Why do some coaches and trainers get injured all the time?
It’s the most frustrating thing in the world. You’ve nailed it, you study all the time, you have years of experience, your nutrition is on point, you religiously follow your program and never deviate, you know every corrective exercise there is, but every couple of weeks you end up hurt.
It’s a path I definitely noticed myself starting to go down and I’ve noticed it with a lot of my friends and high level trainers I know. Being a coach is one of the best jobs in the world – there is nothing as rewarding. Although, depending on how you do it, you could also be running yourself into the ground.
I love every second of what I do. I work my ass off too, if I’m not coaching I’m training, if I’m not at the gym I’m writing or learning; I devote as much time to bettering myself as possible. I am a very active “hands on” coach and I am very demonstrative. – and I am often describing very subtle differences in technique. Sometimes I can’t get away with just an empty bar – I have to show what I mean with heavier weights.
What I have learned over time is that when I have really busy “work” days, my own training suffers. I can have all the recovery tricks under the sun but when you have been standing all day demonstrating and talking passionately about what you do, there is only so much strength that 40 cups of coffee can provide.
Being a coach is one of the best jobs in the world – but you could also be running yourself into the ground.
The first thing you have to do is not be hard on yourself, treat yourself almost as you would someone with a physical labour job: they’re already in a fatigued state after work, would you expect that person to always be in a state of optimal performance? No, sometimes you have to alter sessions. Does this mean you can’t make gains? No, it just means that you, of all people, cannot let your ego kick in. Expectations can cause injuries. If your planned program tells you to do 5×5 at 90% of your current 1RM, but to your body that 90% feels like 110%, it’s not really a good idea to grind it out, you only get away with that shit for so long.
So what do you do?
1. Keep Track
Start keeping in the back of your mind what you are doing throughout the day. For instance the other day I was booked solid. I performed a large amount of gymnastics progressions and how to build on them, did some really intense mobility work, demonstrated heavy hip cleans to emphasise speed an position and went through a majority of my seminar progressions and a humongous amount of Cossack squats for some reason…
Keep in mind, I haven’t done my own training yet. That day was unusually loaded with too much, I had to write it off. Again I want to stress, I’m not gonna be hard on myself, I really did do quite a bit even if there was substantial breaks in between things. Beautifully timed too as I got to skip leg day.
2. Cap your training
On other days putting a cap on how long you allow yourself to train is essential.I used to spend 3 hours at a time mucking around with weights then do conditioning. Now, not to say I’m getting old, but I’ve got a lot more responsibility than I did then. Giving yourself a 45 minute cap to do your training will stop you from overdoing it but also let you be able to demonstrate for the rest of the day without snapping.
3. Adjust your programming
Another way to train on a busy day is simply to alter your programming. If you have programmed 5 sets of 5 reps, then just drop it to 3 sets of 5. This way you’ll still get to lift your working weight and your form won’t suffer. If you then feel like you want to complete the other 2 sets but don’t have the energy, simply decrease the weight! Remember if you’re already in a pre-fatigued state you’re still going to get the benefits with lighter weights, and your technique will remain solid – which is the most important factor in longevity.
4. Have a back up plan
Lastly, have an emergency back up plan. We all know what we’re not good at. Create a set routine with simple movements so that you can work on your weakness. This will be less taxing than you missing twenty snatches and being in a bad mood for the rest of the day… Sensible progressions well within your current ability level are the way to go, your session may not be as enjoyable as grip and rip, but it will be much more productive.
Coaching comes first, if you’re injured it’s embarrassing, there is no way to stop that thought of “Why should people listen to me when I can’t even look after myself“. You just have to remember that you are human too, it’s ok to get hurt sometimes. When coaching is your profession you have to look after your business – that’s YOU – you are your business. Neglecting your own mobility, massage, ice baths, saunas, or whatever recovery methods work for you is neglecting your business.
It’s up to you to keep the fine line between required rest and you being lazy and having too much rest because “You deserve it”. You have to recognise when you’re busting your balls, don’t be scared to alter the plan and always always listen to your body.