I’ll start with my so-called “credentials.” Over the years I’ve hurt so many parts of my body – running, jumping, twisting, and crashing into an assortment of people and things that didn’t move out of the way fast enough – that I haven’t bothered to keep a list. It would be too long. Not enough paper.
(Thats Cliff…Doesn’t He Look Cool???)
My first meaningful sports injuries came in 11th grade, when I separated a shoulder playing basketball and not long after, just before the state track & field finals, hurt my lower back while triple jumping. The shoulder more-or-less got better on its own (although it was never the same after that), and we treated my back with deep heat, ultrasound and acupuncture. This was a long time ago, so my recollection is that we didn’t do some important things to manage the back injury, such as physical therapy, that would be typical now. I competed and managed to do alright – a kid isn’t going to miss his chance at alleged high school glory unless he’s in a body cast – but that injury launched me on a lifetime of managing injury.
Jump ahead, ahem, a few years. Since I started working out with Jes in 2008 (yeah!), I’ve had elbow tendinitis, foot pain (thanks, Mom, for the bunion), a strained quad muscle, a shoulder impingement, and most seriously, a condition called osteitis pubis, or OP. OP is fairly common among runners, soccer players and other athletes, and involves inflammation of the joint at the front of the pelvis between the two ends of the pubic bone. It often causes acute and chronic groin pain, and unlike many injuries, heals only with rest. I’ve had it twice.
In the case of EVERY one of the above injuries, I’ve continued working out with Jes and on my own – carefully, but consistently and with intensity. Jes has done an incredible job of understanding the nature of each injury, checking my status before each workout, and designing each individual session in consultation with me to ensure the best possible workout while protecting the injury and allowing it to continue to heal.
Other than the people I’ve specifically told about my injuries, nobody has known along the way that I’ve been dealing with them. Why? Because I haven’t stopped working out, staying in shape and maintaining my weight and muscle tone. I’ve had to change up a lot of things along the way – not running for a few months, for example – but never had to (or, of course, would) become a couch potato. My body hasn’t changed. Neither, I hope, has the look of pleasure I have on my face every time I’m at the gym and fantasizing that I’m cooler and buffer than I really am.
I know I’m in great company. We’ve all had aches and pains and, sometimes, full-fledged sports-related injuries. The best advice I can give is, don’t sit down. Remain positive. Why shouldn’t you? Even if you have to sacrifice doing something that you love for a period of time, you can still stay in shape and feel good (and feel good about yourself), and then, when you’re better, come back and kick butt again. Taking this simple advice pays huge dividends. In many cases (there are exceptions, but not many), there is no reason why you can’t keep safely working out and pushing yourself, even if you have to work around, or strategically through, an injury.
Go ahead and curse your damn hamstring, lower-back, foot or elbow/knee/shoulder. I’ve been known to do that. But remember that, even while you’re dealing with the challenge – and maybe getting help from health care practitioners, such as a good physical therapist (thanks, Probility!) – you can stay (or get) strong and maintain a high level of cardiovascular fitness.
When all is said and done, I deal with my injuries but don’t obsess about them. That’s critical. You are you, the injury is not you. Keep doing your best and having fun – with expert support and guidance from Jes – and move ahead! Can’t run? Bike. Can’t bike either? Get on that elliptical or step machine. Those don’t work either? Get in the pool. Hit all of the weights and other routines permitted by your injury. (I guarantee that Jes will find plenty for you to do.) There are always challenging and effective things that you can enjoy to stay fit and feel good, both physically and emotionally, while overcoming an injury.
This is Jes talking here:
First, Thank You Cliff!!!!!
Next: Take it from Cliff, when you have a good trainer, they will help you manage your injuries without exacerbating them, often they will assist you in the healing process and direct you to the appropriate professional help you may need. This is key for those who intend to remain active throughout their entire lives…If you are struggling with recurring injury, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can set up an appointment and put together a plan that will help you manage it and hopefully even improve the condition so you can stay active!