Change Creates Change
Change things up from the ordinary to keep your muscles and mindset challenged
If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you may have heard me talk about my foot injury a couple months ago. Long story short…I dropped a 45-pound plate on my foot and it hasn’t been the same since. It was the beginning of contest prep time and although the pain, swelling and bruising was bad, the X-Ray showed no broken bones so I decided to figure out a way to work around it. (Believe it or not it’s been close to two months and it’s still swollen and painful but I’m on the mend and it’s way more manageable now) Anyway, it was definitely not the best timing for this to happen but there is a silver lining! Prep is going really well now and I’ve been seeing the benefits of the changes I was forced to make in order to accommodate my foot and stay on track with my program. I had to get pretty creative with my leg workouts and cardio.
Cardio was the biggest challenge. I was mostly sprinting and doing plyos but that was definitely out of the question with the injured foot. I tried switching to the bike because I found that the stiff sole of the cycle shoe kept my foot in place and didn’t cause more pain as long as I didn’t put too much pressure on it. I’m finally able to return to most of my previous workouts, but I’ve really grown to enjoy my cycle workouts again and I still throw them in a few times per week to shake things up a bit. If there is a bright side to this injury it’s that I made some changes and it didn’t hold me back, instead I think it really helped push me through a plateau.
We all know that we need to challenge ourselves often, but it’s very easy to get comfortable in a routine and just “float” without even realizing it. This is exactly what was happening to me, so I guess you could say I needed this to force me to do some things differently. Our muscles are smart! It was a good reminder that in order to improve, you need to continually challenge and change what you're doing. They will adapt after doing the same exercises over and over again and you will reach a point where you're no longer feeling the benefits of your exercise session.
So, change it up every few weeks and do something different. If you're out running or biking, try going at a different pace, adding intervals, hills or distance. When you're doing weight-bearing exercises, try increasing your weight, reps or sets. Keep fooling your muscles so that they need to keep adapting and you'll continue feeling the benefits.
Sometimes we need those curve balls that life throws us. In any life situation (not just exercise) instead of giving up or falling into the “why me” syndrome, keep smiling, make some changes, and adapt. Somehow you will always land on your feet.