I’m currently injured again. Yesterday I underwent surgery to remove a big bump (an organized hematoma) on my forehead—a memento of getting pounded on the ground during MMA sparring back in February. Without the horn next to my temple I don’t look like a semi-Satan any longer, but the stitches are still fresh.
No sport for 10-14 days. Fuck.
Not so rashly, please: What exactly is it that I can and can’t do?
- I must give my body plenty of time to recover.
- I’m not allowed to sweat, because my sutured wound has to stay dry.
- I mustn’t strain my wound, as it might tear open.
This means that I can’t increase my strength (or can I?), gain muscle mass, or train MMA, but—I can still go for walks, do mobility drills, work on my flexibility, exercise my balance, and improve my technique. All the while, my muscles can recover from all the tissue-crushing training of the previous months. Soon I’ll be doing light exercises with high repetitions again.
I recall last year when my forearm was shattered.
Soon I was able to squat heavy again.
I recall two years ago when my big toe was broken.
I could do everything that didn’t involve running or jumping.
I recall my last brutal knockout caused by a kick in the head.
I could do nothing whatsoever for a few days.
It really depends on the specific injury, disease, or suffering you have. The more your nervous system is affected, the narrower your range of possibilities. The more local your defect, the more you can do.
These are my five key principles for dealing with injuries:
- Be smart: What did my doctor advise; what physiological principles is his advice based on?
- Be careful: How stricken is my nervous system; what movements cause what kinds of pain?
- Be purposeful: What’s the main goal I want to achieve as long as I’m physically impaired?
- Be creative: How can I work around my injury; how can I misuse gym equipment?
- Be attentive: To what extent do I have to adjust my caloric intake?
Finally, stay optimistic! Being injured sucks, I know. But every impediment is an opportunity. Every injury teaches you something new: a way to prevent it, a new focus, a new approach, a new skill, a stronger mindset. Every adversity toughens you mentally. Be grateful for your fate—it’s your path to mindcoolness.