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! 😉




Go Away, Come Back Tomorrow

Injured this morning. Again. Didn’t have time to type, so wrote instead.


Annual Fitness Test, Christmas Build-Up

He who has no Christmas in his Heart

will find No Christmas under the Tree.


It’s that time of year once more.

Basic Fitness Test, Annual.

In Combat Boots, Trousers and T-Shirt.

  • 50 x Sit Ups
  • 5 x Dead Hang Pull Ups (Strict)
  • 1.5 mile Run in 15 mins
  • 1.5 mile Run Best Effort (under 11.5 mins)

It’s not particularly arduous and I’ve obviously never failed it…..but by Odin’s Beard is it daunting! Despite never having come close to failing on this test in 16 years, it’s still the one event each year that fills me with apprehension. I should also put this a little in to context; for my age group, I actually have 13 mins for that second 1.5 miles! I also only have to do 30 x Sit Ups and 3 x Pull Ups. The standard that I will continue to achieve is actually the 18-29 year old standard. As the job changes, so the route for this changes too. Today, it was within the grounds of an extremely plush private school, along a straight 400m stretch of tarmac. This meant that every 400m was a slow-down-turn-speed-up; not ideal. While this was my slowest time in a while, it was still under the 10.5 min target that I always set myself. I even had to stop to tie up my boot laces with 600m to go! I’ve heard that the fitness test is being reviewed and I’ll be intrigued to see what it becomes; obviously, as long as it only gets harder and not easier, I’ll be a happy man.

A year older, no less fit.


Ok, it’s not. It’s 30 Nov (unless I fail to get this out on time), but I am feeling it! The fitness test today was done under clear blue winter skies, with thick frost still on the ground (at 1000hrs), my breath was practically forming snow as it escaped my heaving lungs and I definitely had that Christmassy tingle. Boom! Love it!

CrossFit Watford 1930 Session


5-3-1 Deadlift (aiming for 1RM)

5 x 120 / 3 x 140 / 1 x 160 / 1 x 180kg

Ok, so not my 1RM (200kg) but also not bad form either. Sure, Charlie did pick me up for a slightly rounded upper back and so that’s where I stopped. Could I have forced another 10kg, almost certainly but there would have been no point. Lifting such heavy weights without good form is not strength, it’s idiocy and I’ve been there before. Therefore, I am very happy with more than double bodyweight and good form.


5 Rounds For Time:

  • 6 x Handstand Push Ups
  • 12 x Pull Ups
  • 24 x Overhead Lunges @ 15kg

Time: 10 min precisely


First two rounds were unbroken throughout and I was exceptionally pleased; the handstand push ups were strict too. During the third round, the HSPU became 3 strict + 3 kipping, the pullups broke in to 8+4 while the lunges remained unbroken. The fourth round was well controlled with 2 x strict HSPU and 4 x kipping, the pull ups were 6+3+3 and the lunges 18+6. And then, during the fifth round, after 6 kipping HSPU, 6+6 Pull Ups and 20 x overhead lunges, the top of my thigh went, “POP”, I fell to the ground and felt a lump close to my hip. With 9:50 on the clock, I got back up and finished the last 4 overhead lunges before allowing myself to collapse back down. Ok, it was stupid, I know that. I just couldn’t let myself finish like that. As it was, I shortened the lunges and did no further damage.


Ice / Hot / Ice / Hot, rinse, repeat. Rest overnight, we’ll see how it is in the morning. Do as I say, don’t do as I do! In all honesty, dear readers, it’s fine. I didn’t push it and sitting here writing this, there is no pain, just a weird sensation – not a bad one though.

Do NOT put yourself at further risk like that. When your body tells you to stop, bloody well listen to it.

Back to Work, Bank Holiday Weekend, Injury, Fitness Throughout

Get Knocked Down.

Jump Back Up.


My last post was about my injury and pushing on regardless. Since then I’ve been icing my ankle, heating it up, icing it, heating and strapping it. I’ve maintained my squat programme in the mornings (even on Bank Holiday Monday) and that’s going pretty damned well so far.  That said, it’s not healed and neither should it have done by now. I’ve learned a lot about the benefits of patience; I am 37 though so perhaps there’s a case to be argued that I’ve been pretty thick skinned, stubborn and a bit dim!!

Team NomadCelt had a truly fantastic Bank Holiday weekend in London, 5 of us doing the tourist thing on an ‘Original Bus Tour’ for 2 days, eating sweets, walking in the rain, searing in the city heat, visiting the landmarks, playing in parks……. Not to be seen as the lazy one round here though,  I didn’t welch on the Nomadic fitness! (I did go in to Lillywhites and buy myself an ankle support though!! – oh, and some swimming ear plugs and a bright green swimming hat – videos to follow this coming weekend!)


Check out my Twitter page at: or my YouTube Channel at:  – if the videos above don’t work.



Anyway, on to this week, “Stop Boring Me!” I can hear you cry out!

Yep, yesterday morning I was up at 0600 for Week 2 of my Squat Programme (3 mornings a week):

  • 6 x 4 Back Squat @ 102.5kg
  • 6 x 2 Front Squat @ 92.5kg
  • 6 x 5 Back Squat @ 102.5kg

No Sh!t, squat programmes are HARD! I love that feeling, knowing there’s another set coming and each set takes everything I’ve got. I love that feeling, walking out and back to my room for breakfast, having to force my legs in to regular, non-jelly walking motion. This is going to work and I LOVE IT!

On to today though and I was going to get up at 0600 but decided to let my ankle rest; the thousands of steps walking around London over the weekend (Mrs Nomad FitBit’d it) put a bit of a strain on my ankle and it needed a break.

Not for long though! Out to CF Watford tonight for:


Yoke Farmer’s Walk 4 x 25m

120 / 140 / 150 / 180kg

I walked 25m with 180kg! Hell yeah! Love it!


4 Rounds for Time:

  • 10 x Pull Ups
  • 15 x Thruster @ 42.5kg
  • 200m Run
  • 25 x KB Swing @ 24kg
  • 2 min Rest

Time: 19:39 Rx

I had to take it relatively easy on the run, which was annoying, but I tried to make up for it with completely unbroken rounds. I almost made it too but the Thrusters in round 4 were cut up in to a 9 and a 6. I feel like I let myself down a bit but I know it’s not the case.

More squatting tomorrow morning…….can’t wait!!


I only mentioned this because it has been laughable, as you can imagine with summer holidays and then a superb bank holiday weekend. Fear not, fellow bloggers and readers, it’ll be back on the clean eating wagon now. More to follow.

Injured? Don’t Stop, Switch

An injury is an opportunity.

I’ll keep it brief this evening. The ankle injury is……..sore… you can see.


But it’s not the end of my training. It’s not even a pause. After repeated hot/col treatments last night, I was up at 0630hrs for 15mins of hot water treatment followed by 15 mins of ice before compressing it in to military boots and strapping it down for the next few hours.

Same over lunch – hot, cold, repeat.

Undetered by injury, I headed down to CF NWD to see what they were up to tonight. Box Jumps, Overhead lunges, Jumping…..Not for me tonight. What did I say last night though (go on, go back and read yesterday’s post, I’ll wait here……..)

You back? Cool. I said that an injury is an opportunity to work other areas and so it was that I decided to focus on a little handstand work and then Angie.


For Time

  • 100 x Pull Ups
  • 100 x Push Ups
  • 100 x Sit Ups
  • 100 x Squats

Time: 19:39 Rx

2 secs off my PR!! Goddamn it! If I’d been watching the clock properly…..grrr…..anyway, Pull Ups REALLY slowed me down (hence a good opportunity to work on them), coming in at 8 mins for those. Push Ups were extremely poor after yesterday’s 150+. Sit Ups were completely unbroken and the squats were…measured due to the ankle. All in all, with injury and fatigue, I was over the moon with this! BOOM!


Do you have a repeating injury?

What did you do to train during your last injury?

Let me know.

Back In! Overcoming the ‘Return to Work, Return to the Gym’ – and immediate injury.

When life gives you lemons……


Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

3 weeks of general awesomeness over the summer……and the inevitable return to work this morning (well, late last night). We all face it (I assume)…..that same pit-of-the-stomach ‘back to school’ feeling we used to get as children after a holiday. Driving back to Watford last night, the calm, relaxed, contemplatative NomadCelt was swiftly reverting to the same snarling beast I’d been on the journey home 3 weeks ago! Traffic jams, irate drivers, pointless hold-ups and still no iPod!! (I must get this fixed sharpish!). Honestly though, it wasn’t the traffic at all, it was the general “hurrumph!” at having to return to work after a great summer break. Why can’t all life be travelling, swimming, sand castles and ice cream?! (don’t answer that one!).

And so it was with surprisingly buoyancy that I leapt out of bed at 0555 this morning, after a pretty rotten sleep plagued by the thought of a 137 message inbox awaiting me, scoffed down some nuts, grabbed a black Carte Noire Petite Dejeuner coffee and strolled over to the gym for the new morning programme.

Morning Squat Routine

@ 80% of 1RM (or slightly less in order to maintain volume)

  • 6 x 2 Front Squat (92.5 kg)
  • 6 x 3 Back Squat (102.5kg)
  • 6 x 2 Front Squat (92.5kg)

Dropping the weights by 5kg from my attempt at this 4 weeks ago, I was able to get all lifts in (not easily) within 35 mins, without a belt and with stable form; I do need to ensure decent sleep though if I am going to be cracking this alongside CF Watford programming too. This programme is courtesy of

And so it was with a feeling of confidence that I arrived at CF Watford this evening full of beans and Olympic levels of motivation. 600m gentle jog as part of the warm up. 300m around and my left ankle went out under me, twisting as it did so with a wrenching feeling and an immediate sinking feeling in my heart. This is not the first time, far from it. This ankle has been the bane of my military career. It rolls perhaps once a year quite seriously; it being so utterly weak, I’m used to it and am usually up ‘not running’ in about a week or so.

I am gutted. Thoughts of a new obstacle race, the Plymouth 10km or any triathlon have just evaporated once again.

make a bloody great gin and tonic……


It would be too easy to be despondent about this and just not train. However, it’s an opportunity to train other areas. I can’t run but I can row and cycle. I can’t squat at the moment but I can work my upper body and perhaps reattack the handstand push ups that I’ve lost or the muscle ups that I’ve become slack at. I have to accept that I’m never going to be a runner again but perhaps could get good on a bike or at swimming.

I should point out that the WOD didn’t stop for me, oh no. Instead of Rowing, I used the Assault Bike (wish I’d rowed!!) and instead of wall balls, I did pushups – a lot of push ups!

Right now though, it’s Mobility, Hot Bath, Compression and Elevation. I’m not a fan of icing an injury, it’s never made sense to me. Sure, you numb the area but that’s because you’ve constricted blood flow….blood flow that is increasing to an area in order to protect and heal it. Surely the best thing to do is increase protection and healing? Hot bath for me please!


Mon 15 Feb 16 – Broken-up Cindy

With my knee in bits, scattered somewhere on the box floor, I was pleased to see a broken-up version of Cindy appear on the board last night. While I am getting very nervous at the lack of any time on the barbell, the increased opportunity for upper body work, gymnastics and rowing is one to be seized. Sure, I think I’ll suffer with any heavy work during the Open but I can use this time now to improve conditioning.

So, as is the norm, I crawled out of bed after a rubbish night’s sleep and staggered to the car with the ice scraper in one hand and coffee in the other. The box was freezing when we got in this morning and there was a little too much lethargy from some for my liking. I had them running around quite a bit to warm up and really tried to get them engaged but sticking hands in pockets was far more of an attractive option, apparently. My own coaching style may need a revisit.

Taking time to focus on the mechanics of the Pull Up, Squat and Push Up is underrated. I think the guys got a lot out of revisiting the basics; working on good breathing technique and positioning to allow good breathing was eye-opening to them. We worked on pull up technique using bands and jumps; breaking down egos is hard in this regard but with so few people there, and with it being so early in the morning, their egos hadn’t really woken up so we got around that.


For Time:

  • 10 x Pull Ups
  • 25 x Squats / 5 x Push Ups
  • 10 x Pull Ups
  • 20 x Squats / 5 x Push Ups
  • 10 x Pull Ups
  • 15 x Squats / 15 x Push Ups
  • 10 x Pull Ups
  • 10 x Squats / 20 x Push Ups
  • 10 x Pull Ups
  • 5 x Squats / 25 x Push Ups

Time: 6:55 RX

All pull ups were unbroken as a combination of butterfly and regular kipping. The squats were unbroken and perhaps performed a little too slowly but I’m heavily majoring in strengthening my knee right now so, “slowly, slowly” was the mantra. The Push Ups were unbroken through 1,2,3 but broken in the final 2 rounds; I even had to resort to wide-arm push ups for the final 10. Considering I’m not long back from shoulder issues, I am pleased though.

The final 20 mins were spent focusing on barbell skills with the guys. Due to the nature of the programming that they insist on typically following, there is little time for them to practice skills so we really made the most of this. Covering Snatch, Power Clean and Back Squats also allowed me to sharpen up my own movement coaching skills too.