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The Sins of My Youth. The Pangs of The Present.

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I was once young and dumb and full of ummm….. well, you get the picture.

I was also gym rat.

In my younger years, I worked as a bouncer in nightclubs 4-5 nights a week and hit the gym religiously 5-6 days a week. Nothing got in the way of my training. My alarm was set to go off mid sleep so I could get up and gulp a protein shake to keep me from going into a catabolic state. I trained hard and ate a lot. My food and protein powder bill each month was about the same as my rent.

 

Mondays and Thursdays were leg day. Heavy Back Squats. Descending reps, 10-8-6-4-2-2-2-2. Increasing weight. Hamstring curls, lying or single leg standing curls. Leg extensions in sets that seemed like 100 reps. Hack Squats or Leg Press as heavy as possible. When I couldn’t load more weight on the Leg Press I’d put a barbell across it and load it up to add more weight. Calf raises both standing and seated. I was strong. I loved leg day.

Tuesdays and Fridays were Chest, Shoulders and Triceps. Flat Bench. Incline Bench. Decline Bench. Dumbell Flys. Pec Deck. Side Raises. Front Raises. Rear Delt Raises. Seated Smith Machine Shoulder Press. Tricep Extensions, Press Downs, Skull Crushers. Had to get swole and stronger.

Wednesdays and Saturdays were Back and Biceps with equally grueling methods of overtraining. 2+ hours in the gym each and every day.

I was a monster. I walked around solid and ripped at 215 pounds with  7-8% body fat. Back Squatted 500 for singles. Benched 315 for reps and maxed out the Lat Pulldown and had to add weights to the stack to get a good workout.

And, this is where it all began.

The beginning of my injuries that is.

Sets of 225 Decline Bench Presses on the Smith Machine. I remember that day well. The next morning I awoke, in pain, and could not raise my left arm. At all. I had to get helped getting dressed to go to the doctor, as I couldn’t move my arm enough even to put on my underwear. That was 20 years ago.

A very expensive MRI later, I didn’t have health insurance at the time, I was diagnosed with impingement syndrome. A severe impingement. The space in my shoulder joint was jammed up, swollen and reduced to the point I couldn’t move my arm. Cortisone. More Cortisone. Pain. Pushing through it to keep lifting weights at the gym.

My first serious (actually needing surgery) injury was a Bicep Tendon tear on you guessed it, my left arm, about 5 years later. Expensive surgery again, still no health insurance, and my bicep was surgically reattached with kevlar.

It was a sign of things to come.

Fast forward to now.

People look at me now, lighter at 195 pounds, weaker in some areas, stronger in other areas and more surgeries later and tell me that CrossFit is dangerous.

It isn’t.

Have I had injuries since I started CrossFit and opened up CrossFit Hell’s Kitchen in 2010?

Yes, I have.

Have the injuries been because of CrossFit.

No.

I am scheduled for surgery next week. Two actually. One to fix a small hernia I developed when I was squatting 500 in my youth and another to fix the rotator cuff that was initially injured 20 years ago from the shoulder impingement.

These have flared up recently, not due to CrossFit though. Owning and running this place, I rarely have time to get a workout. The injuries are because of the abuse of my body when I was younger and didn’t know any better.

Had I known about CrossFit then, I would not have trained like I had, and I would not have had the injuries I sustained.

It isn’t CrossFit to blame, but actually the lack of CrossFit, and my foolish training that have me where I am now.

The sins of my youth have caught up with me and it is CrossFit now, which has me avoiding any further sins in my older and wiser years.