Don’t Get Hurt, Get Better!

“Pain From Exercise Should Not Be Expected Nor Accepted”   

— Active Life RX

I am proud to say that five years into my CrossFit journey I have never had to take more than a couple of days off due to injury or overuse.  As long as you exclude a three-week period I had to take it easy after I nearly broke my foot kicking a box because I was unhappy with my performance in a WOD (something Broder will never let me live down).

Having boasted about my lack of injury, I am well aware that these things do happen. With over 40,000 exercise hours each year at Alchemy we are bound to encounter some bumps along the way.  The bumps that really bother the coaching staff are the ones that are preventable, however.

Here are some preventive measures to take that I believe will ensure you have 365 pain-free days in 2018!

“Great coaches will impact the way you live as much as the ways you lift”

— Active Life RX

In my biased opinion, our coaching staff is great. Please give us a chance to prove that by communicating with us consistently. Communication with your coach each day is the number one way to remain injury-free in the gym. Here’s an example of an exchange that has become all too familiar to me.

Student: *massages shoulder in between overhead strength work*

Me: “Hey Clancy/Shirley/Juan etc.. how are you doing? Is your shoulder bothering you?”

Student: “Nope! It always just hurts a little when I put it over my head.  It has been doing it for years.”

Me: *inserts face into palms*

This is not normal.  It is not because of your age.  It is not some weird shoulder quirk you were born with or inherited from your grandmother.  Granted, anatomy does play a role in range of motion but there is a healthy way to work on everything. There is a way to adjust, improve or alter everything we do each day to put you on the road to becoming pain-free. There is homework to be done, things to avoid, and practitioners to see.  If anything does not feel right mention it to your coach and let us help you!

“Long workouts need short warm-ups.  Short workouts need long warm-ups.”

— Active Life RX

You should be sweating before you start your workout or begin a lift. Each day we program a warmup that moves from general to specific and will prep you for your day of movement.  Show up on time, get after it, and make sure you check off these two boxes.

1. Did my core temperature go up (am I literally warm)?

2. Did I move every joint that I will be using today?

This will be one of my personal goals as a coach for 2018: holding people accountable to make sure nobody stands waiving a PVC pipe around and has a 10-minute conversation when they should be warming up.

“The purpose of exercise is not to become fit. It is to be able to do the things that fit people can do.”

— Active Life RX

I love competitive CrossFit. It is what drew me to this world originally, and the CrossFit Open makes me feel like a kid at Christmas. However, most of us we are never going to compete in the CrossFit Games and have zero aspirations to do so.  But most of us do aspire to play baseball in the summer, go for long hikes along trails and confidently go swimming with our kids, among hundreds of other normal day-to-day activities.  So when you come into the gym to work out each day approach each WOD with consideration. Sometimes it is better to work for quality rather than working for time.  Personally my mentality has switched from “how can I move faster?” to “how can I move better”.  Does the shift in focus mean I don’t get a good workout in?  Absolutely not.  In fact, a lot of times it doesn’t even mean I go slower.  It just means I am no longer focused on my reps, my time or who I can beat on the board as much as I am focused on moving as flawlessly as possible. There are still lots of days when a benchmark workout comes up, or a workout that I feel is very much in my wheelhouse where I test myself, but those are days are certainly less than 50% of the time.  This shift in approach is a game-changer as it allows me to rest responsibly and keep my movement intelligent.  The end result?  I am still getting better after 5 years.

“Remember to Have Fun”

— Active Life RX


Duncan McNeill is a coach and co-owner of Alchemy CrossFit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get fit from home!