I figure, that due to almost rendering myself unable to train yesterday due to massive pressure on my left side (that I ignored) it’d be prudent to make a post like this, as all of us at some point or another will suffer some level of injury that hinders our training; whether it be for a few days or a few months – it’s a good idea to be aware of some of the basics for training with injuries/issues.
I’ll use myself as an example; I have a series of issues with my back & sometimes it can flare up & render me to an almost immobile state – over the weekend I felt my left hip beginning to burn; the first sign of more pain to come. It must’ve been bad as I had terribly interrupted sleep on Sunday, however I still went to the gym on Monday. I was doing ok until I got to 40kg barbell squats, did one….felt a pull across my entire lower back & made a noise that may have been heard by hades himself…I heard it & I had headphones in. TBF, should’ve know as after I walked up the stairs I could feel my hips rubbing. Sounds gross & painful?? Yeah, it is. Anyhoo…..I was training on my own. SHIT! What do I do?? The urge to run downstairs, cobble my gear together & get the fuck out of the gym was my first thought. However, I seem to be growing as an individual, so I racked the bar & attempted to compose myself. I managed to (while thinking lots of encouraging things) do another one before I decided that it was probably wiser to drop the weight down, so I took 10kg off & did 10 reps before deciding that it may not be wise to continue with more reps.
Because of this, I began to wonder what would I do if I’d injured myself further or if it was a new injury & I didn’t know how to deal with it. The misconception that you should rest all injuries is still pretty popular & couldn’t be further away from the truth, resting completely can cause issues along the road – sitting immobile while you heal is gonna cause hindrance as the muscles seize up over time, making recovery longer and more painful.
You can still train if you’ve broken a limb, you can still go to the gym if you’re full of cold, you can even go to the gym after breaking your nose & recovering from concussion! That last one, I did actually do. I just made Andy aware of how I felt & whathaveyou before we began training.Which leads me to how do you know if you’re fit for the gym? I’m came up with my own little checklist:
- Does it hurt? Pain levels can vary immensely, let’s use this scale chart:
I’ve experienced all levels based on this scale. Monday I’d say I was at about a 2-4, at this level I’d still go to the gym. I’d probably still go to level 6, pushing it a little with 7 & above. So, go with this. Does it hurt? Yes. Will I be off work cos of it? No. GO TO THE GYM.
- Will it stop me from going to work? I know I’ve already mentioned this in the pain point, but it’s worthy of another mention. If you’re still able to go to work, then you’re able to train, however you may wanna take it slowly initially depending on the level of injury. There’s the flip side too; post op it’s probably best to steer clear of the gym for a while (I avoided the gym when I’d had a rather large tattoo session) When I broke my nose I didn’t go for the first week after it’d happened, so I guess to assess on an individual basis. However, if you feel well enough in yourself, then as long as someone in the gym knows you’re a little ill/post op/in severe pain so they can recommend things to do to avoid hurting yourself.
- Progress or pain? This is an odd one, (I wrote some of this at work then carried on thinking about it on the cycle home & I think this was my point) Think about the pain you have – Remember the handy scale!! Now, if you’re teetering on a 7, will going to the gym hinder your progress? Yes, probably. However, if the pain is localised to a body part that you can omit; a leg say then (imo) there’s no harm in going to the gym to do an upper body workout. Just remember if it hurts, STOP & assess the situation – can you carry on, even with a lower weight? yes, good on you – the Marines would be proud of you!
- Is it gonna be a long-term injury? I consider my back issues to be a hindrance more than a debilitating irritation; however I received some interesting reading material to my work email today that suggests my back issues are worse than I thought, but I digress…..I have friends that are trying to regain strength after months of limited training due to needing bones pinning back together & extensive physio sessions. I have had my fair share of physio & I guess my issue is long-term too, seeing as how I’ve dealt with it since my twenties. It was only when I started training with Andy that I learned how much of a complication it has been on my body, my left side is completely shot. I say is because I still have a deficit that I’m trying to correct (I’ve blogged about this annoyance before) What I will say though is that any progress is STILL progress! no matter how small, take the little victories! Did two more reps than before? Fantastic! Could lift a slightly heavier weight? Incredible! Recovery takes time & it’s frustrating, but I refer back to the previous point; going too fast because you wanna catch up to the beautiful people will only make your journey more of a struggle in the long run.
- DO NOT FORGET TO EAT! Oh, I’m not feeling too well, so I won’t have lunch or I’m not training today so I don’t need as much protein. Right? Wrong! I learned this the hard way. I started to do barbell squats; my first lot were going pretty well, then the following session I went to do them again & couldn’t. During a conversation with Andy he explained my body hadn’t recovered from the last session, or my lurgy (I had a cold when I started BB squats) and that was why I couldn’t lift the weight. I was really annoyed with myself cos I thought I was doing ok, but I wasn’t. I’ve since made a conscious effort to eat better & it’s definitely paying off dividends in the gym!