Burpees to ballet

18 Oct
Not too long ago, before I did the 5km Race for Life, I began to feel a twinge – and not a nice kind of twinge. It was in my back. “Oops!”, I thought, “That doesn’t feel good”. With the race in mind, I pushed through and even fitted in a WOD the day before the race, thinking a good stretch and I would be fine!!!

Well, the race was pukka. 5km was just not enough, and the feeling at crossing that finish line was awesome! That night after a wee celebration, I fell asleep – blissfully unaware the most painful three weeks of my life lay ahead.

When I woke the next day, the twinge was, to put it politely, a bloody pain in the butt! I could barely move around the flat without whining and wincing at Adrian. Sorry, my poor love, I’m sure I was a nightmare! And so began my journey…..

Having trained for most of my life, this had to be the worst injury in my career. Getting to my 7.00am appointment the next day was agony. I tried to push through, and after muddling through a circuit class, I finally gave in. I realised that training, until this thing was fixed, was out of the question. But as I’m sure you can empathise with me, sitting still is not my forte! Daytime TV can be fun but gets boring really quickly!

I know the usual injury after care: “Take it easy, gentle movements”, but I was used to doing all or nothing! It was so hard holding back. I utilized every possible source of help available to me, including Andrew and his magic massaging hands.

Eight days on, I still was lacking range of movement, but staying ‘inactive’ was driving me crazy. So I turned to swimming. Anyone who knows me will know I hate swimming, but after over a week of nothing but light stretches, it was looking really appealing. So donning my goggles I took to the water and completed (allbeit very slowly) 25 lengths of front crawl. I half expected the next day to be in some kind of pain, but actually I felt pretty good. I managed to get the hoover out and run it round! I gave myself a day and then returned to the pool. My goal was to swim the same 25 lengths, but a bit faster. I was even beginning to enjoy the smell of chlorine again – it reminded me of my days as a lifeguard.

So now I was 10 days into my journey, and although I had been able to return to work, I was still limited in what I could do. Not being able to test-run the WOD’s made classes a bit less organized, and I was less able to help with setting up and moving the equipment. Thanks to all who attended those classes for your help and patience!

12 days in, and full range was back! Whoop Whoop! I was still quite nervous about getting back into full Crossfit swing. Knowing the intensity of the WOD’s and the competitiveness to push your body, I wanted to try out something a little bit more – shall we say – gentle, before loading back up again. My thoughts turned to Pilates:  a form of exercise that requires control, and is particularly aimed at injury prevention of the back. I tried out a form of Pilates on a contraption called a Reformer. I wasn’t expecting it to be half as difficult as it turned out to be. Bloody hell! I thought I was strong, but this required so much control and thought into how I moved my body.

The next day I again expected to feel some sort of discomfort, but to my delight, I was fine. So I signed up for another class. I was now 14 days in and feeling pretty good. I began to realise that despite injury, I had learned more about the way my body worked by listening to it. As a trainer, I think it’s really easy to dish out advice to clients – but when it came to my own self, I lacked respect for my body.

Since embarking on my Crossfit journey, I realised I’d forgotten other fitness activities and sports existed. It was then that I took the decision to revisit an activity from my childhood – ballet. I found adult classes at Move Your Frame Studios. Quite the opposite end of the scale to Crossfit, it meant that I could be graceful and delicate. Even so it was actually bloody hard work!

Prima ballerina
Prima ballerina

Another week of Pilates and ballet, and I felt ready to take on my first WOD. It was three whole weeks since my last beasting, and although it hurt like hell, I didn’t feel like I was trailing behind. In fact, the break had helped me focus more on my own goal of gaining a fit, strong body – which doesn’t always mean lifting the heaviest or pushing the hardest in competition with everyone else. Now it was personal!

I don’t care now if everyone else around me lifts 10kg heavier or finishes first. I care more about how my body reacts and feels performing the exercises. Don’t get me wrong – this doesn’t mean I’ve turned into a wuss. It just means that if I want to enjoy a long, injury-free career, then my body comes first, not what’s going on around me.

Possibly the best thing that came from my injury was my attention to detail. My practise of Olympic lifts and technique has meant that I’ve made great strides with both my snatch and clean, improving my PR and my confidence. Sometimes taking a small step back and taking everything in can be the best form of medicine!

Which brings my journey up to date. I am still doing my Pilates and ballet alongside Crossfit, but now I finally have balance!

7 thoughts on “Burpees to ballet

  1. Sally – I go to Frame! I go to Lindsay’s House dance classes on a Monday eve. They’re fantastic. I wholeheartedly agree that Pilates and Ballet are fantastic – I used to have pilates personal training sessions 4/week (in Brazil where it’s cheap!) and I really think that awareness of my ab muscles helps me get a good technique in various movements for Crossfit.

    Hehe – Steven if you think the Reformer’s bad you should see the Cadillac Trapeze!

  2. Well done! Whether it’s voluntary or not, we all need to take a break sometimes, so we can come back fitter than ever.

    And there’s not many women can snatch even 1kg more than you!

  3. i want to come to ballet i use to do it as a kid….iv been to Frames a few times attempting to hip hop dance however, the skills and co-ordination is a little too much for me 🙂

  4. Totally relate to your feelings about finding balance and not letting xfit be your only source of fitness. I have recently restarted going to an African dance class and it has done me the world of good mentally, even if it is making me do things with my lumber curve that would make Andrew cry!

    @ Kirsty; dance, like the snatch, is a skill. Keep going, practice makes for improvement, you’ll get it! And it will be so much fun getting it!

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