August traditionally sees lots of holidays for families, bank holidays and a quieter time for businesses. It’s also a good time for trainers to take their holidays as quite a few of their clients will also be away. This year, I decided to visit family in North Devon who live in a lovely seaside town called Croyde. Croyde (and Saunton Sands) are well known for their surfing and body boarding. I have never learned to surf so I normally just mess about with a body board and swim, leaving the surfing to those who can 🙂

It’s a very outdoorsey type of place with plenty of other activities including walking (the coastal views are phenomenal), kayaking and other water sports. For most of the week, the weather was dull in the morning followed by glorious sunshine in the afternoon. One of the nice things about being on holiday is being able to sit and read a book for pleasure (well it happened to be a fitness book on training related to kettlebells, from which some of my clients have already experienced a few new exercises). In the end, relaxation can come in many forms but reading a book is something I only tend to do on holiday.

I’ve been training for the Strongfirst Instructors qualification for the last few months with the aim to take the test at the end of August. So my kettlebells came with me on holiday as I planned to do several workouts. I worked out on the Tuesday, selecting presses as the main movement. On the first set I noticed my right shoulder had lost a lot of power and it was slightly painful to press. This loss of power I had experienced before (on the weekend of the Strongfirst course) so I should have been more careful. Instead, I decided to continue – as I warmed up I was able to do both sides for several sets of 5 at 20kg kettlebells. The next day I experienced tendon pain in that shoulder and by chance I was able to get a sports massage on the shoulder which helped a lot. So on the Thursday, I worked out doings 10 swings either side on the minute every minute with a 32kg for 10 minutes, followed by a game of golf. By hole 5 I realised I had very much overdone it as every shot hurt as I hit the ball. Undeterred, I completed the round of golf – very badly and in quite a lot of pain.

What’s the moral of the story? The rules of exercise apply to everyone including me – I ignored the signs of injury as I was focused on the goal of the test and I failed to follow my own advice on stretching, rollering and receiving massage regularly. Unfortunately, in life sometimes you learn more by your mistakes than you do by your successes. As a trainer, I should know better – I am not exempt from the rules of exercise.

With this in mind, I have been following the advice I would give my clients that have the misfortune of getting an injury:

– read the 5 stages of injury grief and rehabilitation  (I will email this to anyone on request) as I was in the denial stage for some time

– get a diagnosis from a qualified and trusted health professional – my appointment is booked for today

– if suitable get a sports massage quickly to help with tension – most injuries are often caused by tension; I have had 2 since last week and have another booked for next week

– stretch and roller if you know what you are doing and are confident this will help, not increase the injury – this I have been doing every day

– you can continue to exercise, just pick exercises that will not increase the injury; this week I will do 2 spin classes only

I will continue the process of rehabilitation over the next few weeks with the hope I will ready to return to full training soon.
The rest of the week in Devon was lovely and relaxing, meeting some great people and enjoying the break.

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