Don’t train through pain!

There’s something about training that lights a fire in you.  A burning desire to progress, give it your all, and be your best, strong-AF-self.  For me, my current training focus is a powerlifting meet on July 27 2019. So, naturally, when I rolled my ankle a mere 2 months before the meet I felt very defeated

The first thing that came to mind as I rolled on the floor was all the hard work I had put into getting my numbers up, especially in squats. I was less concerned about my ankle then I was my squats 🙂

As I write this, it has been about three weeks of recovering from the injury. After a few light workouts, a change in diet, and a newly reflected self, I have learned a lot about myself and been able to put more perspective on things.

Here are my top 3 takeaways from dealing with an injury while training:

1. Listen to your body.

Whether it’s feeling pain during movement or your body aching during your warm up, it might be time to tune in.  Tune in on what’s going on in your body instead of deciding to push through the pain or ignore it and move on. We need to take action for our bodies to move in the best way it can. Be proactive to prevent injuries from getting worse.  Some things may be so subtle, but address the signs sooner and seek help if necessary.

2. Take time to reflect.
What lead you to this injury?
How do you feel about the situation?
What can you do to move forward from this injury (ie. rehabilitative exercises, working on imbalances, etc.)?
If the injury is holding you back from doing your typical activities, are there other parts in your life that have been neglected that you can now put your energy towards? Take the time to reflect on the situation and then move forward.  Sometimes the situation may leave you feeling sorry for yourself; and that’s okay. See this an opportunity, to action and better the situation as a whole.

3. Exercise is fuel for my mental health. Need I explain the endorphin rush, the high, the glowing feeling we get after finishing a workout?  Workouts should make you feel good, not in chronic pain.  It can be extremely frustrating trying to train through pain.  Then exercise becomes dreadful instead of refreshing. So, what can we do to keep up that feeling after a workout?

    • If an exercise is painful, modify it so that it is pain-free.  If you can’t think of how you can modify an exercise, find someone who can.
    • Be patient with your recovery.  This stage is so important as it is just a wave in your progress.  If we shoot up too high and try to push too hard, that spike you may think is improvement may actually be detrimental to your long term results.  Train smarter, not harder.

I allowed myself to rest and take time off from training.  Doing this allowed me to recover a lot sooner than expected and yes, I did ‘lose’ some strength.  But the more we train and build our strength, the faster we recover after a break or an injury. Trust the process and be patient.

Injuries happen and we go through pain.  This is all part of the process. I tried not to get too frustrated when it first happened.  But I’ll admit, I was immediately devastated following my injury. Getting back to the gym was hard.  I felt weaker, slower, and less of that burning desire to get stronger.

All that being said, I knew the first training session post-injury was going to be hard. After all those hours logged to feel like you have regressed can take an emotional and physical toll. My 3 week break allowed for reflection and I know understand that progress isn’t linear and you just have to keep going, everyone’s journey is different.

Listen to your body, reflect on the situation as a whole, and be smart about how you decide to move forward. Because being strong, inside and out, comes from overcoming those harder times. We got this.

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