You aren’t ‘going to war’, or entering ‘beast mode’. You don’t need to ‘suck it up now’, you can eat junk food every now and then, if people are calling you obsessed then you may just be and if ‘you’re already in pain’ then you should probably just stop.
As the fitness industry continues to evolve into a sprawling online community, the culture of ‘pain’ is becoming more and more prevalent.
Whereas logic would dictate that, once injured you stop exercising, we are consistently being bombarded with people telling us that we should persevere and push through the pain in order to reap the life affirming results.
And what for?
We all act like professional athletes, without salaries, fans, agents, insurance policies or anything that matters.
The dirty little secret every one seems to forget is that nobody cares if you hoisted more weight for more reps, or completed a WOD in less time than expected.
You may get a high five, or a moment of internet stardom as the video of you painstakingly completing ‘Fran’ with a torn rotator cuff canvasses the internet, but the next day you’ll still need to wake up and get dressed, which may be hard with that torn rotator cuff, and go to work where they won’t give a damn if you hurt yourself exercising if you can’t get those reports on Johnson’s desk by 10am.
(Yes, every boss in the history of business is called Johnson… deal with it.)
When LeBron James played in the Capital Classic All-Star game in 2003, as a High School student, he was insured for $10 million dollars.
Even if his knee exploded, forcing him to become a dentist instead of a future Hall of Fame NBA player, he would still have $10 million dollars sitting in the bank.
If you blew out your knee completing Cindy, or Elizabeth, your gym wouldn’t give you a dime. Work would tolerate your absence for a time, but once your sick leave dissipates you’ll either need to limp back into work, or suffer unemployment.
They won’t care that you did it completing an epic Chelsea, smashing your PB before realising your tibia was protruding from your shin.
A recent study(1) of 132 people showed that Crossfitters are actually no more prone to injury than Olympic weight lifters, Power Lifters and Gymnastics, with an injury occurring in approximately 74% of participants, 7% of those requiring surgical intervention.
I would expect that if this study was extrapolated, accounting for those Crossfitters who train, headphones blaring, in their own commercial gym, the rate of injury would increase due to the culture of train through the pain that the fitness movement perpetuates.
Kevin Oger now finds himself in the most awful of predicaments.
As a Crossfit coach and an amateur competitor, he faces medical bills that may reach up into the hundreds of thousands, the likely loss of his career, his livelihood and his passion, Crossfit, yet all that pales when we consider that he may never walk again.
And what for?
A better finishing time than the person next to him? A pseudo-macho display of his testicular fortitude? Because he didn’t want to ‘let down’ those people cheering him on? So that he could smash his chest at the end and declare himself the best in an event that nobody really cares about? Did he want the privilege of having his name inscribed on a board, only to be erased months later when his time was beaten? Or the right to boast about it on social media so a few people could ‘like’ his post?
You aren’t a pro athlete, so stop acting like it
Richard Froning could perform a handstand pushup, whilst sculling a beer, beating you in a game of darts and doing a leg press all at the same time.
If he retired tomorrow, due to injury or disinterest, he could also live comfortably for the remainder of his life thanks to sponsorship deals, prize winnings and a coaching career that would no doubt be booming.
LeBron James could blow out his knee tomorrow and have all the athleticism of Charles Barkley when he gets schooled by those kids in Space Jam when the Monstars steal his basketball skillz, and still his children’s children would never have to work again.
At the end of March, Kevin Ware, a basketball player at the University of Louisville, suffered what may be the most horrific injury in college basketball history as his shin bone broke the skin, forcing paramedics to cover it with a blanket and players, coaches and spectators started throwing up at the sight of the injury.
He was uninsured, as was Kevin Oger, and millions of other ‘athletes’ who are enduring injuries for the sake of ‘their sport’, and now will need to live with the realisation that his pro career will never happen.
A final thought
You’re standing in your backyard, your young child/nephew/niece/grandchild/god child/cousin/random kid from next door that sneaks into your yard to eat the apricots off your tree is looking up at you, all big and doe eyed, wanting to play ‘rocket ship’- you know, that game where you toss them up into the air, then catch them on the way down…
…but you can’t, because you just finished Angie and, midway through, you felt something tear in your lower back but kept going anyway because you didn’t want to let down those people on social media who don’t really care anyway…
…so now you need to look at the kid’s innocent face, and say no…
… all because you needed to ‘go beast mode on that workout’ and ‘suck it up, so you could benefit later’.