So you want to start crossfit, or maybe you have plans to run a Spartan race. No matter what sport, or fitness challenge you have planned for the New Year there are a few things to consider. Your number one consideration should be injury prevention and recovery.
I know there are a 101 articles out there warning you about the dangers of high intensity fitness, and how to start off slowly and ensure you are using appropriate weight and doing proper mobility and stretches…… blah blah blah, am I right? Let’s face it, no one really listens. Once you start off in crossfit or any other high intensity fitness, its exhilarating and fun and all you want to do it push push push and push some more! Who cares about mobility and scaling back, you have just joined an elite group of fitness junkies and the high is AWESOME!
SO I won’t bore you with ways to slowly get into it and take your time and ensure you don’t get injured, because let’s face it, you’re not going to listen. It’s really not until you face your first injury that you start to pay attention to all that good advice.
I’m not talking about a sore muscle or a small pain, I’m talking a full blown, take you out for 3-4 week injury. Yup, it can happen to you, and when it does, it’s not only frustrating, but it can be downright depressing.
The way I see it there are 2 types injuries that can teach us everything.
The first is the one that forces us to scale back. My first month of crossfit I was on fire! I was full of energy and PR’ing all over the place. I felt strong and invincible. Then I hit a week where there was a lot of shoulder work, by the end of the week I had stressed out my rotator cuff. I thought I might actually have a tare. I learned 2 things. One, watch the workouts for the week carefully. If you see a lot of repetition of a certain muscle group being worked, scale it back by the end of the week. There is a time for PR’ing and time to rest and concentrate on technique. That injury caused me to scale down for 2 weeks… not cool!
The second type of injury is the real eye opener! This one takes you out of the game completely! So I recovered from my shoulder injury and I was doing mobility and scaling back when I needed to. Then I felt a small pinch in my ribs, but I kept going, I was careful to scale back … but 2 days after the pinch, I was OUT. I thought I had cracked a rib. You know what exercises you can do when you injure your ribs?… NOTHING. It took me out for 4 weeks. Unfortunately I couldn’t figure out what exactly caused it. I did what I thought, by scaling back and more mobility, but it didn’t matter. SO what did I learn? Well that sometimes injuries happen and it SUCKS, and you just have to have patients. Which I’ll tell you, I have none of. I guess I learned how to…. what I’m calling “scale back into working out”. I increased my mobility training, and when I did get back to the box, I had to put my pride aside and use the “baby” bar and lower my reps and weight. It feels like cheating, but it’s not.
Injury sucks folks, plain and simple. They only thing I can say is pay attention, do your mobility/stretching, and be patient when you get an injury (still working on that one). Crossfit or any other intense fitness can make you feel like the most powerful version of yourself, but at times it will humble you. Be safe and careful out there, but don’t let it take you out of the game!
Fueling your body is also really important, here’s a quick recovery shake I’ve been consuming lately. It has protein powder, yogurt for muscle recovery, and coconut water, which is wicked awesome for replacing electrolytes! Enjoy!
P.S. I have now managed to injure my knee… will it ever end!!!!
Berry Recovery Smoothie
2 Tablespoons of Yogurt ( I used plain greek)
1 Cup of Your Favorite Frozen Berries
1 Cup of Coconut Water
1 Scoop of Plain Protein Powder
Throw it all in a blender and blend to desired consistency. Pour into a pretty glass and sip it with a pretty straw… it helps, seriously!