You mean...I’m not superhuman?

Photo credit to Samantha Chin

Photo credit to Samantha Chin

Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we come to the gym? Why do we put a barbell on our back and squat?  Why do we do a METCON that has assault bikes and snatches that is definitely going to get our heart rate up so high that we can feel it in our throat?  

The answer can either be very simple or very complicated but one thing is for sure, we feel accomplished afterwards. It is a very rewarding feeling when you finish a workout, laying there on the floor, kicking your shoes off, trying to find a comfortable position to situate yourself into, and knowing that you did something at one point in time you didn’t think you could do.  

But after awhile, your body doesn’t recovery like it used to. You wake up with some aches and pains and they are always in a different spot depending on the day. I am going to tell you guys a little secret, it happens to coaches too! It could just be me but I have had this idea stuck in my head that if I am coaching people, I should be training just as hard as they do. Every coach wants to be a role model of some sorts to the athletes they coach.  But just like our athletes, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can also get these aches and pains that can develop into more long term issues. So, I am here today to tell you, that coaches are not superhuman. We need a break from training sometimes as well.

Back in December of 2017, I traveled to Anaheim, CA with Chris and the barbell athletes that qualified for the American Open final series.  I was not competing so I figured I would train whenever I had time. One morning, I decided to go to the venue in the morning and do some snatches and back squats.  

This is what my warm-up consisted of: grab a barbell, move with the barbell for about 1 minute, and tape my wrists. That was it. After traveling two days prior and being on my feet for about 12 hours the other day.  So after my so called “warm up”, I started to snatch and worked up to a fairly heavy weight for a double and felt a little pull in my low back. I ignored it and started loading the bar for back squats. I worked up to 195 kg for 5 reps.  On the 5th rep, I was tired and shifted forward. This little shift sent a sharp pain from low back to the entire rest of my body. I struggled to stand up from the platform for about 10 minutes. After I got to my feet, I decided to see a chiropractor on site and she let me have it.  She scolded me for about 20 minutes on how stiff I was and how rarely I stretched. Did I stretch after seeing her? Nope.

After getting back to Minneapolis, I went back into training and everything was fine.  Some days were better than others but I decided to push through it because I had this thought that I was superhuman and could still train.  Fast forward to June of this year. I traveled to D.C. for the day to meet my mother out there. I came back the very next morning and moved around a bit.  On that Wednesday, I decided to get back to training and I had sumo deadlifts. I did a half-ass warm up (clearly, I am a slow learner) and after one set, I was stuck in the sumo stance for 5 minutes because my low back just locked up.  Not again was the first thought I had. I skipped the rest of training and went to the chiropractor. They told me that there was nothing wrong with my back from a structural standpoint. They also said the muscles weren’t too aggravated, but I could barely reach down to the ground and touch my toes.  When I got home after that appointment, it dawned on me that I hadn’t stretched or gotten bodywork done in over a year.

When I realized that I hadn’t gotten any bodywork done for an extended period of time, I scheduled an appointment with an acupuncturist.  It worked wonders but there was still a lot to do. I started to become more aware of how I was moving and how my body would feel day in and day out. I actually started to take time warming up and focused on quality rather than quantity.

It has been a process but I am here to tell you about my process into getting healthy again. Stay tuned for more of the strategies I have been using to get back into training after taking a step back.

-Coach Josh