03 Aug Expectations vs. Reality: Injuries and Health
‘Twas a mild, overcast spring afternoon and I’d just returned home after a 12 week trip in the European continent. I was looking forward to ridding some of that excess fat that I’d gained overseas being a tourist and not doing all that much exercise other than hiking/walking. So, I hit a lower body strength session in the morning, ate one meal, and was now undertaking some sprints at the local sportsground, with already six in the bag.
Reminiscing upon the pizza in Italy, I decided to get one more sprint in. So, I got into position for a seventh and final sprint.
As I took off, and within the first three to four strides, a snapping sound brought me hopping to a standstill. I tried not to think the worse of it, gathering my water and keys, and making my way to my car. But as I hobbled away from the site, the pain kicked in alongside the realization that something bad had just happened.
The physiotherapist the next day confirmed my suspicions, hitting me with a grade two hamstring tear prognosis, disallowing me from engaging in all the usual exercises and movements that I enjoyed, like deadlifts, squats, and jujitsu.
A minor injury indeed, but one of many that I have sustained during my short 27-odd rotations around the Sun. And with roughly eight or so weeks to wait for my range of motion to begin to return, it was frustrating to say the least that I was now restricted from so much, when all I wanted to do was impatiently get back to where I was before I flew away.
Is Prevention The Best Cure?
In my line of work, I get to meet a lot of people. From young to old, from history of injuries to a clean slate, and everything in between. I may sound a little weird, but injuries and pre/post-surgery clients are some of my favourite cases to work with.
Maybe because of the challenge, or maybe because of the confidence on offer to give people that believe the worst when it comes to their health and capabilities. Prevention, without complete focus upon it, is certainly the number one approach when it comes to getting yourself or your clients moving and feeling their best for years to come.
When it comes to injuries, putting on weight, losing it, there are always a myriad of factors and reasons that lead to the result. Pinpointing exact things is sometimes impossible as it’s not always that one specific moment that causes the injury, like the stories of people bending over to pick up a pen and their back giving out, but rather the years and years before the pen incident that lead to the injury.
For me, my chain of events that possibly lead to me tearing my hamstring could easily have consisted of one or more of the following:
⊗ A harsh caloric deficit
⊗ Intense training
⊗ Muscle fatigue from the session in the morning
⊗ Neural fatigue from the session in the morning
⊗ Low strength and/or fitness level
These types of factors seem to come into play fairly often when an injury is sustained. And with roughly 168 hours in a week, and eight or so of them being dedicated to controlled-styled training, a large chunk of those hours is always on offer for us to inflict damage upon ourselves.
The Microwave Generation
There’s no doubt that as our population grows and ages, we are slowly morphing into more of a microwave generation every single day. From downloading shows to seeking out rapid weight loss fixes, even waiting for something to heat up in an actual microwave is a luxury we have these days, and something we all still can get impatient over.
Our attention spans are dwindling, our patient levels diminishing, and when it comes to our health, it’s no different.
If chemists came out tomorrow with a pill that promised instant health, no matter how injured or beat up we were, it would be hard not to expect that people would stop at anything to buy a few packs. I know I would.
These days however, for clients that I work with that are trying to lose weight, there are always weeks and weeks of battling with the reality that results that are assured to us by infomercials and shows like The Biggest Loser, are not what they seem.
While massive drops in weight may be possible to obtain if following a highly-restrictive diet and being closed off from the world, the reality of the situation is that these types of scenarios do not provide an ideal chain of events that lead to people keeping the weight off for good. If they’ve been overweight for five years, for instance, then an additional five years may be the time it takes to lose that weight and keep it off. Forever.
Which is certainly not me saying that it will and always does take that amount of time, but the expectation that the weight can be lost and kept off, all whilst changing their mentality and understanding during the course of a 12-week challenge, is ludicrous to say the least.
Of course there are exceptions to this scenario, but for the majority of the time, the reality of the situation comes down to proper patience, guidance, and dedication. Which doesn’t always sit well with the microwave generation.
The same goes for the expectation as to what people are capable of. Maybe you feel great one day, maybe you feel like you can take on seven sprints after not training consistently for a while, running on a low calorie diet, and performing a lower body strength routine in the morning. But in reality, the factors leading up to the moment, can combine and create a less-than-ideal situation.
Expectations vs. Reality
In my line of work, I get to meet and work with a lot of people that are sick of where they’re at, sick of their abilities, sick of what they can’t do, sick of the pain they’re in. I get to see people getting frustrated with it all, their expectations and perceptions being constantly warped by friends, family, social media, reality TV shows.
When taking a step back from the situation, much like you can too, and when we look at the reality of the situation, we can see that they are doing far more than the majority of people do. They’re working hard to be the best versions of themselves. They’re doing things that they simply couldn’t do if they just chose to stay at home every night and watch TV or sleep in every morning. Much like you can too.
Of course everyone could avoid injury, weight gain, weight loss, health, fitness, fear, embarrassment, awkwardness, being uncomfortable, just by staying home in a bubble, only eating lettuce and tuna and watching re-runs of M*A*S*H, but what would be the point in that?
Wouldn’t it just be a little bit of a waste of a life to not try to be the best version of yourself through trial and error, knowledge and insight, failures and growth?
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The Road To The Trophy Part II: Surgery, Psychology and The Industry
My First Proper Public Speaking Gig
The Life Of An NPC
The Rare Inherited Disease No One Talks About II
The Matrix of Life