Sunday, January 9, 2011

Preparing For my Return to the Gym

In my down time, I spent some time cleaning out part of my room due to sheer boredom. I came across a book I had purchased a while back, Training for Warriors by Martin Rooney. This is a good introductory book for those new to MMA and helps as a guide to get used to the jargon of the sport as well as training techniques commonly used. I would recommend to the novice in the sport as I was, about a year and a half ago, when I purchased it.

I was thumbing through it and came across the section that deals specifically with injuries. I found it odd that this section would pop out, almost as if it were synchronistic, but it had one important part that really hit home for me. It is a strategy for injury that gets the fighter to not only deal with and learn about his/ her injury, but also requires some introspective examination as to how it happened. Honesty is best when dealing with this portion because without it, you will never understand how to avoid reoccurring injuries as a result of poor form/ technique or improper preparation.

Here are the 10 points as presented by Rooney in his "Strategy for Dealing with Injuries" (pg. 282) and the response I gave to each point about my particular injury. (Bold portion taken verbatim from the book and italics is my response)

  1. Accept that the injury has occurred, and move forward. Believe it or not, this part is somewhat difficult for me for 2 reasons: A) I was making some real progress and this set back seems like a real barrier to my  improvement. B) Self doubt about my abilities and aggravation over my habits that lead me to this predicament are rather hard to get rid of. 
  2. Examine how the injury happened so that it never happens again.  In my case this was the result of poor stretching and warm ups. The gym was exceptionally cold that night and required more of a warm up that usual. Considering that I barely did any warm up, I feel that I deserve this. I also need to address my addiction to coffee. Yes, I said coffee. Big whoop you may say, but it is a tough habit for me to kick and it seems to be holding me back. Even though I drink almost a gallon of water a day, it seems as though coffee leaves me dehydrated and causes other nagging muscle aches, particularly in my shoulders and back. I managed to get a shoulder and back injury this weekend while playing with my daughter after my morning coffee. These are minor "pull" types of tweeks, but cause pain none the less.
  3.  Find out all you can about the injury and its rehabilitation. P.R.I.C.E- Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. This has really helped to speed up the recovery from this muscle injury, which had me on crutches three days ago and I am now walking with a minor limp to avoid re-injuring it.
  4. Use every method of rehabilitation that you can get your hands on. I am really focused on PRICE, but am using Advil for pain relief as well as anti-inflammatory.
  5. Be consistent and thorough in your rehab. This is a little tough because when I feel improvement, I tend to treat the injury a little different and take it a little easier.
  6. Find the outlets and determine what training you can do around the injury. I have been doing chin ups, push ups, and core strengthening work.
  7. Focus on areas that you needed to improve pre-injury. (nutrition, mental training, certain body regions, etc.) Hmm. I need to focus on so much. Mental, yes. (I actually got another book for this, but that will be another post) Body, everywhere, but that is just because I am still at the beginning of this journey. But nutrition is the biggest. I am stuck between 175-180 and want to compete at 155 in April. (I am 5'10" for anyone who is wondering) My diet is good, but nowhere near where it needs to be. I take in too many carbohydrates, via fruits and grains, and not nearly enough vegetables. I need to reduce my coffee/caffeine intake, and by reduce I mean get rid of. It stinks that I feel I need a boost of energy and I want to free myself of that.
  8. Don't test the injury while healing and re-irritate it.  OK, that is really hard as well, especially since I am itching to get back in there.
  9. Develop a list of the things that injury is trying to tell you. A) I need to improve my warm up routine. B) I need to train twice a day. (more for reasons of strength and preparation for competition) C) I need better nutrition. D) I need better technique.
  10. Don't forget what you learned from the injury for the future. 10-4, Mr. Rooney. Hopefully this blog serves that purpose.
I am developing an improved training plan to help me breakthrough this plateau and propel me further toward my stated goals, but that will be another post. Thanks for reading.

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