I’m obviously not 23 years old anymore. I know. That’s shocking information to everyone. But, it’s true.
I know this because 23 year olds can successfully pop out babies like high-powered pieces of machinery and bounce back to the bodies they had before (I know that because I was a 23 year old that did that), rebound from tendonitis like it’s a mosquito bite, and PR their snatch by 5 pounds every time they touch a barbell.
So, today I went into the gym after agreeing with my chiropractor, Chad Messina, that I would not go heavy on snatches and clean and jerks and just be super careful to not irritate my trap that’s been locked up for the last couple of days. For the record, I am usually surprisingly obedient when it comes to professional advice on how to treat injuries. Overly cautious at times, actually. So, when Chad told me to try a moderate weight, I was all in.
That was until I got into training with all my buddies who are, for the most part, 23 years old and above-average fit and the clock started for heavy snatches and clean and jerks.
It was one of those classic stories because when I started the 25 minute session, I actually did feel fine. In fact, I forgot all about the shoulder thing because I wasn’t feeling any pain. It wasn’t until about 3/4’s of the way through when it started to hit me…and, you all know, that’s the kiss of death.
That’s the real test: when you’re knee deep in a workout, you’re so gloriously close to the end and being able to say you “did all 6 rounds at so and so weight”, and you need to make an in the moment call as to whether it’s a good idea or not to finish what you started.
That’s when the age thing, in my mind, becomes the real factor. Yes, of course, 23 year olds get injured and it takes them longer to recover than they want it to…but, it’s a whole different scene when you’re 40. I’m not “technically” 40 yet, but I’m 3 months away and in the grand scheme of things it’s the same thing.
It’s hard because you see your 23 year old buddy with the same pain that you have, but they shake it off, keep picking up the bar, and are totally fine at the end of the day.
What I’ve found to be more often the case at this stage of my life is that when I shake it off and keep picking up the bar, I end with a nagging injury that literally takes months to really fully get better.
The thing that makes it all such a hard call is that I’ve had the rare situations, too, where I do shake it off and keep picking up the bar…and, I’m totally fine at the end.
I guess I just don’t know how to handle this stuff: at what point is the pain that we feel safe to work through, and when does it tick over to the danger zone?
When someone invents a watch that can accurately tell you that, that dude’s going to become a millionaire.