Injury Rehab, Staying Positive & Planning my Comeback

Hi Readers!

It’s been a very long time since I’ve written a blog post here, I took some time out from creating content for my blog and Instagram to focus on real life for a while instead, but I’m now feeling inspired, re-energised and ready to start blogging again.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will probably have seen my frequent complaints (sorry) about an injury which I sustained doing Crossfit a couple of months ago. I was fairly new to Crossfit but it was still love at first session and it became the thing that I looked forward to doing most days. However, some of the more challenging and technical aspects of Crossfit, such as the Olympic lifts, were a completely new skill for me and I can see that I tried to run before I could walk in this situation; increasing the load before I had fully nailed the technique. This factor, along with the increase in both training intensity and volume, eventually led to an injury which I later learnt was the result of several muscular imbalances I’d been unaware of, and forced me to re-evaluate my approach to training.

Unaware (or in denial) that this intense pain around my rib cage could be anything severe, I carried on training until the point where I was no longer able to train and had to admit that I would have to stop for a while (yes, even personal trainers do stupid things). Convinced that the pain would be gone in a week or so and then I’d be back to training, I decided to take that time off (seemed like ages at the time) only to return one week later and find that the pain was still there.  Unable to inhale, rotate, cough, sneeze, laugh or raise my right arm overhead without pain led to the several consultations and then the diagnosis of a few strained intercostal muscles, a strained serratus anterior and a possible rib fracture, or the possibility of one developing if I didn’t fully rest it.

I rested for a very long, mentally and physically challenging month, and performed plenty of stretching and mobility when the pain allowed. I also moved to a new physiotherapist, who turned out to be the best physio I’d ever had (will do a separate post on this later). He identified all of these muscular imbalances, informed me I was hypermobile (i.e. I’m a little too flexible and this makes it harder to stabilise/control movements, making me more prone to injury) and worked with me to improve these issues. My right side was a little messy – my hip stability and scapula stability on this side were both pretty poor, as was my thoracic mobility, and these factors were contributing to my many aches and pains.

After a month of complete rest, the pain had pretty much subsided entirely, but due to the imbalances I was not initially allowed to do anything except for the mobility and stability exercises I’d been given. I’m now at a stage where I’m allowed to do a little more: rowing, spinning and certain lower body strengthening exercises using weights, occasionally where some minor pain would be present, but nothing of much concern. We’re building up my control one step at a time, and whilst I’ve lost a lot of my fitness and it’s really hard to resist going back to training, I’m progressing in other crucial areas such as stability which will improve my performance once I can return to training.

After weeks of denial, high emotions, nagging my physio, researching treatment and asking everyone when I could go back to training, I finally reached the acceptance stage. All that might seem extreme, but when training is your passion, your job, a large chunk of your social life and therefore a massive part of your life, it’s pretty devastating to have it taken away from you. I’ve finally adopted a more positive approach, where I’ve come to acknowledge the fact that I am still young, I still have time to get better at Crossfit (I’d eventually like to compete) and taking a few months off training where I focus on addressing these imbalances and bulletproofing my body will benefit me hugely in the long run. It will hopefully result in a more consistent training routine, fewer injuries and more progress.

Of course, I accept that injuries are often inevitable and I expect there to be more – if you’re training frequently and at a high intensity, especially for competitions, then it’s fairly likely that an injury, or at least a niggle, will rear its ugly head at some stage. I am willing to take this risk but am going to be adapting my approach when it comes to training – I’m going to focus on all of the areas that I can improve in – learning to train smart rather than overtrain, boosting my recovery by nailing my nutrition (meal prepping and macro tracking!) and getting enough, good-quality sleep.

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My goals are based almost entirely on performance – obviously I do always want to maintain a certain degree of leanness and muscle mass for aesthetic reasons too, but this will always fluctuate due to a number of factors including hormones, motivation, training volume, injury, stress and my goals. Once I’m able to start lifiting weights again, I will be supplementing my training with hypertrophy-focused sessions as my goal is to build muscle, mainly with the aim of seeing progress in the strength-based areas of Crossfit, as I’d like to get the numbers up on those weights! I am planning my comeback to training very carefully, so may even get a coach with far more experience than me to write a training programme for me to follow once I go back to uni in September.

I am determined to get the most out of my training and really see what I’m capable of achieving within the sport of Crossfit. I want to improve my technique, see the weights go up, increase my endurance and improve my mentality – by that I mean improving my ability to push myself when all I want to do is give up. I think this is where the cliché but morale-boosting phrase ‘getting comfortable with feeling uncomfortable’ would fit in nicely.

I recently spoke about how I will be focusing more on my nutrition and sleep quality on my Instagram, as I found myself stuck in a rut, using food as an emotional crutch for being unable to train, and being a little too relaxed in areas of my health, particularly my diet. I have reached a stage where I feel ready to reign it back in a bit and exert a little more discipline. Whilst my main focus at the moment is on injury rehab and physiotherapy, I’m going to spend as much time addressing these other areas of good recovery, so that I can give myself the best headstart possible when I return to training.

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Today is Day 3 of my 'health reset' which is going as planned so far ✌🏻This isn't a fad or stupid 'detox' diet (please note, you have a liver, which, if you are an optimally functioning human being, will carry out detoxification far more effectively than any stupid tea or fad diet will) 🤦🏼‍♀️🙄 It's just me re-focusing on some areas of my health that I let slip a little, mainly my nutrition…🍪🍦 ~ ~ It's been over a month since I've been allowed to train, during which time I went on holiday & enjoyed myself, fully relaxed my diet + activity levels, but I never really adjusted this when I got back from holiday. I lost motivation from being injured & found myself using poor-quality food as an emotional crutch for not being able to train one too many times. As a result I found myself stuck in a rut & felt pretty fed up with myself + the lack of discipline I'd gotten into the habit of displaying 🐽🌚 ~ ~ So, given that I'm the only one who can make the necessary changes, I decided to take control & have been making a much greater effort to focus on my diet, making sure I get the right amount of everything, and also on my sleep quality, which, along with frequent physio, should make my gradual transition back to training much easier. I'm already noticing the effects (mentally + physically) of good nutrition + more sleep, & will be continuing with these habits when I return to training to improve my performance 🏋🏼‍♀️🥑🍗😴💁🏼

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Thanks for reading!

Lauren x

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