🏃🏻‍♂️ Exercise Priority

In late February, I re-injured my bicep tendon when working out. The pain is in the front of my shoulder where the tendons can get impinged. It's a dull, constant pain, and I lose strength for any pushing motions.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the day after I initially hurt it again, I made it worse by lifting, and then by going to two BJJ classes later in that week. I think a part of me was in denial.

The mental toll of this re-injury has been difficult. I wanted so badly to get into a solid routine with BJJ, but everything was halted before it began.

Fool me twice, shame on me…

I had this injury last year (about this same time) due to overuse of my bicep tendon from a rigorous weight-lifting routine. It knocked me out of all activities for 2–3 months, and I had to give up Muay Thai altogether. Actually, that’s what led me to start BJJ. I didn't do any physical therapy. I just rested, and then slowly started to do things like push-ups as time went on.

I’ve stopped doing any of my normal activities again, but this time I’m doing things a little different. I’m taking a more active role in my recovery so that I can strengthen my body in a way to prevent this from happening again:

Each week, I’ll assess how things are going. I can say that so far, I feel a noticeable improvement in the injury. It’s still there, but definitely not as pronounced as it was at the beginning. This is encouraging. Over the next two or three weeks, I’ll slowly increase the length of my physical therapy workouts to see how it holds up.

Going forward, I am completely changing the way that I work out.

The second (more important) part of my recovery is changing my entire outlook on working out so that this doesn't happen anymore.

For my entire life, I’ve always enjoyed pushing my body in various ways. Whether it was with HIIT workouts, or weightlifting, I tried to maximize the time spent. This often meant increasing the intensity.

As I am now middle-aged, I see that these workouts have a greater possibility of causing injury. Possibly due to the intensity and the frequency.

Funny thing is: I don’t even enjoy these kinds of workouts. I do them out of habit more than anything. What I really enjoy are athletic pursuits, like BJJ.

Work out to support my hobby.

Instead of working out to look good, or because it’s the “healthy thing to do”, my focus is now to simply support my ability to do BJJ. This means that I’ll only do some light resistance training on my off days, with the primary goal of strengthening and supporting my body for BJJ class. That’s it.

In addition, I will incorporate specific rest and recovery days (massage and acupuncture). I think this will help me to build a better mind & body connection. My mind has been 25, but my body 39. That disconnect has resulted in these frustrating injuries.

As shitty as this injury recurrence has been, I think the lessons learned will mean that I will enter my forties with solid health & fitness habits that are centered around enabling me to progress in BJJ.


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