Recovering from Injury; “We Can Rebuild Him”

We can rebuild him!

Thanks to

“We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better, stronger, faster.”

– Oscar Goldman

Recovering from an injury, short term or long term can be both a physically and mentally debilitating process. You might feel that you’ve reverted to a long and happily  forgotten position after rising to a particularly good place; or you may feel that goals you’d set are further away than they’ve ever been. You might tell yourself that you can never recover what you’d had or wanted to attain. Below, is a story from Grant, one of our athletes in CrossFit Watford. He requested an article on recovering from injury, having been knocked back over the last half year, having been operated on, and now focusing on getting back to his prime:

“I found CrossFit in January 2016, my aim was to lose a few kilos I had added after quitting smoking. Not only did I manage to shed the unwanted weight, I also developed a greater zest for life and confidence. I found a new job (leaving one I was ‘comfortable’ with) and pursued my studies with a renewed vigour (I was ready to call it quits at one point). These are just a couple examples of the impact the CrossFit Watford community had on me. All was going well, until 5 months ago when I sustained an injury. Cue several months of zero sleep, literally. An intense burning sensation started around my shoulder and ran all the way down my left arm into my fingers. Coupled with this, was a pain I can only describe as having knocked the ‘funny bone’ part of the elbow – 24/7!! After a time my palm, thumb, forefinger & forearm were numb. Oh, to top it off I couldn’t straighten my arm. My outlet had been taken away from me & felt like I was no longer part of the team. Instead the necessary pain of rehab, self doubt, negative thinking and anger of what had happened took over. Rehab started to get ‘easier’ and I finally had surgery last week to release a compressed nerve (on a side note – God Bless the frontline staff of the NHS). It is going to be months before full feeling & movement is restored in my hand. Further tests are also needed to resolve the numbness in my forearm. The surgeon is happy for me to start light training again & encouraged me to keep moving. On one hand, I am over the moon as I have missed training so much. But, on the other is the thought of re-injuring myself & the associated pain. On top of this is the negative thinking of ‘you can’t break the bad habits again’ – habits such as the crappy diet & the longer than needed lay in. How am I going to lift a bar above my head again?? I know I’ll get over the doubt eventually. This is just another obstacle to get over & we ALL have our own individual obstacles – I just need to do it…”

So that’s Grant’s story.


Stay Positive, see Opportunities. Perhaps the hardest part, but the most important. Whatever your goals, life is a journey; we might want to get there that little bit quicker but life may have other plans for you. The trick is to see the opportunities around you at each step. I’ve written this in previous posts but an injury is an opportunity. It may be an opportunity to work on other areas of your game that you’d not had time to focus on before. It could be a chance to really specialise in another aspect. It is certainly the time to establish a pathway to coming back stronger, fitter, faster than you were before, especially strengthening the area of the injury.


Re-Discover your “Why”. You started down this path for a reason. What was it? Does your “Why” still hold true? Be as passionate now about your journey as you were when you first walked through that door and begun building the new, better, faster, stronger you.

Goal-Setting. When you have your “Why”, start to break it down in to manageable, achievable, relevant chunks. Ask a trained coach for advice on helping you to build your new path to your goal. Sure, it might now not be the path you were once on (although, it may be), but the important thing is the end; what it is that you really want to achieve and why? The road that gets you there is not the goal in itself, it’s the way. Noone spends a day travelling to stunning mountain ranges only to comment, “well, wasn’t that lovely tarmac, I really enjoyed the motorway services!”.


Take it Slow. Depending on the nature of your injury, this is going to be a slow process. Accept it from the outset and get over it. It doesn’t mean that you’re not going to get back to your best – you can. This just means that human bodies take time to heal and it can be frustrating; see “Stay Positive” above – there’s an opportunity in this. What’s worse than the injury? Re-injury.


Get the Community on board. I firmly and whole-heartedly believe in the power of the community. There is nothing as miserable in the fitness world as training alone. It’s proper shit. Sure, there might be times when it is unavoidable, but generally there is beauty and strength in facing a challenge together. I have always loved CrossFit for this reason. As a coach, I see it in the faces of our athletes every time they step on to the floor; the banter, the nervousness, helping each other out, cheering each other on, and the shared relief at the end. In Grant’s case, despite the injury, we’ve seen him in the box regularly, adapting movements, training other areas, doing different workouts to everyone else, but still there joining in with everyone. This is critical, in my view. Don’t stay away and go through it alone, get the team included in your journey.


Listen to your Coaches / Specialists. We are exceptionally fortunate in CrossFit Watford to have some genuine talent in the coaches. not least the physiotherapists and movement specialists that coach (and the technically talented athletes too!). Listen to your coaches and specialists. They know what they are talking about and, as I overheard earlier this week, if they don’t then they will not bullshit you, they will seek specialist advice on your behalf. As coaches, it is our goal to see success in others, as odd as that might be for a goal. Your recovery and rehabilitation, your achievements, your wins are our goals.

You’re not Alone, You’re Inspiring. Your recovery, done well, will inspire others. We all get injured, we all have set-backs. Seeing someone recover positively from an injury is inspirational and gives fuel to us all when faced with similar problems. So really, we should Thank You for getting injured, you’re doing us a service! 😉




Power Play with Diane. Leon for dinner.

You (All) Motivate Me.

After last night’s “not 100% effort” and ongoing concerns about the lack of short, highly intense,  power pathway (1 of 3 metabolic pathways in sport) workouts, I rose this morning determined to redress the balance.

Well…that’s almost accurate. My first thoughts on staring out in to the dark, North London dinge were, “reset alarm for later, snooze…..” and “I ain’t getting out of this bed for that!” But out if bed I did crawl, sloth – like,  to the bathroom. You know why I got out of bed early today? 2 reasons. The first is the ever present,  persistent voice of my Dad telling me to keep moving; the second is YOU.  All of you out there who read this. I found myself thinking,  “what will they think if I’m too lazy to put the effort in?!”. The blogs I read from you all, and the pressure to stick to my own narrative, motivate me. So thank you!

Waking fully by the time I hit the gym mats, I stared up at the list of “Girls”. With a crook ankle, all dynamic movements are out, including running and  Olympic lifting.  I’ve hit a few of the bodyweight ones recently too and they wouldn’t really cut it for my Power Thirst. Scanning down, I saw “Diane”.

For Time:


  • Deadlifts @ 100kg
  • Handstand Push Ups

Last thrashing this lady aboard a ship while on deployment in 2014, she was ripe for a beating. After a good warm up and mobility work, I charged onward! 

Time : 5:49 Rx

Unbroken in first 21 Deadlifts, I accidentally broke the HSPU at 16. 15 Double Unders were broken at 7 and 10 – disappointing.  15 HSPU unbroken.  9 Deadlifts,  unbroken. 9 HSPU broken at 6. This was almost a full minute slower than my best but still 84th percentile on Beyond The Whiteboard so I’m actially very happy! 0630hrs, 2 years older and just half a banana for food.


PreWOD: half a banana

Breakfast: Banana Nut Butter Protein Cake 

Lunch: catered food.

Lunch during a meeting…..

Dinner : 

Leon @ Victoria

Chicken Hot Box with “Green” drink

Dinner was definitely the highlight. We’ve been planning on visiting Leon “Naturally Fast Food” for a while and I reckon the walk from Westminster to Victoria was worth it. Friendly,  fun staff on entry,  a broad menu, mostly gluten-free (my daughter has coeliac disease) and about as ‘healthy’ as it’s possible to get for a fast food place. I had the chicken hot box with chilli sauce and “Green drink”. The meal was hot,  generously portioned (although I’d have preferred less rice and more salad), and well presented. It tasted excellent, far better than I expected for the speed it was served. The drink tasted of apple but there was quite obviously hidden healthiness in there too,  such as spinach and / or kale.  It also cost the same as a McDonald’s meal on the same road.