We all have those moments in our lifting lives, those chats with ourselves in the shower, those conversations on our way to the gym, personal moments that sometimes make us feel like no one understands. And for those moments, I introduce to you the "Getting Personal" blog series, written by guest writers who feel what you might be feeling and know what you might be going through. Hope you enjoy.
There really is nothing worse than getting hurt when you were training your heart out. It always happens unexpectedly and most of the time there is no possible way to stop it. Its a snap of the fingers, it happens in the blink of an eye. It's like lightning. BOOM- Rip. It was a slip-up, a tweak, a mishap. Maybe it was one rep too many, maybe you didn't do enough mobility or take a proper deload after your last meet. There are so many maybes and what ifs but your worst nightmare happened, you are hurt. And not just the casual strain of a muscle, tweak of the neck kind of injury. You won't be lifting for months.....maybe longer. Wow! you think, so much heartbreak. Absolute heartbreak. You're devastated and you don't know when you'll get to lift again. There are so many questions that run through your head like "what now?" "What could I have done to prevent this?" "Is this my fault?" "How long will I be out?" When in reality there is no specific answer to any of these. We like to think getting answers will make it easier on us but we all know that won't get us back to the platform quicker.
You probably never thought it would happen or even if you did you never thought now. You thought you always lifted heavy enough to make you stronger but never to the point you would get hurt. Sometimes we don't even do it strenuously, the body just decides it cant handle it one time. Of course being injured is something that can happen in any sport, anywhere, anytime, even to people who think they're invincible. I know we all think were on the top of the world at some point but we also need to be making sure we are still one with reality. The fact of the matter is not all of us are going to get out of our powerlifting career without obtaining an injury. There are always possible slip-ups, missteps or tweaks because whether we realize it or not, the body is a complicated thing and our sport is as hardcore as it gets. There is no need to be scared or timid while lifting, do what you have to do to grow. Just always keep in mind what can happen if we do not lift responsibly or at least reasonably. We never think about getting injured or being hurt, all we think about is the next time we are going to lift or how many weeks away we are from our next competition. Unfortunately there are always things that can happen. This is a a really sad moment. It makes your soul weep and angry. Some of these incidents are just freak accidents but there are some caused if you don't give your body what it needs, what I'm talking about is TLC. Our bodies need tender, love and care in between training days. This includes stretching enough, doing your mobility and giving your body lots of real rest time. I know I know, a lot of us hate taking breaks from lifting and even simple rest days make us go crazy. As powerlifters all we think about is our next training session and what percentage or RPE we'll be lifting at. But in actuality our body needs time to rest. Resting makes our bodies smile and its our way of saying thank you for working so good for me when we need it the most. Resting is essential to growth and getting stronger. Keeping our bodies happy is what will help us in the gym and on the platform.
One thing is for sure while you are taking your time to heal and recover. This will help you get through the mentally tough days where everything seems to be wrong.
-Keep a positive mindset!
During the first couple days-weeks-months of an injury its really hard to keep up a positive outlook on life. You think poor me day in and day out when you really should be saying to yourself it happened to me because i can get through this. I am strong enough to conquer this. Because you are. No matter what you want to think in these days of darkness, you will get through this and you will be back on that platform with the crowd screaming your name. You will be able to lift again and you will be better than ever. Thats what will help you get better and remain happy. You know as a powerlifter we have to go into everything with a positive "i will do this" mindset. When you step onto the platform you dont say to yourself I hope i can hit this lift, you say I WILL LIFT THIS AND I WILL CONQUER THIS. I will. Because it is always I WILL and I CAN do. Even when you are hurt and feel like you can't. You can get through this rough time. You just have to believe. Its expected to be sad especially when it first happens. Powerlifting is a sport filled with passion and to compete in it you can't let the passion die. But there is nothing we can do about the injury other than figure out what the next step is. You have to get yourself together. Wipe your tears, clean your smeared makeup off and lift yourself up. Find out what happens next. Find out what you will need to do to get better. It could be surgery, it could be time out of the gym, maybe even physical therapy of some sort. It all involves something we all hate to do more than anything- get rest and keep your head up.
During this recovery/resting period one of the hardest things to do is keep your head up. Nobody wants to get hurt when they are busy training for a meet. Nobody likes to sit out and watch all these other people competing when that was supposed to be them. It takes a strong willed person to get through an injury because it takes a lot out of you both mentally and physically. No you are not going to lose all of your gains and become a hobbit. Youre not going to forget how to squat, bench or deadlift. There is a chance you will have to rebuild some strength back up but if you want it bad enough (like i know you do) and you will. There are people who get hurt and go into a funk, they might decide they don't ever want to lift again. You cant let yourself be that person. You cant let yourself abandon what you have worked so hard for. Thats when the sturdy mental game comes into play. YOU HAVE TO STAY STRONG. You have to realize this shall pass and you will be back picking up heavy stuff as soon as you are better. It can be hard to stay positive and keep the negative thoughts out of your head and somedays might feel darker than others. Those are the days you have to watch old training videos and say "i will be doing this again, i will be better than i was." Do whatever is necessary to get amped up. Go to @deadlifttillimdead's instagram and watch people pull crazy amounts or go to my girls @girlswhopowerlift page and watch all the strong ladies slay their meets and training. Realize that you are not the only one this has happened to and like the others you will make one hell of a comeback. You are not in this alone and you never will be. There is a whole community behind you who will be happy when you are back under the bar. It all just takes proper time, so give it that. Rest. Recover. The more you rest and let yourself relax and heal the better of a comeback you will have.
That brings me to the most important part of an injury; taking the time you need to get better. We never want to risk re injuring ourselves because we started lifting again before we were ready. YOU are the only one who really knows how ready you are no matter what the doctor tells you. If you are questioning whether or not you are ready to make your way back into training then it probably isn't time yet. The recovery process is the most important part of getting back to where you want to be. The more time you give yourself to heal the less of the chance you have for this to happen again. You wont have to worry about getting re injured because you gave yourself enough time to mend. We have so much time to do what we love and train hard in the gym. There is nothing wrong with taking time off to make yourself better. Coming back from an injury at first might be skeptical because youre going to want to build your weight back up right away even though you know you shouldn't. DO NOT just go into the gym and think you can hit your maxes like nothing happened. (Be smart) There is a good chance you didn't lose any strength while recovering, you might just have to dig it back up after its been healing with you. Once you get back into the gym and get your groove back your spirit will be lifted and you will make an amazing comeback. There is nothing that fires you up more than being out of the game for a little bit and finally having the bar on your back again. The grit on it will open up your eyes to realize you made it. All those days you thought you would never lift again wash away. You will get the ultimate adrenaline rush grabbing that bar. Take your time, stretch good, do your mobility and use good form. Theres always light at the end of the tunnel no matter how long that tunnel is. When you know something like second nature and your passionate about it you wont ever lose it. No one will ever be able to take the feeling of being in the spotlight from you. Work hard to get back where you want to be and never stop believing in yourself. Once you do get back into it and you are pain free feeling great, that is when you will have the best meet of your life. That is when you will be invincible and ready to go to war again. You conquered the biggest war with yourself at times you never thought you would get through. There will be nothing more satisfying than hearing the crowd cheer for you again, to hear your name yelled throughout the halls of the gym. That feeling will be something you wont be able to describe to anyone but you will remember it for the rest of your life. And thats when you say to yourself it was worth the fight. It always was and always will be. No matter what stay positive and fight for the the wills and cans. I know you can and i know you will rest and get better. I know you will get back into the gym and build your strength back up. You will. And ill be here waiting to hear about it along with the rest of the GWPL family ️ Up lift and lift heavy my friends.