Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Training, Injuries and Outlook


I have been hearing from a lot of you regarding healthy training. Some people are asking what should they dedicate their time to, others are concerned about their injuries, or about training as they get older. All great questions. I thought I would address injuries and some basic training attitudes from my perspective.

If you have been training for any length of time you have undoubtedly have been injured. It seems inevitable. So how can you prevent getting injured and what should you do if/when you get injured?

Lets look at injury prevention first. Many people say warming up and stretching is the basis of injury prevention. Although this is true, there is something even more basic than this: Your mindset! How you approach your training is really the thing that will set the stage for you. Now I don't know about you, but (#1) I am not getting any younger (#2) I'm not training to fight in the next UFC or Olympics (#3) Sustained training to help me not only perform when necessary, but also to enhance my mind/body/spirit connection.


What I advocate is a workout that is middle of the road encompassing some peaks and valleys. Middle of the road training can be described as pushing past your comfort level, without going to the extent of being overly hazardous to yourself. Think of the bigger picture; the marathon rather than the sprint.
Does it make sense for a weight lifter to take steroids to get huge only to end up having liver or kidney failure because of it? Not in my book! That doesn't make any more sense to me than training "all out" in full contact sparring matches or overly zealous grappling (because it's "more real" or "that's the way it would happen in real life") and damaging yourself so that everyday life becomes miserable. Your training should IMPROVE your life, not make it more difficult. Not to mention it's difficult to defend yourself and others in the field if you are all busted up. Unlike fighting in the cage/ring you can't reschedule someone's attack and you never have the time to plan in advance. You have to be ready at a moments notice to perform, not take 3 months or so to prepare for one incident.

I have had a number of people ask about working through injuries during training. First off, as you know I am not a doctor, so remember what I say is simply my opinion; I would recommend that if you are or get injured go see your doctor before you do anything that will hurt you more!

Here is my methodology regarding working through injuries: If I am injured I will work around the injury. Meaning I will train in a way that doesn't aggravate it or aggravates it less. Basic rule of thumb, if it hurts do something else. If the pain is too much, is so extensive or such a major body part that I can't train around it, then I won't train physically. However I can typically formulate a strategy to continue training. If we only train when we are 90% or 100% we end up never training. If you ask any athlete most will tell you that they have some injury or something that is bothering them most of the time. Don't let that be your excuse not to train! I hear that one as much as: I just don't have the time, I'll start training after I lose a few pounds or I can't afford it. As far as I'm concerned these excuses are most always a bunch of BS. Try to keep training, do something to continue. An all or nothing mentality limits you and your progress.

The last thing I wanted to touch base on today is to remember that your training should be fun. That is not to say that you shouldn't sometimes make it intense or challenging, but if you push yourself to the point where you don't consistently enjoy your training I doubt if you will choose to do it for very long. I have been fortunate to have been training most of my life. I am grateful for my dad teaching me in the basement when I was knee high to a grasshopper (pun intended). I enjoy training every bit as much now as I used to, however  my training has changed in the past 34 years since I began this journey. I suspect that it will keep changing to reflect my path as I wind down the road of life. I wish the same for all of you as well.

Life is too short to dedicate time to things that don't inspire you. The list of things to occupy our time is limitless... however our time here on earth isn't. My advice is to do what inspires you, what expresses who you are, who you want to become and as much as possible share what little time we have here with those we care about, enjoy the journey...it's short!

Keep going!

All the best,
~Craig

2 comments:

  1. Always enjoy your insight Craig!

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  2. Great article! I too am a firm believer of "middle of the road" training, and I find that most injuries occur when you train out of ignorance, i.e. dozens of breakfalls on hardwood floors instead of mats. There are people who will say "Well, I do that, and it hasn't harmed me" to which I add, with my knowing spinal injury "...Yet."

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