Being constantly sore is a running joke in the CrossFit community. The reality is that while it is okay to train through some soreness, it is not okay to train with a serious injury. Addressing the soreness early with proper mobility, rest, and nutrition can help prevent your soreness from turning into a serious, chronic issue that stops your program dead in its tracks. If gainz are your goal (and if they’re not, maybe we should talk,) then knowing how to handle aches, pains, and injuries when and if they happen is the key to long term progress. So let’s talk programming. If you’re currently on a program to gain that muscle mass you need for strength, chances are you’re eating right and eating plenty. But you’re also lifting at high reps and higher weight, so that kink you have in your neck or shoulder? Better pay attention to it. It might just be a sore muscle or a little achiness that a good night sleep will cure, but it could be something more. Nagging pains can turn into serious injuries if ignored. And injuries can happen to anyone. The severity of them may vary and the amount of time they throw you off your program can be wildly different from person to person and incident to incident. But having to modify any exercise program for any length of time can be unsettling. What do you do? Give up all activity for the duration? Avoid that body part studiously and risk creating imbalances (imagine one giant thigh and one spaghetti thigh!) or be smart and keeping building strength during recovery? Going back to what JP said in Episode 23 http://the4thpull.com/2016/01/12/episode-how- to-get- stronger/, we want to talk a bit more about gaining and keeping that strength, not losing much of it (if at all), and working around an injury. Getting stronger does take a lifetime. Going from Steve Rogers to Captain America doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye for us ordinary folk. Consistent effort at varying degrees plays a great deal in how you gain that strength. It’s not going to happen (or get lost) overnight. As we mentioned before, creating that foundation of strength does begin with muscle mass building. This begins with lifting heavy. If you can only perform some heavy movements and not all due to an injury, you should adjust your mental game to focus on what you can improve on instead of neglecting everything altogether. Just because you have to nurse a muscle or a joint, that is no reason to neglect the rest of your body. Take this time to work with a coach on strengthening other areas, work on body-weight skills, focus on nutrition and mobilization, and isolate muscle groups that often get ignored. There are many ways to reach your goals and an injury can be a chance to slow down and dig into things you might not normally make time for. And that’s what it comes down to in the end: time. And what better way to become stronger mentally than knowing you can’t do something and must practice the very Zen-like exercise of pure patience. These challenges are how mental strength is developed, and on competition day, that mental strength is what sets the champions apart. It’s a killer for so many. But we’re talking about a mental strength that so many people refuse to build. Assuming you did everything else right, your mental toughness will match your physical toughness. And that injury, fully recovered, will leave you with a stronger base both physically and mentally, primed for PR City. Listen now and pick up on the tips and advice we have for gaining strength around your injury. This isn’t a setback – it’s a change of direction.