Why getting injured is the best

I’m kidding, it’s not the best. It’s not always all doom and gloom though.

In my mind, for a long time, getting a an injury that stood in front of me getting to the gym was my worst nightmare. That might sound pretty obvious, nobody is begging to get injured (except maybe a 12 year old trying to get off school) but my fear was less about the actual injury and more about missing the gym. 

During my last powerlifting prep I sustained a back injury around 4 weeks in. After a couple of misdiagnoses (and reinjuring it a couple of times because I thought I was tough and could “train through”) I finally got an MRI that showed an 8mm disc bulge at L5/S1. Annoying but as with most back injuries, the symptoms are often a lot worse than the injury itself. 

In the past, I have dealt with injuries by doing the bare minimum, managing the pain somewhat and training through it. This is obviously not a method I could use with a disc bulge as I am basically immobile when it flares up. 

I felt really hard done by for a long time. My back was strong! The physio said so. He said my erector spinae were close to perfect. I’ve trained my glutes properly for years – they fire well. I’m not neglecting my mobility work. So this is just so unfair. SO UNFAIR.

When I was in pain I cried. I did the whole end of the world thing where I convinced myself I would never lift again. I gave fake-smile responses to people who asked how it was going “oh it’s all good, it’s getting there”.  

I spent three and a bit months training for rehab. I lifted almost nothing (or what felt like nothing). I avoided my favourite lifts.

I’m not going to lie, my self worth plummeted, I felt like a crappy athlete. I felt annoyed often.

I rehabbed for three and a half months and built even stronger spinae erectors. I rehabbed and stretched and moved differently. I conditioned my core. I worked through a shoulder imbalance while I was at it.

I built resilience.

I stopped being so annoyed.

I started to learn how I could work with other clients in the same position. I cultivated patience. I told myself I would come back bigger and better. I listened to professionals, I got multiple opinions, I did my boring rehab exercises every single day. I took care of myself.

And now? I’m back. Bigger and better and with less doomsday ideas about being injured.

Injuries aren’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, I would argue that being injured makes you a better coach and athlete in the long-run.

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