Updated: Apr 16, 2021
Going through my Achilles rupture and post-surgery healing process was one of the biggest crap blessings of my life...
crap blessing noun /krap bles-iNG/
: thing that happens to you and you feel like you don't know how you'll even get through it, and it absolutely sucks at the time, but you do get through it of course, and then you are thankful for the experience because of how much you learned and grew from it. origin: Cassandra gibberish
...you know -- a crap blessing! Anyway, it was a psychological roller coaster. I struggled daily with making sure I was doing what I could, and not giving up or having a bad attitude because I was not where I wanted to be. It was tough.
Going through that, though, left me with a much improved sense of understanding and empathy for people who are experiencing or have experienced similar kinds of things in their lives. And I'm grateful for that. It 100% has made me a better trainer, a better coach, and a better human.
I'm writing this blog post though, because I've had a few conversations lately with people who have just straight up thrown towel.
a former athlete experiences an injury and gives up sports all together
an older lady who used to move with ease, simply nixing anything having to do with movement now because it doesn't come easily like it used to
a crossfitter who has a temporary issue and just plain stops showing up to the gym because they can't "RX" their workouts anymore. (I have been guilty of that mindset before myself!)
And none of these people meant to! Nor are they happy about where they are now because of it...
Stuff like that happens to all of us on some level. It happens often, really. But it's how we move through it that matters most. How we deal with it that decides the longevity of our good health or makes or breaks our relationship with a healthy lifestyle.
Whether it's fear, shame, frustration, uncertainty, lack of knowledge, lack of confidence...these are all very real feelings which can make people completely give up on themselves. Giving up results in losing what they've built because a temporary situation throws them a curve ball. Allowing that mindset to persist results in missing out on increasingly more things they love just because they feel they can no longer do them at the same level. Which results in a potential downward spiral of couch-potato-ness, basically.
Look, I get it. It sucks. It's frustrating. You get angry. You feel bummed out. You got your cranky pants sinched on tight and you're having a hard time feeling any different kind of way because they're cutting off the circulation or something. Like I said, those are some legit feelings. Just because I'm telling you to move through them doesn't mean you shouldn't acknowledge how very real they are. You're not alone in feeling them and eventually they will pass. Know that.
However, if any of this is ringing true for you, listen to me...
Cut it out.
It's important not to limit yourself based on where you think you should be, and truly just focus on where you are now. The rest will come.
You can't stand up to do a workout right now? Ok. You've got arms, dontcha? Get a super ripped upper body until you're back on your feet. You're stuck in bed for the next few weeks because of reason A, B or C? No workouts at all?? You can still control your nutrition. Work on that! Do research. Learn. You will never again be able to do movement X, Y or Z? Ever? Ok. Pivot! Change your goals. Find something new to love. Start grinding on that journey instead. I know all of this is easier said than done in practice. But I DO get it. I've been there. I couldn't do a crap-ton of stuff when I was down for the count! So I made sure my eating was dialed in. I worked on my business when I was couch-bound. And the moment I was cleared for physical therapy (after I got done being scared sh!%le$$ by that...) I was like, "ankle stretches?? Hell yeah! I'm gonna do the best ankle stretches ever!" A couple weeks later, "I get to "heel-toe" walk on a treadmill?? Omg, I am going to heel-toe the crap outta that treadmill!!!!" Again, it took a while to get to that mental state -- it's not an overnight thing. That's normal! And some days were better than others. Some days I felt sorry for myself and wondered if I'd ever be under a barbell again. But more often than not, to quote my girl Scarlett O'Hara, I'd be all, "I won't think about that today -- I'll think about that tomorrow", and just did what I could as well as I could.
What I'm saying is -- clearcut takeaway here -- "can't" was not an option. It's not an option for you. These setbacks are simply crap blessings in disguise that will help you grow in ways you can't even see right now. Stay the course. Or carve yourself a new one. You CAN!
Cassandra R. Bradin is a certified personal trainer who is passionate about the essential idea of longevity in training, creating programs that enhance function, mobility, strength and internal well-being. She specializes in weight loss, Olympic weightlifting, nutrition, and fitness for seniors. With a full-time career in fitness, when she's not working with clients in her studio or coaching, Cassandra enjoys spending time on her mini farm in Oakland, MI.