EXCUSE (k-skyz) Relieve, rationalize, explain, pardon, condone, exempt, rationalise, apologize, justify…
Training for a body building show can be pretty intense. The training, additional cardios, extreme dieting, and keeping up with all the supplements (listed below) can all be pretty overwhelming even when things are going smoothly. Then add an injury to the mix and you’ve got new beast to battle.
Steve Pfiester is not the only one to suffer a devastating injury prior to fitness event. Most athletes face some kind of injury at some point in their career. For Steve, it’s was a torn MCL and medial meniscus just 10 days prior to his bodybuilding show in Daytona. When something like this happens, it can throw you into depression fast if you let it. Key word: “Let“.
You can let an injury take control of you, or you can take control of it. The choice is yours. For Steve, he decided to go forward and do the contest despite his knee. As part of the preparation, I had to mix his music for his night performance and I wanted it to reflect his circumstance. In search for a motivational sound bite, I had a feeling Eric Thomas “The Hip Hop Preacher“, known for encouraging athletes, would have something cool that would fit Steve’s situation- and I found one of the most profound statements I’d heard in a long time.
“It’s not about making excuses, it’s about making adjustments”.
In addition to all Steve’s normal training and dieting, now he had to go to Dr. Stepanek’s office to get cold laser therapy twice a day, which he felt was really helping. In addition to therapy, he had to ice his knee as many times a day as possible – all between clients, training, eating, teaching boot camps and running a gym.
He also had to adjust his workout routine around exercises that didn’t hurt. Hamstring curls and squats were impossible, but leg extensions and straight leg dead lifts were okay. He had to keep up his cardio, so he traded running outside for melting fat on the elliptical in the gym. And, he had to do it all on less sleep because his knee pain kept him up at night.
His knee required him to adjust the way he walked and performed even simple tasks, like getting in and out of bed or putting his pants on. He even had adjust his clothing around wearing a brace, and he added compression socks to his daily wardrobe. Adjustment was his middle name.
Making adjustments can be a pain (sometimes literally), but necessary when you want something bad enough. However, most of us use the tiniest excuse to stop us dead in our tracks. Instead of listing all the things you CAN do, we use that one thing to convince of the things we CAN’T do.
It wasn’t that Steve wanted to win a bodybuilding show that bad. He didn’t need another trophy or the notoriety. He needed to follow through with what he had planned. He needed to reach his goal, which was to do his very best – not necessarily to BE the very best.
Steve showed up, knee brace and all, and won both his weight classes. But, even if he didn’t win, he knew in his heart he did his very best with his circumstance – and that’s what fitness is all about. It’s not about perfection, it’s about dedication.
What excuse are you allowing to paralyze you right now? For every excuse you are using, someone else is overcoming. Just because you have a good excuse doesn’t mean you have to use it. Finish what you started.
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.
When I started jogging a few years ago, it was a shock to my system. I quickly discovered my body much preferred a brisk walk over running. I had never felt that out of shape before. Although I was lifting weights and occasionally doing the stepper or elliptical, my body wasn’t used to jogging and it let me know it quick! My hip ached, my knees throbbed, and my muscles were incredibly sore.
Even though most of my body adapted to the new routine eventually, my knees took a little longer to improve. Believe it or not, it was a simple fix – all I needed to do was stretch.
I am sure this may sound odd to some people. I mean, what in the world could stretching a muscle do for a joint? Well, plenty! You see, my leg muscles were really tight, especially my quadriceps (thigh muscles). Since these tight muscles attach to the patella (the knee cap), tight muscles were most likely the cause of my discomfort.
If you gently stretch the leg muscles, you relieve the tension on the kneecap, allowing for proper knee tracking. The only drawback is you have to be patient and consistent with your stretching routine. You can’t expect your muscles to loosen up after just a few stretches. With increased activity comes increase tightness, so it’s something you have to do often.
I had to stretch several times a day. I would even stop and stretch in the middle of my run to help get me through my routine. Eventually, my knee pain completely went away. My two miles of limping turned into a four and half mile pain-free jog thanks to a few simple stretches.
While there are many reasons for knee pain, tight leg muscles are often the culprit, especially if you just started noticing it after increasing activity. Unfortunately, many people quit an exercise program due these new aches and pains, thinking their body just can’t handle it. My knee pain could have easily, and literally, stopped me in my tracks. Instead, I didn’t give up and I’ve been running pain free for 9 years.
When it comes to knee pain, the solution maybe easier than you think.
(photo from http://www.mediahelp.org)
After writing my last blog, “Runners Beware“, I hopped on a plane to New York with my FitFluential peeps, responding to everyone’s comments and feedback via phone and ipad on the go. With over 1,000 facebook likes and 20,000 views, it’s obviously a hot topic. As I sit in my hotel room this morning, with a great view of the new World Trade center buildings, I finally have a chance to squeeze in a follow-up post.
Luckily, most people who read the blog received the “bad news” pretty well. It’s never fun finding out you’ve been investing a lot of time and energy into something that may not give you the result you thought. I’m not implying that running is not beneficial (I RUN and LOVE it!), BUUUUT being fit (and looking fit) is more than going for a jog every day.
Why are more and more people running?
My answer: Because they can. As people get fit with the help of gyms, trainers, workout DVDs, etc they get fit enough to run – plain and simple. Before someone gets in shape, running is rarely an option or even appealing. However, as someone gets fit and discovers they are now ABLE to run, it becomes a natural response. Unfortunately, people often drop their gym memberships, or programs, for running – but running is Read the rest of this entry