Surprise! I Can Get Hurt!

It’s not just teenagers who believe they can defy the odds of injury – it’s people like me who’ve forgotten the risks of overdoing it at the gym. Four days a week I walk into the gym with a plan and a journal, which tell me how much I lifted last time and what I’m capable of next time. I’m in good condition and I’m systematic, and that – along with careful form – helps prevent injuries.

But I was on vacation last week and anxious to get back into my workout routine. The last time I overdid it in the gym was many months ago and long forgotten. Monday went great – I felt strong and was able the same weight for shoulders, triceps, and abs. I was so happy! It felt great to be back.

On Tuesday, buoyed by Monday’s success, I went all out with a tough legs and back workout. I even mixed it up and did some things I haven’t done in awhile – walking lunges followed by one-legged squats. Yep, I’m invincible.

However, something did not go quite right – possibly with the one-legged squats – and my lower back was screaming the next day.

I felt surprised and also a little naive. Apparently, I thought I could take a week off and go back full force without missing a beat!

Ironically, that very night I’d participated in a Twitter #Fitblog chat in which one of the discussion questions was how you handle fitness mishaps. Some of the participants answered in the context of missing workouts or diet lapses, but I rarely miss a workout and wasn’t sure how to answer the question.

After re-experiencing a fitness mishap – in my case overdoing it – it’s worth it to pause and ask how do I handle it? I’ve had the usual feelings – frustration about not being able to work out hard (or even bend over very far), anxiety about how bad the injury is, and beating myself up for overdoing it in the first place. There’s always a little fear when you overdo it too – thoughts of a permanent injury. Fortunately, I think my back is strong enough to withstand an occasional strain and will be ok after a few days of taking it easy.

Do You Dwell?

I wanted to share some of the responses to the #fitblog discussion question about how participants handle fitness mishaps. The responses are helping me now as I get through my own mishap in the gym. I’m keeping the names anonymous here but you can see the #fitblog transcript by going to, searching for #fitblog, and entering the dates August 10 – August 11. (If you’re interested in participating in #fitblog chat on Twitter, join in Tuesdays at 9 pm ET.)

Question: Do you dwell on your “mishaps” all day or do you get over it right away?

  • “i try to never dwell to much on anything!”
  • “Everyone slips up every once in a while. If you dwell on it, you’ll never be happy with yourself!”
  • “unfortunately, im definitely a dweller. working on it though…one bad decision doesn’t mean the whole day is wasted, right?”
  • “i’ll take a little time to think about why i made bad choices and then i just move on.”
  • “i dwell on it all day. my workouts are all early morning, so knowing i missed my chance puts me in a bad mood…”
  • “you can’t dwell… you have to get over it and move on, there’s no point in beating yourself up about it because it’s done!”
  • “I may trip for a minute. but i’m big on forgiving myself and moving on.”
  • “Depends on the day. Sometimes I can be really hard on myself but I’m trying to be kinder to myself.”
  • “I’m a dweller, too. Working out getting back on the wagon on bad days, instead of letting it run me over. :)”
  • “I dwell depending on how big the problem is, because that helps me think about how to never encounter that situation again.”
  • “Crying over the spilled milk… is useless”
  • “I used to dwell a lot – not so much anymore. You’ve gotta be kind to yourself.”
  • “Aahhh, dwelling on mishaps is perhaps the #1 thing I still need to work on. Only when something isn’t planned it bugs me.”
  • “I typically get over “mishaps”quickly. Guilt is a useless emotion.”
  • “usually beat myself up for 1 day. Then file it away & start over.”
  • “when my body needs an extra day of rest i don’t feel guily at ALL. over doing it/not listening to my body = risking injury.”

My own response to this question belies my inexperience with mishaps: “The only thing I do all day is look forward to the gym :). I focus on my goals and that’s a lot of fun for me.”

I am feeling more optimistic about my back after tonight’s tame workout. It feels ok. I suppose my response to how would I handle a mishap now would be “surprise, dismay, move on.” Works for me.

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