How breaking my foot was a good thing

Posted by Andrea Lawson in Training

BREAKING MY FOOT WAS A GOOD THING: OK before I go any further, I want to be clear – breaking my foot was the worst. I mean, not being able to drive myself to work or walk my dog, hopping around trying to cook dinner, attempting to train clients, and constantly having to ask people for help was extremely frustrating. Not to mention, humbling. But – as with most things in life – it’s in times of adversity that you learn the most. How did I break my foot you ask?  I was un-racking my squat rack when a 25 pound plate slipped from my fingertips.  It landed directly on my 4th metatarsal.  A quick trip to emerge (my workout partner was conveniently a nurse at Richmond General—my saving grace to say the least) and the break was confirmed.

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6 weeks in crutches, followed by another 4 weeks in a walking boot…gave me the worlds smallest right calf.  I lost 4 cm of muscle in both my quad and calf after the first 3 weeks.

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Breaking my foot gave me perspective, taught me new habits, and gave me a greater appreciation for many new things.

Perspective:

Most of us have it so easy and don’t even realize it because we’re so caught up with our own lives. For many of us, the possibilities are endless if we just TRY. We have the ability to make changes without – in a lot of cases – having to put forth all that much effort and most of us take that for granted (including me). When I broke my foot I could have really easily felt sorry for myself and concentrated on the negative aspects of the situation. But I knew that wouldn’t have helped me in the slightest. So instead, I focused on the things that I knew that I could do to make the best of it, like:

  • Develop the strength of my left glute thanks to all of the hopping around I was doing.
  • Ask for help… this is a hard one for most, but let me tell you, it’s liberating when you do it. I am incredibly lucky to have so many amazing people in my life that not only didn’t think twice about helping me out when I asked, but – in a number of cases – also offered, insisted or literally showed up at my door to help me. When you’re down on your luck, it’s the help from your friends that gets you through it. So it’s important to not be afraid to ask for help when you need it and offer it when you can. Make this a daily occurrence, I now do.
  • Jack up my upper body strength. Since I couldn’t do any (or very limited) lower body strength training activities while injured, I took the opportunity to focus on my upper body and core – working on my imbalances and strengths, and throwing in some isolation work just for fun J
 
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  • Watch my calorie intake. Following my injury, my activity level dropped dramatically, so I reduced my portions accordingly. Far too often people don’t do this when they get hurt and end up frustrated by weight gain. I made a point not to become one of those people, and you should too if you ever find yourself faced with injury. Which I course hope you don’t.
  • And finally, embrace it. I broke my right foot in the summer and was unable to drive, which meant I always had someone to shop and do errands with, and was never stuck being the DD… which of course, was AWESOME 😉
 
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Once I was able to weight bear again I had gained a new appreciation for having two functioning legs. I of course will continue to appreciate all the things that I learned while injured, but have welcomed back all of the things that I am able to do again now that my foot has healed… like lower body strength training! And boy do I have some work to do to get back to where I was.

New Habits:

Not being able to actively coach our clients and athletes freed up a lot of time for me. I used my new found time to start to focus on business development and working on strategies to make BIM operate more efficiently. I essentially took a step back and now have a clear picture of what I want to accomplish at BIM over the next 5 years. One of the things that I plan to do is spend more time developing my already awesome staff! During my time of reflection I realized that spending more time with staff, would enable me to help more people in the long run. I love being on the floor training – it’s my passion – but I’ve come to realize that it’s only part of my responsibility. When it comes to running a successful business, I have to spread my time accordingly. Another new habit that I picked up while injured was time management. I am the worst for running around like a crazy person trying to fit a ton of things into one day. When I broke my foot I had to slow down, (literally) and work around whoever was helping me’s schedule. A great lesson for me. It’s funny – despite the fact that I was moving slower and working on other people’s watch, I still managed to get everything done. Best part? I was able to do it in less time! I’ve come to realize that when you’re scattered and rushed you end up wasting time and in many cases, expend energy on being stressed. Thanks to the lessons that I’ve learned, I now take time on Monday to organize my week, as well as start each morning off by jotting down a list of the tasks that I need to accomplish that day – which has left me with a little extra time to breathe.

The third thing I learned while injured, was to only be productive when I have to be. I use to feel like I could only be productive if I had 20 things to do and no time to do them. I described myself as either being “on” or “off” – and generally on my busiest days I was “on”. I now realize that this is a misleading mindset. Being productive and being overwhelmed are not the same thing. As simple as it seems, I think it’s worth mentioning. If you improve your work habits and become more efficient and task-orientated, your overall productivity will skyrocket! It takes a bit of discipline and planning, but it’s so worth it.

Finally I learned how important it was (is) to surround yourself with successful, positive and motivated people. This is single handedly the best way to improve your quality of life. By purging the negative people in your life you will have more time to work on yourself and to spend time with the people that bring positivity into your life. Not to sound selfish, but I think that we should spend more time on personal development and helping others, and less time bitching… or listening to others bitch 😉

Appreciate the important things:

I know this is not new advice, but most of us don’t truly appreciate the important things in our lives until they are taken away from us. I make a point to be grateful for the things that I feel are easy to take for granted – like my health, my family and friends, Ellie (my dog), or doing the things that I love etc. It’s important to get excited about life and do more of what you love. It’s key to your happiness! For me walking my dog, working out, cooking, and spending time with my family and friends are the things that I look forward to; but that wasn’t always the case. Before I injured myself, I often thought of all of the above as chores – things that I had to do, but never felt like I had the time to do them. However, with a slight change of attitude and a little organization I realized that these are the things I need in my life to make me happy. It may sound ridiculous, but it makes me insanely happy to see my dog enjoy a park or to spend a little extra time in the kitchen so I can enjoy quality food ALL the time.

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Thanks to my new lease on life, I also now have a greater appreciation for each and everyone one of my friends and family members – now valuing their unique personalities and characteristics. By recognizing, then learning to appreciate the important things in your life you will be able to find happiness in the seemingly mundane as well. For me it took going through a rough patch to step back and re-focus my energy, but there’s no reason why you can’t take that step now. I’m hoping that by sharing my experience I have inspired you to reflect on your life and figure out what you need to do today to be more happy, successful, and a better person than you were yesterday.  We all have the tools inside us to make that happen.

Enjoy today and look forward to tomorrow! Andrea xo

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