Bumps in the Road


At the end of June, a workout got the best of me. The specific workout doesn’t matter and I don’t remember a precise moment in time where something happened. All I can tell you is that I woke up the next morning and my right shoulder did not feel good in an “oh-no-this-is-an-injury” sort of way. No problem, I told myself, I’ve been here before. My plan was to take a day or two off and be back at it on Monday.


Monday came and it didn’t feel better. On Tuesday, it still didn’t feel better and on Wednesday, with still no improvement, I began to experience the added joy of starting to feel bad for myself. Thursday? Same story, now including the game of imagining all the terrible things that must be going on—dreading having to go to the doctor, wondering when my surgery should be scheduled, worrying about what my signature would look like writing with my left hand, figuring out what life would be like post amputation—you get the picture, my thoughts were not productive and were trending downward. This initial seemingly small injury was throwing me off my routine and a little out of whack.

Friday (a week later) something changed. My shoulder still didn’t really feel better but I made the choice to get into the gym, be smart with modifications and get moving. The movement substitutions I required essentially resulted in me doing a completely different workout, but I accomplished my goal to get in and get sweaty. The immediate improvement was less physical and more mental, but bottom line, I felt better than I had in a week! I made it back to the gym the next day again and started to re-establish a routine. It’s been a slow and often frustrating past month, but I have continued to experience steady improvement and feel as if I’m well on the road to full health.

Now, I am not here to tell you that if you’re injured the secret sauce is to keep working out, that every path to recovery is the same, or that I treated this exactly how I should have, but I did learn a few important lessons that I think can apply to everyone at some point.

First, injuries happen – working out is not without risk but that doesn’t mean when they do that it’s potentially anything more than a bump in the road. Listen to your body, be smart, and, if possible, find safe and productive ways to keep moving.

Second, swallowing my pride and dialing it back to what I could physically do for a few weeks has been massively helpful to me both physically and mentally. I had to tell myself it was ok to not do a workout as prescribed – this was hard for me. Even though I’ve told this to many people before and absolutely believe in the approach, it was different when it was myself working through it. The results have absolutely left me with a smile on my face and helped me learn a lot about movements I naively thought I had mastered. Ring rows are NOT easy!

Last, it turns out the other coaches have been super helpful – who knew?! I often came in with a plan, but after talking to whoever was coaching the class, we adjusted to something that I ended up liking even more. If you are working through something that is limiting your movement, I’d highly recommend you talk to the coach before the class begins to let them know your situation and pick their brain on what may make sense for you that day. I think you’ll find that the results you’ll experience from intentionally doing something will always greatly outweigh those you’ll get by doing nothing and just sitting back and waiting.

Now go move!