Why Being Injured was the Best Thing to Happen to Me

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Why Being Injured was the Best Thing to Happen to Me

While that may not be entirely true, because being injured sucked, it has shaped me into the person that I am today. This blog post is meant to emphasize the importance of having a personal trainer during an injury and how it can help you not only recover faster, but stay committed in the gym.

I learned how appreciate my body for being able to do all the things it was capable of- big and small.

I forgot how much I took for granted being able to walk up and down stairs, get in and out of bed, drive my car, go to the grocery store by myself, and lift heavy weights. At times, I wondered what I did to make to this happen (mostly being stubborn and not listening to my body).*

*In reference, this post is about being injured when I ruptured my plantar fascia in October of 2017. It does however, relate to other injuries I have had including partial pec tears, lower back pain, and displaced hips.

If I weren’t already a mildly seasoned coach and personal trainer at my local CrossFit box (Muncie CrossFit at The Arsenal), I would have had no idea what to do. I would have needed help from another coach, perhaps a private trainer. Someone to help me work through my injuries week by week and help me stay positive, focused, mentally healthy, and come up with modifications or completely different workouts. But, I was lucky enough to be a coach.

I was forced to work a lot on my mobility, upper body strength, and do more core work than I care to admit I hardly did. I would sit on a bench and do seated wall balls, behind the neck presses and strict high pulls instead of snatches, seated “push presses,” hollow holds and ring support holds, as well as a lot of single arm dumbbell/kettlebell work…and time spent on the Assault bike (the real reason I have RBF).

Honestly it was a blessing in disguise. I was limited to doing mostly strict movements with my upper body, which had a lot of catching up to do with my lower body. My nutrition had to be focused on now more than ever since I was not able to produce the caloric output I had previously been doing. (Let’s not joke though, my nutrition went out the window after  1 and a 1/2 months because I got depressed- not funny, but it happens and it would have helped if I had a personal trainer or someone to keep me more accountable). Personal development was drastically improved as well. During the first half of my injury I was put in a position to be more positive and find hopeful outlooks; you can’t have a coach mope and cry about being injured in front of members, it just does not end well or set a good example. I think it made a lot of members realize how lucky they were to be able to do the movements, or maybe not, what do I know.

Being injured allowed me to become more relatable to my fellow athletes, current and new clients. I have gone from partial pec tears (not being able to use my upper body), low back pain (disc degeneration and displaced hips- not being able to use my lower body or move “heavy” weights) to rupturing my plantar fascia (again, no lower body, still to this day I cannot run like I used to or do as many double-unders as I once loved to do). This has caused me to become more creative with workouts and understand the mental and physical pain members go through from being injured and not being able to do certain things in the gym. It has really shaped me in being able to help train some of my current clients as a personal trainer here at Notch 8 Athletics. Point blank, it stinks, but it really makes you think about the bigger picture. Having these injuries is not the only thing that makes me relatable, but more on that in a later blog.

In the end, there are perks to being injured if you have a personal trainer, a coach, just someone around to help you out in the gym. I had a great support system at Muncie CrossFit at The Arsenal and with being a coach I had a decent idea of how to make my workouts count. Had I been a member or regular gym goer with no idea what to do, I would have needed a lot more help. Benefits from having a trainer during one of my “many” injuries would have included goal setting, staying on track and keeping me motivated, helping to keep me mentally healthy, providing me with a variety of workout movements and how to perform them safely, keeping me accountable, showing me how to speed up my recovery time with mobility drills and strengthening pieces, as well as having an unofficial therapist. Long story  short, just because you are injured does not mean you stop going to the gym. It is a time to work on weaknesses, spend time doing things you typically do not make time for, and hopefully you find a way to make time for a personal trainer in your schedule, because I definitely wish that I had.

 

– Coach Samantha Jones

personal training

How To Use Personal Training To Get What You Want

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It’s no surprise that life is full of different seasons.  For instance, consider being single and in school, single and working, working with a significant other/spouse, working while supporting a new family, working to support a family and being involved in middle aged parent madness running your kids everywhere, empty nesters, retirement.  The list provided could form a map of a “typical” lifetime.  Your path might be similar or it might be different, but no doubt your wants, needs, and focus will shift over time.

This article is going to show you how personal training can help you achieve your goals, no matter where you find yourself.

The data supports the idea that working with a personal trainer is the fastest way to get results from your workout time.  A Ball State study found that working with a personal trainer led to “32% more upper-body strength and 47% more lower-body strength than the other. No performance-enhancing pills were involved – the only difference was that the more successful group had a personal trainer watching over their workouts.”

The case is clear that personal training can help people get a higher level of fitness and lose weight.

What most people don’t consider is how using a personal trainer can help you achieve other goals too.  For instance, say your goal is to hike the Appalachian Trail next summer with your wife and college age kids.  Being “in shape” is better than not being “in shape” but what would be the most effective use of your training time to make sure that you were ready to hit the trails with confidence?  Should you spend more time lifting weights?  More time running?  More time on the inversion table?

Lets say that you want to complete your first triathlon this summer.  (I said, “complete a triathlon” not “win an Ironman”.  These are 2 completely different goals and a personal trainer can help with the first while a special sport coach would be more appropriate for the second.)  So if completing this triathlon is the goal, but maintaining your strength and power for the next thing after that is still of interest to you, what should you do?  Swim everyday?  Bike everyday?  How far?  How much strength training is appropriate for this goal?  What do you have in mind as a follow up for the triathlon?

Maybe your goal is to be able to continue getting off the ground in case you fall as you move into your twilight years.  Maybe your goal is climb Mt. Kilomanjaro.  You still have a limited amount of time and attention yet you have this specific goal you want to achieve.  Your Personal Trainer’s job is to help connect the dots and help you create a plan to get there!

Your competitive advantage is sitting right here

Investopedia is an encyclopedia…about investing.  Which is probably where they got the name.  According to them, competitive advantages are conditions that allow a company or country to produce a good or service of equal value at a lower price or in a more desirable fashion. These conditions allow the productive entity to generate more sales or superior margins compared to its market rivals.

What in the world does that have to do with anything?  We shall see…

As a person who lives here in the western hemisphere in 2018, you are no doubt interested in being at least somewhat efficient in how you spend your time, attention, and money.  None of us like to spin our wheels very long on a given task.  If we are going to go somewhere, do something, or spend our money on something, we like to see something for it.

This is usually why we spend money on plumbers, electricians, dentists, lawyers, and Amazon Prime.  Hiring a personal trainer or utilizing a personal trainer from time to time operates on the exact same principle and can end up making your training time, the time you are spending NOT doing a million other things, much more efficient and valuable.

You are saying, “What in the world are you talking about?  Give me an example for goodness sake!”

Ok…you got it.

I feel like it is low hanging fruit to discuss why and how personal training could benefit someone who is not training at all.  All the same, I might write about that case sometime in the future.

In this example let’s assume someone who is already working out somewhat regularly, probably on their own, pulling workouts out of Men’s Health or attending our group CrossFit classes 2-3 times per week.  This person knows what they are doing to a large degree and they spend 2-4 hours per week working out already.  How could personal training benefit a person like this?

In our experience, no matter how seasoned the athlete there are almost always a few things about them you can count on:

  1. There are things they like to do
  2. There are things they don’t like to do
  3. There are things they would like to improve

Piggybacking on those 3 things the following:

  1. They usually don’t have a hard time doing the things they like to do
  2. They usually have extremely clever ways of avoiding the things they don’t like to do
  3. They usually don’t have a clear plan on how to improve the things they would like to improve

Periodic personal training can help people recognize where they have deficiencies and create a program to address those deficiencies.

Often times we are good at finding workarounds for the things that give us trouble.  But it is oftentimes the case that addressing those deficiencies head-on is going to be the fastest way for us to accomplish that which we are after.

The most obvious example we have in our facility is working on mobility.  There are more pots of gold at the end of the rainbow than people we meet over age 12 who don’t have some sort of mobility limitation that could be improved.  Additionally, working on flexibility is something that almost no one will do on their own despite the fact that it is one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle someone can do to actually feeling better (diet would be the other big one).

So where is the competitive advantage?  When you hire a CPA to do your taxes, you turn over your paperwork and they make sure all the “T’s” are crossed and “I’s” are dotted before you file with the IRS.  By working with a coach/trainer and getting work on areas you either don’t like to work on or don’t know how to work on, you can accelerate your progress toward the end you seek.  All you have to do is show up and do the plan that is laid out for you.

That’s it.  Using the resources around you to help you create and stick to a program that will help you get better at the things that are holding you back specifically.  Save the heavy brain cells for other things like deciding where to go on your next vacation.  Use the resources around you to make the most of your time and effeort!

It all counts, so do it all

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I got to thinking about life and exercise this morning while I was out on a run with my dog.

In another life, about 10+ years ago, I fancied myself a runner.  I ran trail races, 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, and even 2 full marathons.  In November of 2008 I discovered CrossFit training and realized I didn’t like running as much as I thought!

Fast forward to today and I now have a 4 legged friend who is TERRIBLE at lifting weights.  Probably has to do with having no arms.  But HE is a great runner and needs exercise so I’ve found myself running much more in the last 6 months than I was for about the last 8 years before.

And you know what?  It counts.  The exercise is enjoyable to me because I get to spend time outside, with my dog, enjoying nature, and while it is different than what I’ve become accustomed to while doing CrossFit so regularly for the past 10 years, I’m enjoying it.  AND THAT COUNTS A LOT.

I think sometimes we feel like if we can’t make it to the gym for a workout, we might as well not do anything.  The fact is, if you walk up and down your stairs at home for 30 minutes, you are going to be winded and it counts as exercise!  If you walk your dog or go run around the playground with your kids, it counts as exercise.  Maybe you can’t get to the gym because you have a golf outing (tough one I know), but instead of riding a cart and boozing for 4 hours, you walk the course and carry your own bag.  That definitely counts as exercise!

My point is this.  Steady, consistent, thoughtfully programmed training is for sure, hands down the most effective way to progress over the long term.  But don’t get too hung up on whether your workout is trackable all the time to where you miss the opportunities all around you to sneak in a workout here and there throughout your day.  Any activity is infinitely better than no activity and making the most of your space and time will pay off HUGE in the long run.  It all counts…so don’t discriminate.  Do it all!

become a logger

Become a Logger

One of the most important reasons CrossFit and CrossFit style training is so successful is because we get a ‘measurable and repeatable’ result at the end of each day. While step 1 is just showing up and putting in the work, the real key to getting better over the long haul is to track progress over time.

In the beginning, folks had to just use the whiteboard and compare to other people in the gym that day. Some people went as far as keeping paper training logs. Nowadays, there are websites and apps that do it all for us!

The power of using your own personal log (versus a ‘leaderboard’) is that it highlights that this journey is about YOU. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where you finish in the group, but how you are you getting better over time. It will help motivate you by showing how far you have progressed. It will show you where you can get the most benefit (by working on areas where you can improve the most). And it will help you learn from the past, so you don’t keep making the same mistakes.

Talk to anyone who has been logging for 5-10+ years, and they’ll tell you how motivating it is to look back on those earlier days and see how far they have come!

Beginners
Log early and often. Many people don’t like to log when they start because they feel they are so far behind the curve. Don’t listen to this inner voice! Your future self will thank you when you get to see how far you have come!

Dabblers
If you are someone who doesn’t like to log, YOU NEED TO AT LEAST LOG YOUR BENCHMARKS. These are things like heavy squats, and ‘CrossFit Classic’ workouts that show up about 2 times per week (and repeat 1-4 times per year). Put in what you did, and write a sentence or two about how it went, what you learned, etc. Even this minimal amount of logging will be hugely beneficial in the long run!

Most Benefit
“What gets measured, improves.” You will get the most benefit by logging every day you come into the gym. Make it part of your routine! If you can, check the app before coming in. Then always budget time after class to put in the info before you leave. Take notes about how you felt, what you learned, how you broke it up, why you used the progressions/loads you did, etc.

By spending a couple of minutes logging at the end of each workout, you’ll create a ‘history’ that you can reference for future growth as well as a fun tool for staying motivated! You’ll see trends like how your performance is affected by sleep or a particular food. You’ll see where you need to improve so you don’t keep getting frustrated by the same movements over and over.

Start Now
You don’t have to wait until your next workout to start logging. Use that big ‘ol lump of neurons between your ears to remember your last few workouts and log those. If you know your score on benchmarks, log those as well.

Remember, this isn’t about how you stack up against others. It is you versus your former self.

And keep in mind that with consistency, your scores today will crushed by the future you… but you’ll only get to see that if you start logging!

Thrive on.

-Jeremy Jones

Exer-submissives – A message to you CrossFitters who love the “Beatdowns”

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Stop being a fitness masochist or what I like to call an: “Exer-submissive”

Beating your body into submission is not healthy. Going to war on your fat is not good for you long term. There is no enemy inside of you that need to defeat and punish. It is not your (or your coach’s) job to exact retribution on yourself.

There are varying degrees of ‘Exer-submissives’ in the fitness realm, but I feel like there is an inordinate amount that gravitates toward CrossFit (and Bootcamps for that matter). I expect that most people who exercise regularly have a set point in their personality that says: “Oh boy. I am really going to need to work hard in the gym tomorrow because of that”, or “I need to go on a long run to make up for that”. A little of this is fine, it can help people stay on track and possibly even avoid the temptation in the first place by turning it on its head: “I had better not, I don’t want to have to work extra hard in the gym tomorrow. I am already working hard enough!”

For some people, this inclination of repentance takes a much larger and dangerous role. It becomes a manifestation of the disappointment and self-loathing that one feels after doing something ‘bad’.

People who take this to the extreme are not only looking to do extra work because they ‘cheated’ or missed a few days of training, they have a sense that they need to be punished. They need to suffer. Pain is mandatory, and the longer the better. Bonus points if a coach or authority figure is there yell and push even more.

There is probably a multitude of avenues to get to this mindset (upbringing at home, religion, work, biology, etc), but primarily I think it stems from two opinions:

1. You are at war with an internal enemy (you aren’t).

2. The misinterpretation that PAIN = RESULTS always (It doesn’t).

The pain during a particularly long and terrible workout, the pain of the soreness that lasts days, the pain of torn hands, the pain of jump rope lashes, rope burn on the leg, and even the pain from a lacrosse ball placed in the ‘right’ spot are NOT signs that you are making any progress. Do not get these signals confused with results! These are not weapons to use against the devious enemy inside of you who is trying to stop you from reaching your goals.

This confusion of pain and results is probably the most common and most dangerous part of CrossFit. Discomfort and pain are unavoidable symptoms of hard training, but better, faster, results come from smart programming and adequate recovery. Training ‘hard’ but not ‘smart’ is the surest way to injury, stagnation, and wasting inordinate amounts of time and money. Joint injuries, mild rhabdo cases, disruptions to training plans/programs are what come from the hard, painful, workouts – Not progress. Nowhere is this more evident than the ease at which it is to make a ‘hard’ workout (nausea-inducing, hand tearing, sore-for-4-days…) that earns you nothing results or performance-wise. Compare that to the difficulty of creating a workout that maybe ‘hard’ while it is happening, but it doesn’t take an excessively long time, leaves your body intact, you can train again the next day, AND you are a healthier person and better athlete afterward.

Start paying attention to these thoughts of the ’10 Hail Marys’ workouts. Start asking yourself where the guilt is really coming from. Find out if you are trying to use pain and discomfort as a way to punish yourself for your transgressions. Try and direct that ‘need for correction’ into organizing a better meal plan for the next week and/or being extra consistent on your training for the next few days.

Shift your view of your other self from ‘enemy’ to ‘impetuous child’.

You don’t need to beat your body into submission; you need to set it up for success.

You don’t need to go to war with your fat; you need to out-smart it.

There is no enemy inside of you, there is a part of you that needs to be taught and lead down the right path.

And if you find yourself having the ‘Exer-submissive’ thoughts again, stop and ask yourself what emotions are you really trying to erase. Then figure out how to fix the real problem so you can stop punishing yourself.

Reposted from Thrivestry.  See the original article here.