Smutty Fitness: Do not ignore pain
6 months ago I joined a Crossfit box. I was looking for a way to get stronger and faster and I found it. I loved it immediately. I had never done any Olympic lifting so everything was new to me and I was seeing immediate results. I was getting so much stronger and while I wasn't losing a lot of weight I was becoming leaner. I went from going to my box 3 days a week to 6. I've been going 6 days a week for about 4 months now and the injuries are starting to pile up. First it was my hip which I have always had issues with, so I overlooked it. Now it is my shoulder, my elbow and my hand all on the left side. I go to AIRROSTI for treatment and while it helps I feel like I need a little break. However, when I don't show up 6 days a week my coach is disappointed in me. He tells me I am slacking and makes me feel like I am overreacting about my pain and that maybe I am just being a wimp. I hate to disappoint people and hate it even more if someone thinks I am not pulling my weight so I keep going and the pain keeps getting worse. I'm not sure what to do. Do I cut back on my Crossfit and add more run days and just take the heat from coach?
First of all, your coach needs to understand your condition and that you are injured and NO coach should tell one of their athletes that they are slacking and overreacting to pain. Injuries are NOT something that should be taken lightly and any good coach understands when their clients are injured and supports them through their recovery, recommends treatment options and helps them to become stronger. I am training a few girls right now for a half marathon and two are currently dealing with injuries; rather than calling them slackers, I am providing them with alternative training options, guiding them to other professionals who can help as well as re-evaluating each week to see if they are capable of continuing towards their goal. I support them, which is my job as a coach: to ensure my clients are inspired and that they continue to believe in themselves.
You need to stay away from that Crossfit coach and find another studio to go to or another type of training to part take in. I have never been a fan of Crossfit style training; I know it works for some but for others it’s not the best program to jump right into (especially ones like yourself who have zero experience in Olympic lifting before joining Crossfit). Your body obviously is not agreeing with the type of training you are doing so you need to find another way to challenge yourself.
Most importantly, before you move forward you need to deal with your hip, shoulder, elbow and hand. Go get a second opinion from another physiotherapist that is highly recommended in your area and see if they have any alternative options for you. While you are recovering stick to lower impact cardio (just because it is lower impact it does not mean it has to be low intensity – try a spinning class!) and for your strength training opt for yoga, pilates and strength training with weights and dumbbells where you focus on perfect form and lifting just until your muscles fatigue. Start with one set of 10 and build up from that each week and stay away from any movements that cause pain, immediate or afterwards. I am thinking that the prior training you were doing has exacerbated pre- existing muscle imbalances and you will need to rebalance your body before you even think of returning to Crossfit. Take the running out of your routine until your hip is pain free and then you can introduce a walk-run program to rebuild your running strength (it should not take long to get yourself back to running fitness).
We only have one body and we need to take care of it. Pain is NOT something that should be ignored so do not allow anyone to make you feel inadequate for putting your health first.
Attached - Will Ferrell out for a run in New York.
Doug Meszler/ Splash