Friday, December 20, 2013

Sickness & Crossfit

Well, it could be any form of exercise where you measure your results. But lets just use Crossfit for example. Its my story after all.

When I say sickness, I'm referring to auto-immune sickness. Diseases that involve a remission roller coaster. Sicknesses like a cold, flu, stomach virus are important, but not for this story. When you have a disease that puts you on the on again, off again remission ride, it makes things a little dicey at the gym. My personal story is that I have UC. When I'm in remission its like I'm not even sick. On the other hand, it gets a little complicated when it comes to day to day activities. Being active and fit is a huge part of my life. And this year, more than ever, I've been humbled at the gym. So I thought I'd put together some tips for those of you who struggle with the same things as I do. Also for those who don't having any issues, this will help you understand our thought process, you lucky S.O.B. :)

  1. Say bye-bye to your pride. 
This should be the case for everyone who walks into a box/gym anyways. But especially for my fellow athletes that are in a constant form of a diseased state. At first its going to be hard. Real hard. The first couple of workouts will humble you big time. Especially if you are diligent in writing everything down and referring to the last day you did the workout. Don't be surprised if you don't come near to your previous time/weight. Don't be surprised if you have fellow athletes looking at you like you are a slacker during the workout. Don't be surprised if you get dizzy/lightheaded/weak/gassed only a few minutes in. Understanding this will help you maintain a positive attitude at the gym. Because no one likes a 'Negative Nancy' or 'Bitter Betty'. 


   2. Don't get discouraged or disappointed.


Its very easy to get discouraged during a workout when you are out of remission. When you are consistently missing past PRs on weight and time, it can be a slippery slope to full on depression to be honest. Don't be hesitant to scale a workout you previously crushed. Its a better emotional win to finish than to struggle with workouts you crushed when you were healthy. Set new goals for yourself. Achievable ones. First, after you are comfortable with scaling, set a goal to finish without scaling again mid workout. Trust me, no one will care if you scale. Its way more important to understand your body/health and finish than underestimate the power of your disease and struggle. Nobody likes to see that. And trust me, it doesn't' feel good either. 

   3. Pay attention to your body.

This is probably the most important tip. Only you know what is going on with your body. Learn to recognize triggers, limitations and thresholds. Sometimes we just need rest. And that is OKAY! Maybe you need more active rest days. Maybe you need to take a few weeks off. Maybe you need to stay away from certain movements. I've learned to be wary of jumping movements, i.e. double-unders, box jumps, running, etc. Since my intestines and colon are inflamed, its almost like having a weight under your skin...now imagine jumping over and over. Super funtime. Or heavy weight days, pay attention to your heart rate, your vision and hearing. Lifting heavy can make you lightheaded when your healthy, its gets a little squirrely when you are out of remission. 


   4. Inform key people.

You don't want to yell your disease from the rooftops or anything, but you should tell a few key members of the gym. Inform your 'inner circle', whether that is your coaching staff, trainer or workout buddies. Someone who can act as a support system and look out for warning signs. When I say warning signs, I'm referring to things like an instant change in your skin color. Don't know about you, but I'm so used to feeling a little off that the line of 'too far' gets a little fuzzy sometimes. Its helped me in a few workouts. Your body will send warning signals when its in distress. Mine just happens to be losing blood in my face and going pale. 

There is a ton of information out there, inform yourself! Join a support group to connect with people who are in your same boat. It helps, take advantage of the knowledge of others, most of them are happy to share. 

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