Coming back from a injury sucks.
There, I said it.
After what I have affectionately started calling “kneegate2016”, I’ve struggled a lot with getting back into the groove of training and meet prep. It’s been exciting to be back to squatting, benching, deadlifting, and strongman-ing after over 4 months of not doing any of those things. But I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy. Besides everything feeling a little foreign (apparently not squatting for 5 months means you’re a little out of practice with squatting), managing my expectations has been brutally hard. I'm sure anyone who has experienced any training setback can relate to those feelings. This shit isn't easy.
I’ve had more than one mini meltdown about my upcoming powerlifting meet. I’ve thought about dropping out of it because I feel like I won’t put up a decent total and my squat in particular won’t be where it used to be. I was *thisclose* to throwing my hands up in the air and dropping out of this meet because I probably wouldn’t squat 265#. Instead, I signed up for a strongman show a month later. [insert sassy girl hand up emoji here]
Beyond feeling sort of meh about this meet and my squat in particular, I was really bothered that I was bothered. I constantly tell my clients that powerlifting, in particular, is an extremely accessible sport - if you can squat, bench, and deadlift the bar then you can compete. Meets are fun! They’re a day to lift with a bunch of awesome people and meet new strong friends. Plus, competing is a skill and you gotta practice. Even still, I felt (and really still feel) very bipolar about this meet. I fluctuate between feeling excited and like dropping out within the span of minutes, several times a day. It’s confusing and exhausting.
It’s taken me several weeks, too many fits, and some still unresolved feelings to realize that part of this whole “being pissed about being pissed” stuff is how I’ve been framing my training and the narrative I’ve been telling myself. I’ve been so focused on making a comeback that I forgot that “coming back” from an injury isn’t really coming back at all. It’s building. It’s unlearning and retraining movements that you’ve done thousands of times. That process is frustrating and s l o w, so frustratingly slow, especially if you’re someone who lacks patience and has very high expectations of themselves (who, me? never). It’s infuriating and tear inducing and there may or may not be several meltdowns/frantic texts/messages/yelling/etc. sessions along the way. But that's okay.
I wish I had some magical words of wisdom or a witty “3 steps for making a comeback!” list for you, but I don’t...because you’re not making a comeback, you’re building. You won’t be the same lifter, your body won’t be the same, and you won’t be able to do things the same way. You have to build something new.
So, don’t call it a comeback.