This past month has offered me a lot of perspective on CrossFit, life, happiness, and balance. I have received a number of emails asking for advice on this, so I figured I would share my experience in hopes of helping at least one person who might be going through something similar.
In the first week of February, I blew out my back AGAIN. Those of you who know me know that this has been an ongoing issue throughout the past year and a half, due mostly to the scoliosis I have in my thoracic spine and the resulting muscle imbalances.
The first two times this happened, it felt like my world had crumbled. I got depressed, cried a lot, and was entirely consumed by the injury and the fact that I COULDN’T do CrossFit. After all, who am I without the thing I love doing most? I felt like my identity was taken from me.
The first two injuries took about 5 months each for me to fully recover from. And now, with this current injury… I am back to training after just 11 days. The pain originated in the same place and was of the same degree, the muscles were equally as aggravated, doctors said the same thing… So what changed?
I honestly believe that the quicker recovery has been a result of mindset and finding balance and peace. Rather than stressing about not being able to train immediately after the injury, I took a deep breath and committed to a full 10 days OFF, and I mean actually off… no CrossFit, no running, no bodyweight work, NOTHING. I spent a lot of time lying on my stomach on our kitchen table because that’s about the only comfortable place I could find. I read books (which I realized I had missed dearly), listened to music, and “forced” myself to relax. This time, I didn’t take the time off begrudgingly. Rather, I came to the conclusion that my body was telling me something, and it was about damn time I listened.
For the first time in my life, I gave my body what it was asking for, and it has made all the difference. I got massages and acupuncture. I went to sauna and cold plunge. I let my husband and coworkers take care of me. And within just 1 week, it all paid off. While I am not back to 100% training (and am taking this Open as a recovery season), I am pain free, my quality of life is back (something I took for granted until I could hardly move), and I am back to doing the other things I love, like rock climbing.
I have found that letting go of stress, listening to my body, and taking some “me” time was profoundly effective in healing. Injuries are so rarely a case of overtraining or lifting wrong. They are often a result of under-recovering, failing to listen to our bodies, under-nourishing, and/or holding onto immense stress levels (guilty here!). We also so often get caught up in wrapping our entire identity in CrossFit and our performance in the gym. Remember why we do this, though; we want to be fitter, yes, but why? So we can be the best version of ourselves and do the things we love to do OUTSIDE of the gym.
If we are constantly stressed, over-trained, under-rested, and worried about our entire identity resting solely in our CrossFit abilities, I fear we lose track of the things in life that truly matter. Love yourself, take a deep breath, and ENJOY the process.
Now for a nutrition tip!
This is a fun one… because who doesn’t love BACON?? I was working a Level 1 seminar two weeks ago, and we had the pleasure of having the folks from Pet’s Paleo come out after day 1 and provide food for the trainers and participants. The best part? It was probably one of the best meals I have ever had.
I had a chance to talk to Pete himself about what they do. This is a family run business, providing healthy, clean, sustainable food to the community. How cool is that!? They provide food to the San Diego community and also ship across the country.
Pete is such an awesome guy that he offered to send me some of the bacon to try.
I am not exaggerating when I say this after trying this stuff, I am convinced that Pete’s Paleo bacon is BY FAR the best bacon I have ever had! And unlike most bacon you find in stores, it is free of nitrites, nitrates, sugar, and any other additives. It comes in a big slab, so you can cut it as thick as you want.
The bacon came just in time for Rusty’s birthday, and it made that birthday breakfast and our first weekend together in months very very special. Don’t take my word for it, though. Try this stuff out for yourself!
Here’s baby Kali wishing she could have some birthday bacon
Happy Sunday everyone. Spend the day with someone you love, and get outside to use your fitness.
Comments welcome! How do you find balance? Also, feel free to comment if you need training advice to work around injuries… I am here to help.