A guy walks into a multi-storey brothel.
The receptionist tells the man to take his shoes off, then go knock on the door to the right.
The man does what he’s told and a fairly attractive 50 year old open the door.
She says “You can either sleep with me or carry on up the stairs to success”.
The man thinks “She’s nice but if I’m paying I want the best I can get”.
He turns and walks up the stairs catching a few splinters poking up, until he reaches the next room.
This time a beautiful 40 year old opens the door and says the same thing…
“You can either take me now or carry on up the stairs to success.”
The man seeing how this now worked, kindly declines and continues up the stairs.
This time he has to walk on broken glass, cutting his feet as he continues his quest.
At the next door a stunning 30 year old with big breasts and long legs opens the door and says “Hey, you can either give me all you’ve got or carry on to the last stop on the stairs to success.”
The man loving the game and enjoying being teased and tantalised, thanks the young lady and goes for the money shot at the top of the stairs.
His feet are now torn and he can barely walk properly and the nails left strewn across the stairs make life difficult.
“No pain, no gain….”
He bangs on the door ready for the time of his life with an amazing 20 year old, nymphomaniac.
“This is what I’m paying for!!!” He bangs on the door again and again and again until his knuckles are raw and bleeding.
Eventually the door opens and there stands a naked, crinkly old man with a walking stick.
“Hello there young stud” the old man croaks.
“My name is Cess….”
The last few weeks have been a learning experience for me as always.
Fortunately I have not had inappropriate relations with some old codger.
Instead I have been in a mental battle with myself because of two injuries which have reduced what I can do in the gym to 45 minutes on a Watt Bike, racing some German pro-cyclist on an interval DVD.
For a few weeks beforehand I’d been telling myself to work through it and if I could just reach my time in California I could have a good rest and it would be okay and I’d be back to full fitness.
Instead, my pig-headed ignorance and inability to just appreciate the situation and make the most of it led me to making things 5 times worse.
I’m still waiting on the shoulder scan and it looks like an appointment about my knee is now in order.
So if you’re currently struggling with an injury here’s some advice from a lesson learned:
1) If you have a niggle, keep training but if after 7 days it’s no better, take a complete rest for 3-4 days and use the ‘oldie but goodie’ method of Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
2) Return to training but ease into it keeping yourself below 80% work rate and load or ‘training around it’
For instance, if you injure your shoulder making overhead pressing painful, you can still focus on back squats (front squats may aggravate it), rowing movements, chin ups may be okay, abdominal and rotation work, deadlifts, lunge variations, sled drags etc.
This was my plan of action until I twanged something in my knee in a freak stretching incident which is what made things really difficult!
If you suffer a quad injury, focus on your upper body and you may be okay to use machines such as the reverse hyper and glute ham raise, provided the quad isn’t affected in anyway.
There is always stuff you CAN work on and it at least satisfies the mental need for exercise that people like us have.
3) If all feels well, crank it up.
4) If you’re healed and ready to go, go into gorilla mode again and train like a beast.
5) If the niggle is still there, take another rest and go see your favourite therapist, preferably someone who can assess the big picture and identify postural issues which might be causing or at least contributing to the problem.
Most of the time you’ll find that whatever is painful is painful because it’s under stress due to misalignment or issues elsewhere in your kinetic chain.
6) If the problem is still apparent despite rest, stress management and myofascial treatment, I suggest you request a scan to find out if there is something more sinister.
No amount of physiotherapy or massage will solve problems with bursas, serious tears which have resulted in scar tissue build up in hard-to-reach areas or joint capsule damage.
Playing through these problems because you want to just keep moving up what you SEE as the stairs to success, will only lead to a very uncomfortable experience!
Plus you’ll end up regressing rather than making improvements and gains.
Unfortunately my shoulder injury seemed to come and go, and as I am generally a highly positive guy, I focussed on the ‘go’ moments convincing myself it was just a passing thing.
As it turns out it came back with a vengeance and is now here to stay for a while.
So take pain seriously – it’s there for a reason.
If it does come and go, it is because there is a problem and if you continue to power through it because all you can focus on is not losing valuable ‘strength training and muscle building time’ expect a slap in the face sooner or later.
Sometimes you’re climbing the wrong stairs or you’re advised to enjoy the results you’ve got so far, take some time out then progress again.
Call it a rest, call it a reload, call it chilling out.
Either way constantly trying to rise and rise and rise just won’t work.
It’s not a straight line.
What you need to do may not be IDEAL with regards to your bigger goal, but it will be the OPTIMAL in that moment.
Life, the human body and training is a dynamic process so don’t get locked in and feel you have to stick to the plan or you will fail.
Often a zig-zag or side-step is a positive requirement for long-term progress.
Don’t open the door to the gym one day and come face to face with Cess.
You’ll reach the true top of the stairs when you take a break at certain parts, rather than tripping and falling down a few flights having to start again.
The fact is, hard training and sport will result in niggles, aches and pains except for the very rare few.
Knowing how to manage this and being in tune with your own body is the key to success.
And believe me, this is a very difficult game to play so have patience!
It will get you down, it will be hard, you’ll feel like you’re slipping back.
It is what it is.
You’ll be back and 3-4 weeks out of your 80 year journey won’t matter one bit.