Monday, November 3rd, 2014

5 reasons to STOP TRAINING when you are INJURED (#2 could save your life)

Hmmm. 12 years of fight training has taught me a lot of things.  I guess you could probably even say ‘Everything I needed to learn about life I learned in the DOJO’…lol.  With years of training, in any sport (not just fighting) injury is something we are going to experience.  Now, just so everyone is on the same page…’Injury’ isn’t the same as ‘discomfort’…or a slight ‘pain’ caused by sore muscles after a workout.  Injuries are just that, actual harm that we have done to our body, that our mechanics need to recover, or adapt to.

Since MMA and Fighting is probably the most macho of sports, I will use it as an example, however I have known guys in the NFL, NBA, even professional golfers who have been injured, and decided to ‘train through the pain’ in order to compete.  Sometimes it is external pressure of fans, competition commitments, financial obligations, that force us to train injured–sometimes they are internal pressures “I’m not a p&$$# and can finish this practice”—Whatever the reason for training injured might be, here are 5 reasons why it is better to train smart, than to always be the tough guy.

1. Lets make this a Chronic thing

Hahaha, I’m in California right now, but that doesn’t mean I’m referring to Medical Marijuana…what I’m talking about is Chronic injuries that can be devastating to an athlete.  Things like Shoulder Bursitis, Tendonitis, etc, that can be brought on by constant training and not allowing the body to fully recover in between training sessions.  Having spent years of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training as a guard player, I have a “Chronic” bad back, basically my lower back muscles will begin to spasm and lock up if they are over worked.  Sometimes athletes will take a small injury, and train through it turning it into something that will require surgery. As I get older, I have really learned to listen to my body and often 1 day of resting it will prevent me from having to seek out professional help.

2. Drug Dependency

This might be the deep dark secret of not only MMA, but all of professional sports.  I can not tell you how many guys I have known who booked a fight for a significant payday, and during training camp had an injury that while painful, and may require attention, could make it till after the competition for repairs.  The problem however is the athletes are forced to deal with the pain through medication, which over the course of a 8-12-week training camp, can really develop a dependency for the drug used to treat the injury, long after the injury has disappeared.  I can not begin to tell you how many fighters I have met who took their first pain pill simply to make it through practice, then 2 years later were in rehab after having lost everything do to their dependency.  Sometimes skipping the training session to allow the injury to heal is the better option Vs. being tough and risking your quality of life.

3. Have you seen a Doctor yet?

This would seem like common sense, but honestly sometimes we are too tough and dumb for our own good.  I had an MMA fight back in 2006 where I kept falling to my back after being leg kicked.  At the time I couldn’t figure out why my body was literally giving out and causing me to fall to my back as the crowd began to boo my performance.  Following the fight I was able to limp to the locker room, where after a few pain pills and collecting my fight purse, I walked out to the car and drove home.  The following morning my leg was severely swollen, but I figured it was due to being kicked in the leg, and was just normal swelling.  I remember telling my friends, it can’t be broken…I can wiggle my toes, and I wouldn’t be able to walk if my leg was broken.  Well, as I started taking less pain medicine, I realized the swelling wasn’t really going down, and the pain in my leg was still extreme.  About 10 days after the fight I finally made my way to the Emergency Room, only to discover the leg had been broken, was already starting to heal again–however was not properly lined up, and I was going to need to see a specialist to fix the setting of the fracture.—(Obama Care wasn’t around then…lol…but I still have the medical bills to remind me)

5. But I want a new car!

unfortunately our bodies are not really like cars…and we can not decide to trade it in for a newer model that works better.  Over the years all of those injuries we have accumulated are only going to get tougher to treat.  Knowing that the miles we put on our bodies are here to stay, we need to be smart about training, and allow our bodies to recover, don’t let that tire low on air turn into a flat on the freeway that causes you to crash and total your vehicle.  Listening to your body can help you  save years on your career.


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