Working Out Through an Injury; 3 Lessons That Will Change Your Outlook

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Working out through an injury requires mental toughness, perseverance and a whole lot of humility.

Just about a year and a half into CrossFit, I decided to compete in my first individual RX (with the big dogs) CrossFit competition.  I had done a few competitions prior and I quickly realized that CrossFit had somehow tricked my body and mind to crave torture accomplishment.

The day of the competition I woke up with a bit of a cold, but nothing a few Ibuprofen and pre-workout (drink) couldn’t fix.  Three Workouts stood between me being able to check the “I’ve completed an RX competition” box I had mentally created in my head.

I made it through the competition.  I checked the silly box in my head, but it didn’t come without cost.  After the second event (1 Rep Max Snatch), I immediately knew my shoulder didn’t feel right.  The next morning I woke up and I couldn’t lift my arm… not even to brush my hair or open the car door.  I started to panic and this is where it gets a little crazy.  I wasn’t panicking because I wouldn’t be able to lift my kids up or do simple tasks like wash my hair, I woke up in a panic because I knew I wouldn’t be able to CrossFit.

A good friend of mine, who has been CrossFitting for about 10 months, texted me these words a few days ago,

“I’ve never been so obsessed with something I’m so mediocre at.”

I laughed hard because I knew EXACTLY what he meant and if you’re reading this (and you’re a Crossfitter) you probably do too.

Everybody has a happy place that gives their brain a little bit of rejuvenation.  For some of my good friends that’s running, for others it’s crafts,  for some it’s Kaia Fit, for me it’s CrossFit.

After my injury I took a full week off while simultaneously praying pleading for a full recovery.  As each day passed I realized, what I hoped was a REALLY sore muscle, was much more than that.

Official diagnosis: Partially torn rotator cuff.

I wish that I could say that my first thoughts were positive and super mature, but I was devastated and The Good Lord knew I had a lot to learn.  I’m ashamed to admit it, but thoughts that went through my head and conversations I had with my hubby included but were not limited to…

  • People are going to get better than me.
  • I might as well quit.
  • I just want to eat ice cream all day long.
  • All that progress for nothing.
  • How can I possibly CrossFit with a hurt shoulder?  You use your shoulder for everything.

After 7 days of dealing with a border line depressed wife, my husband took matters into his own hands and basically dragged me to the gym.  For that I will forever be grateful.  Working out with my husband really has improved our marriage in so many ways.  You can read more about the benefits of working out with your spouse here.

Not being able to raise my arm really pushed the modification limits, but my coaches proved to be impressively creative.  For the next 4 months my coaches modified every single workout for me.

Don't let a shoulder injury derail your workouts!  Modify for these movements!

Since my injury, my perspective when it comes to CrossFit is very different from what it once was.  I’ve learned a lot of lessons about myself these past 6 months and I’ve gained a huge appreciation for the great coaching I received from my gym.

Love this article about working out through an injury by

Lesson Number 1: An injury won’t end your fitness journey.

Love this article about working out through an injury by

This injury gave me an opportunity to focus on a lot of my other weaknesses.  I hit a PR {personal record} on my back squat and dead lift.  There is ALWAYS a modification for something that can’t be done.  Workouts can be completely altered to fit your fitness needs and this includes an injury.

Lesson Number 2:  Practice what you preach.

I’ve been a huge CrossFit advocate since I started this journey.  I love healthy competition, but I can’t stand it when competition turns into  jealousy of another person’s success.  I really had to prove that my CrossFit journey really was about myself and not about how I measured up to others on the whiteboard.

Love this article about working out through an injury by

Lesson Number 3:  Balance.

Balance has been something I’ve always struggled with.  Once I find something I’m passionate about, I tend to put these blinders on and I’m completely oblivious to the world around me.  This has its benefits, but it definitely comes with its draw backs.  I’m not a CrossFit regional athlete.  I’m mediocre at best, and there’s a lot of freedom that comes with that.  If I miss a workout or two at the gym,  it’s not the end of the world.  I live a very blessed life that is NOT defined by how many workouts I put in each week.Love this article about working out through an injury by

Working out through an injury and into recovery these past 6 months changed my outlook.  I developed a deeper appreciation for the great coaching I received at my gym.  I grew to love CrossFit even more, and I proved to myself that one set back wouldn’t derail my journey.  If you feel frustrated by an injury you’ve experienced in the past or are currently experiencing, my suggestion is to find a gym that you feel comfortable with.  Talk with the coaches about the circumstances surrounding your injury and discuss modification options that will work for you!  It can be done!  Chin up, stay positive and keep up your hard work!

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If you liked this post, you might also like I’m Too Intimidated to CrossFit… In Fact I Cried About It.

I think I might try CrossFit!

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  1. I wish I could share #3 with some exercise obsessed bloggers that I follow. Great tips and I hope your shoulder continues to improve.