Imagine dieting for weeks, training twice a day 7 days a week, taking all the right supplements, and ordering all the products you need to be on stage to look your best wearing next to nothing to expose every muscle to judges and hundreds of spectators – and BAM! You get injured 10 days away from the big day.
The Monkey Wrench
That’s what happened to my husband, Steve Pfiester, last week. Everyone who was there in the room with him heard the dreadful snap of his MCL and medial meniscus. It’s what every athlete fears most. He couldn’t walk. He couldn’t even dangle his leg without supporting it to prevent pain. He was afraid to move. He was paralyzed. Within 2 hours, I bought knee braces and crutches just so he could get from the couch to the bathroom. His plans of competing September the 22nd appeared to be gone.
The next day Steve was in and out of doctor’s offices, getting checked out and getting an MRI. Within minutes of his MRI, his General Physician and Radiologist were reading the results and sending Steve to Vero Orthopedics. That’s when he heard words that were music to his ears. “Steve, this is just a bump in the road”. This was the second time he heard this statement in one day – first by his general physician, Dr. Nick Cappola of Compassionate Medical Center, and now from Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Steinfeild.
Dr. Steinfield continued to explain his diagnosis. The MCL will require 6 weeks recovery and rehabilitation. The medial meniscus could require surgery, but we won’t know until the MCL heals. The best news was the doc said Steve could be weight-bearing and workout as long as it didn’t hurt him. Although exercise didn’t seem possible at that moment, Steve wanted to at least try.
Get After It
Just 8 days later, we are full steam ahead getting for Steve’s competition, packing his bags, and preparing his food. Steve has decided he will be on that stage even if he has to limp his way through this thing. He doesn’t want to take the easy way out. He has EVERY excuse to quit, and to grab a big fat pizza and cry over his broken knee. But, instead, he’s using this as even a bigger part of his challenge – just one more thing to conquer.
Not only does he have to get through his workouts still, he has to fight the swelling, bruising and pain. His knee is not only swollen, he has fluid and blood pooling down in his ankle. He will have to get all of that out by Saturday so he is as symmetrical as possible at the NPC Daytona Beach Classic – because the judges won’t care if he’s been hurt, so having one fat Flintstone foot isn’t an option.
Personal Challenge vs. Public Contest
This competition is not about winning first place. It’s not about being seen half naked so people can admire his abs. This show is not about vanity or notoriety. This is about pushing his body to its limits. It’s about practicing discipline and self-control – and that hasn’t changed. If nothing else, it’s become harder and requires more discipline and more pushing. For Steve, this is a personal challenge that will be victorious as long as he doesn’t quit. Win or lose, he is a winner for not giving up when he had every excuse to.
You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to learn from this. We ALL have good excuses to quit trying, to cheat on your diet, or to skip a workout. Whether it’s a bad day, a busy schedule or an injury, we can all justify quitting if we want to quit bad enough. Believe me, Steve could have come home the night he got injured and dive in big fat juicy burger, and down some beers to wash his sorrows away, but he didn’t. Instead he focused on why he SHOULDN’T QUIT – and there were more reasons not to quit than there were to give up.
No matter what excuses come your way – you can use them or you can beat them. It’s your choice.
Read Steve’s blog, “Train Hurt or Go Home (or Should You?)” for more on training through an injury.