We all hate injuries. More than anything we detest the inconvenience of injuries. "I don't need this, I need to train!".
In this article, I reflect on a recent injury experience, how the right mindset is vital for recovery, and the unforeseen opportunities that injuries present.
So a few months ago I was filming some demonstration videos for our Beast Gear kit. I’d love to be able to say that I was a total natural on camera...nope.
The crew and I could only access the gym out-of-hours, so it was around 9:30 pm. I usually train at 4 pm, and always include a good mobility and warm-up session before the work begins - so this wasn’t ideal for a hard workout… You see where I’m going with this...?So, it was time to film some skipping drills and double unders, and I was playing around with the Beast Rope Pro. Stringing a few doubles together and….PING!
I tore my calf muscle. Ouch! And that was the end of filming!
And so I hobbled to the physiotherapist the next day where they put my fears at ease - not super serious, but I’d need to take time out to rehab the injury.
A few months down the line and it is much better and I'm back to skipping. But during the rehab period, I had to be super patient, and seriously modify my training. No skipping, no bouncing around during boxing, no jumping, taking it easy on lower body work etc.
To make matters worse, hobbling around then caused a groin and lower abdominal strain! It seems perhaps injuries are like buses. Nothing for ages, and then two at once!
My first thoughts were “I can’t afford time off training, what about my boxing training and plans to fight!?”
Pretty soon I realised that this attitude wasn't going to heal my injuries any faster!
It may not seem obvious but injuries can have a silver lining, provided you have the right attitude. With the right mindset, you can take advantage of the unexpected opportunities that injuries present...
It's all about mindset. Here's what to do...
1. Take responsibility - it was my fault. I didn't warm up properly.
2. Stay positive - work hard on rehab and focus on the positive goal of recovery. Being negative won't heal your injury any faster!
3. Get support - you'll heal faster if you get support from experienced professionals!
4. Set realistic goals - make your rehab a training challenge, aim for small improvements week by week!
These injuries gave me the opportunity to learn, to reset and refocus my training. Instead of continuing my planned trajectory, I took a step back to adapt my programme
For example, with higher impact exercises out of the question, I grabbed the opportunity to learn a new skill - the Ski-Erg.
I learned that the Ski-Erg could support my conditioning goals, not just during the rehab phase, but afterward too. Now I love blasting out quick and intense intervals on the Ski-Erg.
I learned specific recovery exercises for my calf, groin, and abdominals. In fact, one of the exercises that my physio James taught me, the ‘reformer’, is now part of my core training tool-set.
Finally, I was reminded that activation and warm-up are vital. Now I always include dynamic calf activation to prime my muscles for work and reduce injury potential.
I could view this experience as entirely negative - I lost training time while my potential boxing opponent was getting stronger, faster and more skilled.
Instead, I choose to look at what I gained from the experience - knowledge, skills, and perspective. Who knows, perhaps my opponent won’t have the same knowledge of warm-ups and activation as me; or he’ll get injured, won’t have the same mindset and get stuck in a rut.
Injuries are inevitable. Everyone will get injured at some point. They are inconvenient and frustrating.
With the right mindset, you can turn recovery into a positive experience and take advantage of the opportunities to step back, refocus, and learn. Knowledge is power, and each injury empowers us to avoid future injuries, or react better if they do happen
Special mention here to my awesome physio James Cruickshank. I’ve had back, neck and hip problems for years and James is hands down the best physio I’ve ever worked with. For the last 3 years, he’s worked wonders keeping my niggles at bay and educate me about how to manage these issues. Check out his running blog here, and his Instagram here.
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