Some Practical Thoughts on Training and Competing While Injured
It's inevitably true in the sport of strongman that you're going to be competing and training while injured. Nobody gets out of this sport unscathed. But why do we keep on pushing it? Really it comes down to two things: the feeling of accomplishment when pushing yourself to complete super-human feats of strength is incredible and the flow state of conscious awareness required to perform said feats with seeming effortlessness in competition is sublime and rigorously sought after in today's age.
With pushing the body to the limit, injuries hopefully minor, but sometimes major are bound to ensue. The demands of the sport though really require you to keep on moving forward with whatever you can manage, even when injured so as to not be left in the dust. This is not to say that you push yourself in the wrong way too soon if you are seriously injured, but try to work around the injury.
I’ve been competing in strongman for 6 years now, which is a pretty decent amount of time and it seems like the status quo that as the active season progresses, athletes start to get run down. It’s rare to get through a competitive season without some bumps and bruises along the way so here are some things to prioritize in order to recover as fast as possible and keep moving forward.
The foods you eat are one of the most important, yet undervalued factors in maximizing your recovery from injury or heavy training in general. Most strongman diets are filled with inflammatory foods without an adequate balance of high nutrient foods that help to counteract inflammation. Injuries ultimately produce localized inflammation and an inflammatory diet will only delay the healing process. Balance the highly inflammatory low quality meat in your diet with higher quality meat and protein sources as well as more fresh vegetables or fruit at every meal. Also pay attention to the quality of carbohydrates in your diet and stay away from highly processed and refined carb sources. The less processed your carb sources are the better. Fat quality will mostly be taken care of by improving the quality of the meat you eat, but also focus on consuming more anti-inflammatory omega-3s from both plant and animal sources to speed up the healing process. This means eating more wild caught fish and seafood, but grass-fed meats and free run eggs are also higher in omega-3s than conventionally farmed animals.
Be sure to dedicate yourself to recovery as much as training if you want to heal as fast as possible. This includes treatments like ice baths, other forms of cryotherapy, and contrast showers to reduce inflammation and increase blood flow to the injured area. These practices can also be done around the injured area alone for more frequent targeted treatment.
Visit a qualified sports therapist that you trust or ask local athletes who is best doc to see to make sure you are on the right path to recovery and get professional treatment as needed.
Your sports therapist can also help you to determine the best ways to train around an injury or support it to limit pain and further damage when it's crunch time and you have to compete anyway.
There are a few high quality supplements to consider that can also speed up the healing process and help you get back to 100% quicker.
Fish oil or krill oil
Balancing your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is highly important for limiting systemic inflammation and promoting the healing process. If your diet is full of corn and grain fed meat and you don't like eating fish regularly, include a high quality fish oil or krill oil supplement to reduce the ratio and give the big FU to your injuries.
Turmeric / Curcumin
Turmeric is another potent anti-inflammatory food that packs a powerful supplemental punch. Most supplements are designed to improve the bioavailability of the curcuminoids in turmeric to get the most benefit from it.
The most impressive product that's been developed for effectively treating pain naturally while also potently reducing inflammation is joint care+ with fermented turmeric by Genuine Health. The microbiologists at Genuine Health have created a unique method for enhancing the bioavailability of turmeric through fermenting it, which also provides you with beneficial probiotics for gut health.
This product will help to speed up recovery while also reducing pain enough to allow you to keep competing when you have no choice but to push it.
If you are really bad at getting enough fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, consider also taking a daily greens supplement like greens+ to get in a powerful dose of antioxidants, as this is important for reducing oxidative stress and lowering inflammation.
In my experience, and as has been reported clinically, these practices alone and in combination will help with reducing inflammation and thereby speeding up the recovery process so that you can get back to the grind and train and compete the way you want to [1,2,3].
1. Nicol, L. M., Rowlands, D. S., Fazakerly, R., & Kellett, J. (2015). Curcumin supplementation likely attenuates delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). European journal of applied physiology, 115(8), 1769-1777.
2. Glasgow, P. D., Ferris, R., & Bleakley, C. M. (2014). Cold water immersion in the management of delayed-onset muscle soreness: Is dose important? A randomised controlled trial. Physical therapy in sport, 15(4), 228-233.
3. Lembke, P., Capodice, J., Hebert, K., & Swenson, T. (2014). Influence of omega-3 (n3) index on performance and wellbeing in young adults after heavy eccentric exercise. Journal of sports science & medicine, 13(1), 151.