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!

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!

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.

Fast versus “Best” – How to appropriately scale up or down your workout

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Fast versus “Best”

The ‘Scaling Guide’ is one of the most important tools for getting the most out of your time at the gym. The key is to remember that the goal isn’t to get the fastest time, or the most rounds. The key is to use the ‘best’ progressions to land you right smack dab in the middle of the guide!

Scaling Guide(Time or Rounds).png

Before you start the workout, pick the loads and progressions for each movement that you think you can manage to end up in the middle of the scaling guide. Talk to your coach if you aren’t sure, and make sure you have a ‘back up plan’ if after the first few minutes you start lagging behind the target (this is why we usually post ‘minutes per round’ on most workouts).

It is encouraged to start the workout with loads and progressions (aka ‘scaling’) that may be a bit of a stretch if performed for the entire workout. When you are ‘fresh’, you should be able to maintain good form and intensity at these more difficult loads/progressions. If things are going well, keep going! If you start to slow down, or you can’t maintain great form within the time guide, be ready to scale back the movement to a lighter weight to maintain safety while still moving with intensity. One round of ‘Athletic’ or ‘Performance’ is better in the long run than a really fast workout where every round is scaled!

The biggest mistake we see is folks getting too caught up in their score at the end of the workout. The real ‘winners’ are the people who select the right movements/progressions that are going to get them the BEST results.

If you are a beginner, this means that you need to put your ego in check and do the movements that are going to get you into the middle of (or a tiny bit better than) the middle of the scaling guide. If you crush the scaling guide, it means that you might have made it ‘too easy’. If you struggled to finish within the scaling guide, it means that maybe you went too hard.

Side note: Many folks will ‘err on the side of caution’ and do things they are comfortable with, even if they are capable of more. Not only will this slow total progress, it can also change the stimulus of the workout or even put you at risk for injury!

For example, if you scale back the load of a squat, or do knee push ups instead of challenging ring push ups, you may end up doing TOO MANY rounds of an AMRAP. If you are doing a ‘for time’ workout, you may end up back at another movement without an adequate gap for certain muscles to recover.

Doing too many reps because you did 2 more rounds than the scaling guide or doing sets of repetitive movements too close together (because the movement(s) in-between were too ‘easy’) will cause more soreness and predispose you to tweaks and injuries.

If you are more experienced, you may find yourself crushing, or even beating, the scaling guide, even at the ‘Athletic’ or ‘Performance’ loads/progressions. This is a sign that you need to start thinking about doing heavier loads or more advanced progressions. Look at each movement individually and be honest with yourself about what progression is going to be the right balance between challenge and speed. When in doubt, ask your coach about what you should do. Generally, they’ll know where you should be at, and they’ll make sure you aren’t ‘sandbagging’ or biting off more than you can chew.

If you do end up outside of the scaling guide, learn from your experience and make better decisions for next time.

You aren’t “wrong” when you end up beating the scaling guide or going a minute or two over. It just means that you probably didn’t pick the BEST movement for the workout today (or maybe you didn’t have a good ‘back up plan’ when things went off the rails).

We must remember that we are training for the long game. Going too heavy or too advanced is just as detrimental to your progress as going too light or too easy.

You are investing an hour (or more) of your life at the gym today. Let’s make sure you are getting the most out of it by picking the BEST movements to get the most return on your investment!

Thrive on.

-Jeremy Jones

What % When Doing Max Lifts

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Hey Everyone!

A common question comes up regarding what loads people should be lifting in our 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 days, and I wanted to share it with you here in case you missed it:

The question goes like this:
“When testing for a 1 RM will we always use the 7 X 1 rep scheme or does it vary by movement? why not do more of an 8,5,3,1,1,1 rep scheme with increasing weights? I’m wondering if there is enough stimulus using the 7 X 1 prior to the heavier pulls. Can you comment on this?”

7 x 1 is the primary we use for a number of reasons. In the above example, 8,5,3… this isn’t the best rep scheme for finding a new max unless you go really light on those first three sets. At that point, we are really just doing 1,1,1 (and the 8,5,3 are just warm up sets).

7 heavy singles is going to be a bit of training stimulus (primarily muscle fiber recruitment and not mass), and it is going to get a good test of where we are at (even if you don’t do a true 1 RM).

Also, sticking to some of the same rep schemes is good for training log continuity. We do so many lifts, there is a chance that if we had 2 or 3 different schemes for testing relative maxes people would only be able to compare their numbers from a year or more ago (not great since it takes so long to get that hit of dopamine for accomplishing something).

So, you should be doing 8,5,3 before the singles (at a much lighter load), or 5,5,3,2 etc. as warm-up sets…the 7 x 1 is part training stimulus, part max testing, and part training log continuity.

2nd question:

“If you already have an established 1 rep max, do you have a suggested % of the 1RM for the first rep in the 7 x 1 series?”

It depends on the max (how much total weight you are lifting).

Here is a general guide (if we are talking percentages, a rule of thumb is to jump up in 10-20lb increments for ease of plate math):

Set 1 = 75% or 80%
Set 2 = 85%
Set 3 = 90%
Set 4 = 95%
Set 5 = 100 or 105%

Then the last 2 sets depending on how the 5th set felt.

Set 5 felt good…go up.
Set 5 felt okay or hard…go again (same weight, but make it better).
Set 5 felt really hard, failed rep, or bad form…go down.

That isn’t to say that we will never switch to testing in the 2-3 rep range, but the above lays out the reasons for testing maxes as we do currently.

I hope that makes sense!