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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

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