It views your training as abuse, and it rebels by breaking down.
Presently, I am dealing with a couple injuries.
I burned out in late June, I struggled in July, and I finally took the month of August off. No CrossFit, no lifting. I focused on rest and recovery. I learned to adjust my diet to consume fewer calories and I monitored my macronutrients to support my reduced level of activity. During my self-imposed exile, I lost five pounds, and most of it was fat.
In September I came back strong, consciously limiting my CrossFit to two or three days a week. I gained much more than I lost with my brief sabbatical. October was similar, my lifts had dropped by 5-10%, but my form was better and I felt well.
I thought I was getting back into a comfortable pattern. CrossFit a couple days a week, and do Olympic lifting a couple days a week. I was actually reducing CrossFit activity to focus more on lifting.
But last week I hit it hard and I was having a ball. Eight workouts in seven days, lots of step-ups or box jumps, and plenty of barbell work, snatches, cleans, jerks, thrusters, deadlifts. I felt great all week. Then last Sunday morning I got up and I couldn’t walk. My Sciatic nerve was caught in a vice somewhere and the pain shot through my lumbar, glute, groin and right leg. The pain was so intense I was brought to my knees.
Here I am, one week later, imaging, chiropractic visits, electrical stimulation, heat, cold, fascial abrasion, manipulation, deep tissue massage, and I still hurt. I am much better, but I am still hurting. Without going into much detail I will simply say that I need some downtime. My Chiro, a fellow CrossFitter, has instructed me to lay low for the time being, no CrossFit, no Barbell Club, no, no, no….
There is a big part of me that is afraid I’ll go insane. I miss the sound of barbells slamming. I miss the crappy hip-hop music I love to hate. I miss the trash talking guys and the tattooed girls. I miss the challenge of pushing myself to get one more rep, one more jump, one more pound on the bar.
There is a lot going through my mind. How long will this last? What will I do during this recovery? How will I cope? How will I turn this setback into an opportunity?
Rather than dwell on what was beyond my control, I decided to look at other areas of my life (body, mind and spirit) that need improvement. How can I continue to challenge myself? How can I continue to improve, even if I don’t have anything as rigid as a barbell to define my success?
As I began thinking about these, I realized I don’t need to be injured to incorporate these into my daily or weekly routines.
- Trails walks until the snow flies
- Catch up on my sleep (8+ hours a night)
- Do bodyweight exercises until I get back into the gym
- Prayer, meditation and relaxation
- Organize my physical workspaces for optimized productivity and reduced stress
- Read some of the books collecting dust on my bedside table
- Get reacquainted with my guitar, that I haven’t touched since I met my first barbell
- Study more about rest and recovery
- Redesign my webpage
- Write more purposefully and consistently
- Work on mobility, flexibility, balance and coordination
- Study Olympic Lifts from YouTube and practice visualization techniques
I recent weeks, I have read many comments by Masters who are struggling with health or injuries. I do not make light of the frustration these setbacks may bring. But conversely, it may be an opportunity to sharpen your saw in other areas of your fascinating life.
Get Defiant! Get Well!