Listen to your Body?
If you lived long enough you've had some sort of injury. If you train hard and compete, eventually you’re going to get hurt. Most of us have experienced torn ligaments, tendonitis, ruptured lumbar discs, sprains, strains, muscle spasms, broken bones, and reconstructive or corrective surgery at some point in our athletic careers (we hope against but sometimes it just happnes).
As athletes (competitive & noncompetitive), we live to “do our thing” whether it be running, combat sport, Crossfit, powerlifting, baseball, basketball, football, golf, etc. We do it to get out of our head and experience that “flow” state as described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi the author of: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. The state where there is nothing but the present moment and pure focus on our mastered activity.
You’ll know when you feel it!
As athletes, we walk a fine line of pushing ourselves to the max, and blowing out in injury. We know that growth and performance improvement happens outside our comfort zone. We push, strain and struggle and the stress response results in growth. Until we push too hard and something snaps, our form fails, our body breaks.
High-level training brings high-level confidence. High confidence leads us to believe we are good. Maybe even great. When we’re good and great, it’s natural to want to test ourselves in competition by pursuing a PR or crush an opponent (remember the goal of training is to push your body to become an unbreakable human out of the gym. If you get injured in the gym or practice your are going backwards with your training not forward).
A healthy ego gives us the confidence to challenge ourselves to do more. Ego fuels the fire to endure what we need to reach our goal. We know the pain is temporary. On the flip side, ego can play a big part in whether or not we injure ourselves.
The unhealthy ego leads us to say we should attempt feats beyond our reach.
In my 20’s my ego pushed me to ignore the pain in my shoulder and play through it, thus resulting in my career ending injury. When your body is achy or a movement is no longer easy or feels incorrect; listen to these signs. Ignoring these signs can only lead to more time off the mat, field, course or gym floor. The achy and pain you feel is similar to your check engine light in your car, once the light comes on find a mechanic, the same is true for your body, find a body mechanic.
“You have the right as a human to live pain free but when you ignore the signs of an injury you are giving up that right”