Strongman Training

5 Stages of Strongman Grief: Injury Edition

I promised you guys a post on what’s in my gym bag this week. Truth is, I’m not really in the mood to go over all of the things I can’t use in the coming weeks. I found out I have a herniated disk, and I’m kind of annoyed. I know I’m not a fancy sportsman at an elite level. I get that, but my sport is important to me, it’s what gets me moving every day. So instead of going over my stupid gym bag full of goodies that help me lift heavy things with grand ambition, (Can you feel the tension in my tone?), I’m sharing with you my 5 Stages of Strongman’s grief. Is that a thing? Well, I’m making it a thing.

Shock and denial

Qu-est ce que f*ck? I’ve had tightness in my lower back for a long time. It’s not uncommon for anyone who trains this sport, or any sport for that matter, to have aches and pains along the way, so I shrugged it off and assumed it would run its course. I added a little more stretching to my regimen and held each position with intention. Admittedly a little extra MobileU would do the trick, and I’d be up and at it in no time. When things got rough, I had a few cupping sessions done with Susan over at QuestPTS, and always walked out feeling hopeful that tomorrow would be a better day. Every time the feeling would creep back I would just assume that I hadn’t appropriately stretched, and I’d hit the mat. You can imagine my dismay when the chiro examined me and announced that it was more than just a wound up the knot.


Pain and Guilt

Ouch! The pain is kind of obvious. It comes from some jackassery along the way. Maybe I wasn’t lifting correctly. Perhaps I’ve overtrained some events. Whatever the case is, it hurts like a bitch, and I’m tired of struggling to put on my underwear. I feel guilty that I didn’t listen to my body earlier. Maybe there were indications along the way that I needed to take a break. Perhaps I was selfish, and only thinking of my ego. I mean who wants to go from 150 lbs per hands on a farmer’s carry, down to a couple of 25 lbs kettlebells? Not this lady. I fancy the idea of being Wonder Woman, but it’s just a state of mind. I’m hardly indestructible or full of superpowers, no matter how much coffee I drink. Is it because I wore all of the gear? Not enough gear? Did I bring thing upon myself? ARGH! No. I didn’t ask for this. Certainly, there’s no reason to feel guilty about it. It’s such a useless emotion.

Anger and bargaining

Pretty please, coach! When the Dr. gave me the news, and I walked out of her clinic, I was pissed. Who does she think she is telling me that I’m broken? She’s a doctor, Karine. A damn doctor. Ugh. I immediately texted my coach and told him the news. I’ve only recently started working with Sam. He’s super knowledgeable, full of experience and such a great teacher. I was hoping to hear him say I would be up and at it in no time. Wrong. Can’t I just squat a little bit? Super light. I promise. Nope. But I can press from the rack, right? Hmmm. Not just yet. What if I promise to…Nope. Whatever then. I’ll just sign up for Zumba and call it a day. Oh, and I’m not picking on Zumba…except that I totally am. Only because I don’t do well with group fitness, and I feel like Zumba is probably still one of the most significant group fitness trends. Please don’t hate me. Do you if you love Zumba. Seriously. Do it! But please don’t ask me to. The only time I shake my money maker on any floor is at family gatherings or awkward girls night out events where I whip out my signature airplane move. Oy. That’s a post on its own.

Reconstruction and work

20171119_170340You want me to do what? You should see the bullshit exercises they want me to do to heal this. Body weight this, kettlebell that. Blah! Can’t someone just step on my back, knock shit back into place so I can go clean a log? Nope. Okay, fine. I’ll do the yoga poses a million times a day, but I won’t like it. Not one little bit. And in the meantime coach is adjusting my plan so I can keep moving to stay the path on this whole cutting weight business. If I want to compete in the weight category below next season, there’s still so much work to be done. So, while all I want to do is eat an extra large pizza and drink all of the Shiraz on the East coast to ease my sorrows, it can’t be done. Nobody said this would be easy, so I need to pull up my granny panties and do this. Even if it is just one slow painful leg at a time.

Acceptance and hope

Fine. I’m fine. Let’s just fix this. Despite my ranting, I am coming to terms with the fact that I need to make some adjustments to my training. It’s not the end of the world. The season doesn’t start until the Spring, and I have plenty of time to heal and continue gaining strength. I’m lucky it happened in the off-season, and that I won’t be missing out. One of my favourite Strongmen, Brian Alsruhe, aka NEVERSATE, just had to take a step back from a major event because of his injury. I’m sure it was devastating, but he totally owns it. Continuing with whatever training he can while waiting for surgery, and making a plan for his comeback. So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m really focusing on my nutrition, taking the time away from the gym to focus on my studies, and even planning to do something exciting and completely out of my comfort zone in the New Year. Hooray for being ambitious! Right?


This may not be every Strongman or Strong-WO-man’s process of grief over injury, but it indeed has been mine. Like everything else in life, we need to take the good and the bad as it comes. There really is no use in complaining about it. We just need to make a plan and execute it. And that’s what I’m going to do.

Coffee count: Another 10 points if you managed to get through all of my rambling.+5 if you comment below and tell me how you’ve overcome an obstacle in your life. Physical or otherwise. Lord knows I could use the advice.


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