29 DECEMBER 2013
I finally decided to post this. My intention in the beginning was to do regular, journaled updates on my rehab, progress, regress and lessons learned. Sounded like a good idea but I got distracted running my Pilates studio, getting married in November (yay us), volunteering for my professional association and getting on with my CrossFit training. Sorry for the delay, my friends.

So in the interests of helping fuel my New Year 2014 goals and coming clean on some questionable rehab decisions, here’s the catch-up post.

Feel free to comment but keep it classy.


I can do this
I can do this

APRIL 2013
I’m sitting half way through Week 4 Post Op and I’ll have to say, with one pretty monumental f’up (see below), I’ve been zooming along with my rehab, increasing my right shoulder strength and ROM daily. No, I’m NOT overdoing it or working in pain; my doc and physio were pretty adamant about that. To be honest, I don’t really feel like going back on that operating table for a very  long time so I’m being textbook with my rehab protocols.

However, I’m feeling very chuffed at the way the bod is healing and I chalk a lot of that up to:

1. Good diet (well, mostly good…been a bit of emotional eating lately),
2. Good supplementation (thank you, Usana and the pharmacy that brings us Ibuprofen/Nurophen),
3. Acupuncture and reflexology,
4. Weekly test jabs from one of my docs to help the tissue repair (no, it’s not like juicing…sheesh),
5. Great patient coaching at Cooee Crossfit,
6. An amazing partner that has been feeding me, driving me around (I can’t drive for another 4 weeks),
7. My adherence to a greater-than-daily rehab programme,
8. … and super support from my clients, friends, work colleagues and family.


As you know, I’m not a wimp nor do I pull back from hard work when it’s called for. So after Week 1 Post Op, when I figured things were starting to come together, I decided to slooowly check out what I could actually do to keep my fitness going. I had a great workout at the Box (practicing Snatches with no weight or bars, box jumps, hamstring pulls on the rowers), even if it felt a bit light…watching my mates sweating up a storm didn’t help but I knew I had to be careful so it didn’t really bother me that much. It was great just to be in the atmosphere. Next I went in to teach my usual early morning BOOTYCAMP class at my studio. Now I knew I couldn’t sprint or run; the arm in the sling screwed with my balance. But I was confident I could gently jog with the clients down to the park and then just coach them through the sprinting and Pilates portions of the class.

Sounds great on paper. However the reality was much more like a smack-down than an uplifting experience: Picture me tripping on the wonky concrete pavement a mere 3 blocks from the studio…For the record, it’s absolutely true what they say about time slowing down in an accident like this. I could see myself dropping to the pavement but with plenty of ‘time’ to consider “What would Batman do?” in order to protect my injured right shoulder. My cat-like reflexes sprang into action, plopping me onto my left elbow, knee and grazing my right hand. Yes, my drop-and-roll was really a drop-and-slap.

It hurt like hell and scared the shit out of me. I think I had a slight bit of shock too, actually having a 3 second weep at what hand I was dealt with. No matter…I bucked up, sucked it up, got up off the ground and hobbled back to the studio, client in hand and pride in the toilet.

Pavement 1, Neil 0
Pavement 1, Neil 0

MAY 2013
It’s been 2 weeks since that debacle. The wounds have healed and my attitude has improved. I’ve had to alter my training a bit to deal with a few realities:

1. My balance is off. I need that right arm to run/jog.
2. I cannot fall again, at least not until the shoulder has had a much longer healing time.
3. My training has to take into account these issues…meaning being much more careful.

This article was a lifesaver and a confirmation of everything I believed would help me during this process: Working Wounded article. It’s worth a read.

Coach Match showing me the way
Coach Match helping me find the path


Good News: The right shoulder is back to normal. No more pain and ROM is perfectly fine. I’ve always struggled with my upper body strength so I’m not disappointed that my previous Oly lifts are a bit average right now. At least I can throw myself into my WODs again (reasonably flinging, I mean). And with the planned addition of regular strength training I should now be able to keep the gains coming.

Not So Good News: If anything, my LEFT shoulder gives me the shits now. It’s not really painful but I can tell it’s not what it should be. I’m trying to avoid it, but I’ll probably need to get a scan soon rather than put my head in the sand. Until then, my training is going to be as perfect as I can make it.


1. Never give up. Ever. And if you do, kick yourself in the ass and start over.
2. Pay attention to your body. No coach knows you as well as you know yourself. If you don’t want to do a WOD or a lift, explain it to your coaches and negotiate.
3. Keep educating yourself. The more you know, the better your decisions will be. Take extra lifting classes. Read blogs. Talk to coaches.
4. Practice your Oly lifting. A lot. Slow down the lifting in the WODs and use it as yet another opportunity to be the sweetest lifter of all time.
5. Rx only when you got the game. If your form sucks, then the lift is not making you stronger; it’s teaching your nervous system the wrong patterns and you WILL break eventually. I guarantee it.
6. Stop comparing your WOD performances to anyone else. The only person that counts for you to beat is yourself.
7. There is always something you can do. You are more than an injured shoulder or a painful hip. Work around it; there’s more to get better at than the few things you can’t do at this moment.
8. Eat clean, tasty and good looking food. Supplement if you have to but don’t make vitamin pills an excuse to eat crap.
9. During your rehab, don’t forget to train your “goats”. If you’re shit at cardio, become a cardio-monster for awhile. If you’re not strong, get under that iron and invest in some lifting.
10. Be patient. Progress happens when it happens. There are many things that need to line up for your next strength gain or improved lift to occur. But if you invest your time in healthy food, consistent training and proper rest, you WILL get there.


One Comment Add yours

  1. kikerchef says:

    Oh brother- you are now wiser as well as older! 🙂


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