Paul Nay Knee web

For those of you that are choosing the pursuit of maximal strength – pain, discomfort & injury are the pot holes on that road to success that you will need to embrace when you start to consistently push the boundaries.

Your mental approach in recognizing the difference between being injured & hurt will go a long way to separating yourself from the other gym rats around you.

In my opinion an injury is something that prevents you from participating, where as being hurt means there is pain & discomfort, but with a bit of intestinal fortitude you can still participate.

That’s why it always irks me (well, actually it pisses me right off) when a person tells me one minute how dedicated and focused they are to hit their goals only to see them stop all physical activity when the first hint of pain rears its ugly head.

You really start to questions a person’s motivation to succeed and their mental toughness when you witness that sort of carry on. After all who the hell sacrifices months of intensive training so meekly?? Maybe it’s a cry for attention – I don’t know. What I do know is they go on my soft cock list of people to avoid!!

Why avoid these guys – simple… They are attitude killers, usually they can’t wait to tell you how injured they are, which involves a blow by blow detail of how it happened, how much it hurts, how long they have to lay off training, how great their training was going before hand, how much they were going to lift, the records or championships they would of won and the huge insurmountable odds they are going to need to conquer to too get back on track,…. Boo Fuck’n Hoo … When these guys talk about their so called injuries it impedes on your time and kills your work out intensity.

Now fair enough if they are genuinely injured, I’ve always got an ear for genuine people who are seeking knowledge to help the rate of recovery and to maximize progress while hindered. However in my experience the majority of times I hear “I can’t train… I’m injured” the individual has nothing more than physical discomfort. However either way in my book it doesn’t mean stop, it just means change your approach.

The influencing factor here is the individual’s mental toughness and pain tolerance – how much pain they can and are willing to tolerate.

Champion athletes I have met over the years usually train or play in some form of pain or discomfort – it usually will take something pretty drastic to stop them.

Personally nothing spurs me on more with my training than when I’m robbed of the ability to perform at 100%. It hardens my resolve to be better and re-enforces how important training is to me. I also reflect on past training sessions I knew I could of pushed harder and didn’t with distain.

Personally I have found the upside to hurt & injury is the opportunity to increase one’s knowledge base and introduce alternative exercises that can work the area without antagonizing the symptoms, improve or reinforce good technique and it has also provided me a chance to improve some of those weaker areas that have been neglected or have been lower on the priority list.

One of the best mental approaches I’ve seen to training with injury is Damon Hayhow of BioLogic Labs in Queensland, (kilo for kilo one of the strongest guys in Australia). With his arm strapped up after having surgery to reattach his bicep, he was still dumbbell pressing & curling with his good arm, still squatting with the use of safety squat bar & leg pressing – Inspirational mind set.

Closer to home at Muscle Pit, Corey Millar & Damien Eyre both had shoulder reconstructions in 2010. Were they frustrated and pissed off…. yes, however both revamped their training programs with a positive outlook and seldom missed a work-out during “their time off”.  Corey recently managed a 30Kg increase in his first comp back after 7 months. His bench figures will be under the micro-scope at our next comp in 3 months but his training numbers indicate he has progressed.

Damien is back in the pool moving freely, his gym strength hasn’t suffered; he is actually stronger now in some exercises than he was before the operation. After breaking the West Australia Swim record in his pet event in 2009, Damien is now well on track to make a strong presence at this year’s 2011 Swim Nationals.

The main thing I hope you get out of this is that when pain strikes, determine if you’re just hurt or injured – get to know your body & its limits. Do not stop training, readjust, stay positive & train smart – always look for exercises & a regime that will enable you to improve quicker and if a body part needs rest, take it as an opportunity to focus on other body parts that maybe lagging.

Above all stay away from soft cocks that seek attention and wallow in self pity under the guise of “injury”.

Foot note: This article was originally penned in early 2011 since then Damien Eyre recently  won1 Gold, 4 Silver & 1 Bronze out of eight events he contested at the 2011 Australian Swimming Champs.