I honestly don’t think we hear that enough as athletes. We hear “push yourself!” “One more rep!” “Mind over matter!” Now don’t get me wrong, those are all very important things to do.
However, there comes a time in every athlete’s life when we need to take a step back and evaluate if we are really taking care of ourselves! Are we listening to our bodies? Are we evaluating how we really are feeling? Recently, I had a knee injury and I ignored it. I did everything I could to press on. I got a knee sleeve, I used all sorts of oils and rub on to try and mask the pain. I kept pushing myself in the box. More weight, more reps, harder, faster.
The pain kept getting worse until I couldn’t ignore it. It got to the point that every day activities would cause incredible pain. Stairs became nearly impossible for me to climb. It was the hardest thing for me to admit that I might need to take a step back. This meant not lifting heavy, not pushing myself as hard and slowing down. I had this internal struggle wanting to continue pushing hard and yet also wanting my knee to heal so I wouldn’t be in pain.
Let me be the first to tell you, it is okay to take a step back and let your body heal. It doesn’t mean that you are weak or not trying hard enough. It means you are taking care of yourself. You are taking time to heal your body so that you can get back to pushing yourself hard and hitting personal records. As an athlete, I don’t think we are told this enough.
Now don’t just use this as an excuse to get out of working out, but also don’t be afraid to take a stand for your body. The coaches and staff aren’t going to know you are in pain if you don’t tell them.
DON’T ASSUME they know! Scale when you need to. Take time off when you need to. Let’s take care of our bodies. They are the only ones we get and as much as working hard in the gym helps our bodies, it can also have the adverse effect if we aren’t careful! Go to the spa, get a massage, take a day off and mentally be okay with pulling back a little bit! Let’s take care of our bodies so we can be fierce athletes and competitors!