Self Maintenance vs. Self Repair

You love fitness, strangely enough most doctors don’t relate. Largely because of the social gap between CrossFit athletes and their selected health professionals, we as a community have moved away from traditional information sources like orthopedics, chiropractors, and physical therapists in favor of finding refuge in the advice from a knowledgeable coach, or a professional we only have the opportunity to meet digitally. While there is some great knowledge out there on the web, and there are some extremely knowledgeable coaches in gyms across the world, there is one thing that all coaches are missing in their toolbox that it is imperative you have at your disposal, and that is an extensive background in diagnostics. You could probably make the case that over 80% of the time, the mild aches and pains that you or your friends are experiencing every day are sub threshold for visiting a doctor, and you would be right most of the time. We do have the basic capacity to maintain ourselves by momentarily reducing intensity, volume, or frequency. We can modify movements to allow inflammation to reduce, and we can spend significant time focusing on increasing our quantity and quality of motion using many of the exercises demonstrated in this video as well as thousands of others. But what if you’re in the 20% this time and you try to maintain yourself when what you really need is repair from a health professional? Our rule of thumb is that if what you are experiencing is getting worse from day to day, rest is advised, 14 days is the absolute maximum amount of time that general rest should take for a problem that you would not need to see a health professional for. If after 14 days you are still feeling lousy, you do not return to the gym with modified patterning because you “just couldn’t stay away anymore.” You go see a professional who can help you figure out why you are still symptomatic. This of course only relates to musculoskeletal issues, if you are having internal issues or headaches you should be seeing a medical doctor right away.

So, what can you do to help yourself? Be vigilant and hold yourself accountable. If you are hurting and you are working out too much, rest. Remember you can only support your work load if you are eating, sleeping, recovering properly and deliberately. When you get back in the gym, make sure you are at least as focused on improving your quantity and quality of movement as you are focused on hitting a PR this month. Have measurable movement goals like “I want to touch my toes”, or “I want to get to the bottom of a squat without my back rounding”, and set ways for yourself to measure progress! The more you focus on yourself when you are not in the gym, the more likely you will be successful obtaining the goal you are seeking out in the gym.

Let’s get movin’!

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