Throughout your fitness journey, or just life in general, there are always going to be obstacles. One has to realize that to accomplish any goal in life its never going to be a linear progression to the top. I personally believe that our struggles make us stronger. Recently I had a big set back with my fitness journey and its one of the main reasons why I won’t be competing this summer. My challenge was overcoming an injury to both of my shoulders.
I impinged and possibly toreboth of my shoulders back when I first started lifting weights. I knew something was wrong, but I never said anything about it. Over time my shoulders got worse and worse. The pain got so bad that I couldn’t sit in class to take a test without having a sharp pain in my shoulders. I couldn’t even sleep at night because if I was in a position for too long my shoulders would cramp up. Others around me saw that I was in pain and finally encouraged me to see a physical therapist. I ended up seeing two different physical therapists in my recovery process, which both used different techniques. One worked more with her hands and focused on getting my joints mobile. The other physical therapists did dry needling and also showed me a ton of rehab exercises.
This all happened a few months after my first bikini competition. I knew this shoulder injury was going to be a huge set back with wanting to compete the following year. My upper body is already my weak point and I have a lot of growing that needs to be done, especially my shoulders. I was told that I needed time off from lifting with my upper body and to beginphysical therapy. My overall health is way more important than competing in a bodybuilding competition, so I made the decision to take two full years off from the stage.
This injury was not a quick or easy fix. It took about six months before I felt recovered.I had good days in the gym and also bad. Some days I would go past my limitations with my exercises and would feel it the next day or even that very night. I just had to keep reminding myself to keep focusing on the positive, and even if it’s small improvements, it’s still progress. It got very frustrating at times don’t get me wrong, but I had to focus on what I could control at the time. For me during my shoulder injury I focused on my leg growth, hitting them three times a week.
I overcame this injury by staying consistent…consistent with my stretches, warm ups, posture, and exercises. At first I had to completely stop training upper body for about 6 weeks and focus on strengthening my trapezius muscles and stabilizing my scapula. Over time I realized that staying mobile made me feel better. Working my back actually made my shoulders hurt less and I felt better on those days. I learned to work around my injury by doing movements in the gym that felt pain free. If I began to perform any exercise that hurt my shoulders I would stop immediately. I realized how important posture is and that had a huge impact on healing my shoulders. While I am sitting in class, on the computer, or even on my phone I am always aware of having appropriateposture.
Nothing in life is easy and there are always going to be curve balls thrown at us. I was still able to focus on what I could control and that was making progress in other muscle groups at the time.Now Igreatly appreciate what I can do in the gym. I can finally overhead press and also train my chest again. I was blessed that my injury was only to my shoulders because it could have been worse. Regardless of what happens in your life,whether it’s an injury where you are prevented from training the way you want or changes in your personal life,you can’t let that stop you from achieving your goals. An injury is not an excuse to stop everything.You can still work around them, still hit your macronutrients, and still stay on track. In the end overcoming this injury was a great learning experience and I am now more motivated than ever to grow my upper body.