Why Injuries are a Blessing in Disguise
As you may have read in my recent "I'm a hypocrite" article, I sustained an injury to my ribcage cartilage at the end of April that took me out of my Kettlebell Sport training for over a month. I'm a strong believer in the power of positive thinking, so I'm choosing to see my injury as an opportunity to learn instead of mulling over the time I've lost working towards my goals in Kettlebell Sport. In other words, I've decided to view my injury as a "blessing in disguise".
Here are the lessons I'm taking from my injury:
- Don't take your strength and fitness level for granted. Don't neglect having a balanced training program, adequate sleep and recovery time, and a healthy diet. This could be the difference between pushing yourself to a healthy limit versus past your breaking point.
- Take time to correct imbalances and weaknesses. When I'm preparing for a Kettlebell Sport competition, I focus all my time and energy on completing the trainings. Taking a break from kettlebells allowed me to spend time working on imbalances in flexibility, faulty movement patterns, and weaknesses in particular muscle groups.
- Taking a break from the repetitive motions of a sport is good for you. Doing the same movements over and over again will break the body down, and taking a respite from the same movements day after day is essential for overall health and longevity.
- Taking a mental break from the sport you practice day in and day out is ALSO good for you! As someone who has trained Kettlebell Sport almost nonstop for four years, I realized that being forced to take break from training so hard was a good thing. Towards the end of my training cycle, I would have anxiety all day thinking about the set I had to complete until I could get it done. My injury gave me the freedom to only work out when I felt like it, and take part in fun workouts that would otherwise interfere with my competition training.
- Try new things so your workouts stay fun. The longevity of your health and fitness is as dependent on variety as it is on consistency and balance. Over the past month, I've tried slacklining, gone hiking multiple times, and worked on a sprint training program to regain my speed and athleticism. Kettlebell training at the Professional level takes up a lot of time and energy, so without it I was able to redirect that energy to new and exciting activities.
- My physical fitness should not affect my self-esteem. I fall prey to the comparison trap and negative thoughts about my body like anyone else. While I consider myself someone with a healthy level of self-esteem, I was surprised to discover how not being able to train as I normally do led to lots of thoughts like "I'm fat" and "I'm lazy" and "I'm not as lean as I was". I post about radical vanity and self-love, and I realized this was an opportunity for me to really take that message to heart. My injury became a lesson to love myself no matter what - with that love being completely independent from my body fat percentage, the reflection in the mirror, and my ability to lift heavy kettlebells.
- Personally dealing with an injury has taught me how to be a better fitness professional. Besides a pulled hamstring in high school, I have not dealt with any injuries that required me to take weeks off of training until now. In addition to giving me a better understanding of what my injured clients are going through, seeing a physical therapist also taught me about diagnosing injuries and isolating problem areas in the body.
- There is so much more to life than working out. Training is such a huge part of my life; it's the thing I look forward to most every day. That being said, there is more to life! My injury gave me time to focus on programming for my clients, education in the form of books and online seminars, developing my business and starting an online coaching program, and hanging out with friends.
Can you relate to any of the lessons I learned from my injury? What is the biggest lesson you have learned from an injury or setback?
I'm now offering online Kettlebell Sport coaching. To apply, email firstname.lastname@example.org.