Growth: While there are many definitions, one defines it as the “Development from a lower or simpler to a higher or more complex form; evolution.”
The thing about growth is that while it is often beautiful it is also a process, sometimes and most often, a never ending process. This process is sometimes fun, sometimes exciting, sometimes scary, and can be often painful. And while it usually occurs over time, it is rarely linear. Sometimes in life we take one step ahead only to end up falling two steps back. This can be ok if we get back up and continue stepping ahead. Sometimes we take several steps forward, and one unplanned step back - but the beauty is that we will still be 2 steps ahead, and continue stepping forward once again. However, sometimes we recognize the need to purposefully take one or two steps backwards in order to get two or twenty steps ahead.
My thoughts today are focused solely on the last scenario, taking an intentional step back. While this is a concept often used in the business or career world, today I am applying the importance of this concept in the world of our personal health/fitness. In the world of health & fitness today, believe it or not, I feel we are indeed experiencing a revolution. There is constantly new and extremely valuable insight and cutting edge information being provided. New understandings of human movement, body mechanics, and muscle dynamics. There is unlimited information provided on how to learn to take care of our own bodies, and take our health/fitness into our own hands safely and effectively. Yet, there are more and more people suffering from long term injuries, strains, aches & pains, and limitations.
Being in the industry of health & fitness I am often amazed at how many people laugh off their pain, or joke about their injuries, choosing to ignore them until they reach a point of no return. Some people are extremely tough and they can still get away with being good performers and good athletes, toughing it out. But the question I find myself constantly asking both myself and others is “ What are your motives? Do you want to do this stuff for NOW?... OR for the rest of your lives? Is this for just being athletic today, or do you want to be healthy for the duration of your life?” Truth is - I know I want to do this s#@! for the rest of my life! I want to move my body in the way God designed it to move until the day I die. I would like to believe that anyone else who is attracted to fitness for the purpose of health would feel the same, call me crazy. However, when we continue to ignore these very obvious signs of dysfunction we are setting ourself up for failure and let eventual let down. If you are one of those ‘tough’ people who can work through the pain, telling yourself it is no big deal - you are wrong - it is a big deal - it just hasn’t expressed itself in a very real way...YET. Kelly Starrett explains that “Pain is often a lagging indicator” meaning that by the time we feel pain we are already screwed - damage is already done.
Now what if you say, “well I don’t feel any pain”... Reference above - as we do not want to wait until we experience the pain - we want to prevent it all together. So if you have information at your fingertips and disposal via external resources or a coach, and you choose to ignore this information doing nothing about it - what are you truly showing your commitment is to? My thoughts - perhaps being bad a$$ today, not worrying about tomorrow. That is fine if it doesn’t misalign with your goals - but please don’t tell yourself your goals are to be “strong” or “fit” or “healthy” and then do nothing to help yourself or help your coach help you when you know there is work to be done.
IF you have obvious mechanical dysfunction in your body and you continue to push through workouts and movements without proper form or set up you risk long term injury at the worst and a plateau at the least. K Star also says that you can have dysfunction - it doesn’t mean you won’t be the fastest or the strongest or the best olympic lifter - but it does mean that you won’t reach your genetic potential. It is not guaranteed you will end up hurt - but to me it’s not even worth the risk. Not when you have the tools to do something about it.
Well the thing is - sometimes to fix ourselves or help ourselves heal or help prevent injury to begin with we have to take a very real step back... and I get it .. this can be scary! What if we gain weight? What if we gain fat? What if we loose our cardiovascular capacity? What if we loose muscle mass? What if we loose raw strength? Sooo many “what if’s? but if you ask me - I would take those “what if’s ANYDAY over “what if I end up needing surgery or have permanent limitations because of chronic pain/injury?
The thing is - we can easily take a step back - heal our bodies, mobilize our stiff and sticky joints and tissues, improve our motor control through proper and safe movement patterns. We can undo old habits and recreate new and healthy habits. IF you ask me - this is stepping forward; it just looks a little different. And, you don’t have to stop working out all together - you just shift your focus for a while.
Maybe you have to reduce load on your squat until you can maintain a neutral organized spine from start to finish on lesser loads. Maybe you shorten your range of motion dead lift while improving your flexibility and mobilize your limited range of motion body parts so you don’t round your back. Maybe you need to be ok w/ body weight pull ups until you can learn to safely and effectively pull yourself up w/o breaking in the spine. Maybe it means adding more time for mobility in your daily routine so that you can get more effective change over shorter span of time. Not to mention, maybe you will have to be willing to endure a different kind of pain than you are used to - a more powerful - positive pain to help you get to a healthier place where you can actually live life and workout pain free.
Take control of your health & fitness today by checking out K Star's M Wods @ www.mobilitywod.com today for a thorough selection of free videos helping everyday people tackle their own restrictions and pain. Schedule your next chiropractic visit today, or maybe a massage. Find a body specialist near you. Inquire about how whether or not your local acupuncturist helps with sport injury. Get serious about your health - laughing off real pain just to hit another workout or lift a few more pounds isn’t worth it. You might look bad ass in the moment - but it doesn’t last long. Fix the problem - no more bandaids. Taper back on the movements you know your body isn’t cut out to do right now and lessen the loads when you know your form sucks. Get supple, relearn the movement the right and safe way, and then flourish. It’s worth it... and remember one step back doesn’t mean you can’t still get twenty steps ahead. <3