93 days: How to face injuries.

Let’s face it injuries are inevitable when it comes to anything we do.  Athletes have the same chance as any other person of getting injured.  We’re human we do stuff like wake up, get out of bed, take showers in slippery bathtubs, walk and chew gum, and every one of these activities, including workouts, has an inherent risk of getting hurt.  We all have an internal risk rewards ratio for each activity and when we believe the reward far outweighs the risk, we choose to do that particular activity.

My body reads like a book of injuries which, at the time, were horrifying but now I tell them more like funny anecdotes. I have a ruptured and repaired achilles tendon, a dislocated right shoulder, a broken rib, and a strained groin to list a few.  Every so often these injuries come back to haunt me and this past week was definitely one of those instances.  A training accident led to a re-aggravated the strained groin.  About 24 hours after the incident I was literally lying on my kitchen floor paralyzed from the searing pain.  If you’ve ever had an injury where the pain was so intense you fainted you can probably empathize with what was going on.  I’ve become far more proactive about injuries with functional training and focusing on a consistent program of rehabilitation and strengthening in the injured areas, but life happens.  Injuries are one of the most humbling things in my mind because it forces us to ask for help in a time of need.  So I did the proper thing and rested for two days and asked the team to help cover for me.  If you know me at all, two days of lying in a bed without the ability to work on something is probably as much torture as pain in my groin.

My mind conflicts with itself during these times.  One part of me says that this is a giant setback and goes into this downwards spiral re-living 7 years ago when a ruptured achilles stopped my training dead in it’s tracks for a year.  I see all the results that I’ve worked for in the past year disappear like magic.  The other part of me, the one that won and has won consistently as I become older, looks at this as a learning experience.  It’s a voice in my head that reassures me saying: “no you’re not going to lose everything.  SNAP OUT OF IT, STOP SULKING, LOOK AHEAD, AND NOT BEHIND!!!”  So I hobbled my way back into the gym a few days after the injury when I could finally walk again.  I shifted my focus into mostly upper body workouts for the next week until the injury heals.  I look at this as a time where I can focus on some smaller things that I may have missed in my training programs.  I re-shift my mind back into a success mindset and push on.  The injury won’t heal any faster by sulking around so I focus on things I can do for both myself and for others.  During these times I’ve actually noticed that my mind sharply turns back to the principles of helping others, I find that this is the most mentally therapeutic thing to do. In my experience the reason why I get into these dumb situations is because I’ve focused far too much on myself; so why would I want to jump right back into self-love?  Support others and you’ll get taken care of.  Trust me, Blitz’ community runs and grows like a wildfire on this principle.

Ultimately we all fall down, it’s how we pick ourselves back up that makes us learn about ourselves, others, and life.  I don’t welcome getting injured or making a mistake but I accept it as a part of being alive.  I’ve adopted the mindset of deal with the issue, learn from it, and then put it behind you as quickly as it happened.  I think we play the victim card far too often in our own psyche now a days.  We focus on what went wrong and some of us obsess about it and carry that on to our next experience as if it is going to happen again and again.  That affects ourselves, our future relationships, and our true ability to accomplish whatever we’ve been placed on this earth to do.  I think the true way to look at events in life is that they’re isolated experiences but not linked in this giant chain of causal events.

The psychology behind success is to generate so much forward momentum in life that any potentially negative incident may temporarily slow us down but will never stop it.  Determination and effort to pursue a goal or a vision adds momentum, even mistakes and injuries can add more momentum as long as we learn from them.  Dwelling on the past and on mistakes is likened to purposely slamming on the brakes and preventing ourself from moving forward again.  Don’t sabotage yourself with self loathing and fear, that only damages yourself and the people you love.  Don’t cheat yourself on enjoying the present because of things that you’ve held onto from the past.

As for me, after a week off of leg workouts, I’m squatting again at a reduced weight and the pain is almost gone.  My upper body has gone through a battery of workouts in the past week and will be seeing some amazing new growth in musculature.  It’s back to the business of bodybuilding.

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About Chris Tse

I’m a scientist turned owner of Blitz Conditioning, a Fitness Columnist at CBC Radio on Thursdays at 8:20 am, and owner of Tse Social Strategy. Follow me on Twitter or Read my full bio.

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