There’s a great quote from Greg Glassman (founder and CEO of CrossFit) that goes something like “If you do not make time for your health now, you’ll have to make time for sickness later.”

    There’s a lot of truth in this little one-liner.

    I’d like to share a conversation that I have with my athletes from time to time that is sort of along the same lines.

    When someone is in the gym consistently and pushing themselves appropriately, there will always been a need for balance between workload and rest/recovery. Rest is simple- that’s your off day. Recovery can be very light endurance work (think easy 30 min run, row, swim, bike) or even coming into the gym just to move and go lighter with any strength work and lower intensity on the conditioning piece.

    Recovery can also take on other forms such as foam rolling, stretching or other forms of SMR (self myofacial release).

    Even with great attention to technique, intensity, rest and recovery, every now and then we get little pains in the body.

    Maybe a little pain in the hip, the shoulder, or knee.

    Now, remember what pain is. It’s a simple (well…actually, fairly complex) feedback loop to stop us from doing whatever it that is causing the pain.
    There are simple relax actions like touching a hot stove where we will actually move our hand away before feeling any pain- and then there are more complex like the situations we are talking about.

    Pain is helping us to make an educated decision.

    There are times to push through, and there are times to be smart. I’d say 99% of the time for most of us, the correct choice is be smart.

    If there’s something on the line…well you must assess risk/reward and make a decision from there. For those of us training to be fit, healthy and happy- usually there’s not really anything on the line aside from maybe our own pride or expectations.

    So now to the one-liner I want all my athletes to remember when these situations occur.

    “Choose to rest for a week now, or be forced to rest for a month later.”

    Often times with these little annoyances the toughest part is dealing with them mentally. The pain is not unbearable, and there’s things that you can *probably* do- but in the grand scheme of things you must ask yourself “is this smart?”.

    It’s very difficult to do that in the moment. I get it. You want to push. This is what you’re here for.

    Think about what a 1-3 months off to heal up would be like after you’ve pushed it too far.

    THAT is tough to stay mentally in it. THAT is the kind of thing that derails people over the long-term.

    When this happens to you (and if you train for any number of years at some point it inevitably will), here is your checklist:

    • Tell your coaches. Describe the pain in detail. When does it occur, and on what movements. We aren’t doctors, physios, or chiros- but we do have an understanding of the body and how to go about getting you a good workout without making something worse.
    • Get checked out by one of the above. If you don’t have a good contact come see us- we do.
    • When in class, at practice, or training: take yourself out of the moment. Be smart. What would you tell someone to do if you were under their care?

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