A Cautionary Tale About Not Being Mindful


I have been a personal trainer and health coach for over 26 years. In that time, I had been lucky to not have had many injuries. In 2000 though I was coaching a Special Olympics power lifting team. One of the athletes was performing a squat and became scared. He dropped the bar off his shoulders behind him. I was spotting him at the time and when he let go of the bar it was about 5 feet off the ground. To keep the bar from hitting him I pulled it back and slowed it down before it hit the ground. In doing this I injured my back which caused compression in vertebrate L-3 through L-5. This injury has stayed with me to today.

It never really slowed me down though. Since I knew I had to maintain proper form when lifting. I was still able to lift very heavy weights for bodybuilding and power lifting exercises. In the gym I am always being mindful of not only my form, but also the form of my clients.

When I was not in the gym exercising I was not always being mindful. A good example is when I was performing simple tasks around the house, such as working in the yard moving rocks, moving furniture, etc. Since, I was just trying to get them done quickly I would re-activate the injury on average once every 2 years.

Until in 2016 when I began doing yoga to loosen up my body. I knew it was vital to improve my flexibility to relieve the pressure that was consistently on my spine. I also decided to drop 30 pounds of muscle. By doing this I increased my flexibility and took the extra weighted pressure off my spine. This increase in my flexibility and the decreased muscle mass made a big difference in the injury possibility to the point where I had forgotten all about the lower back compression injury. I figured if I maintain a good regiment of Yoga, weight training and cardio I would be fine.

This week though I knew my body was feeling muscularly weak. Instead of being mindful and resting it, I ignored it and kept pushing myself with heavy weights. As a result, I activated the old injury and now have had to take time off to recover and self-rehab. If I had I been listening to my body I could have avoided activating the old injury.  

The decision to not listen to my body and rest lies completely with me. I am not training for an event, nor do I have a goal to lose excessive body fat. So, the decision to keep pushing was simply an ego one.

The moral to the story is to always be mindful of what your body is telling you daily.  Your body will always tell you what it needs, you just must listen. You also must ignore your ego. Your ego will only get you hurt or in trouble.