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Training After Injury: The Road to Rehabilitation

A couple of years ago, I suffered from a pretty bad neck injury. It was during All Star Weekend 2016 in Toronto, which, you may recall, was one of the coldest weekends that winter. I was walking down the street when all of a sudden my neck locked on the left side. I felt pain all the way down to my shoulder and couldn’t move.

The exact cause still isn’t known, though after seeing my current physiotherapist, I learned it wasn’t my neck that was the issue, it was my weak rotator cuffs that were the source of the problem. My neck was compensating for what my rotator cuff couldn’t do.

But I didn’t get to the source of the problem that easily — I went through rounds of physio with another therapist initially, only to have the right side of my neck completely lock after a treatment. After that, I ended my sessions with that therapist, attempting to just get through the pain on my own. However, any time I tried to work out, my neck would get close to locking again. 2016, in that sense, was tough for me. Ninety per cent of the reason I exercise regularly is for my mood. Having been diagnosed with depression years ago, I’ve learned that working out is what really keeps my mood in check… remove that from the equation, and, well, all goes downhill.

Thankfully, I found my current physio in September of that year, and began to strengthen my rotator cuffs, in turn, relieving the pain in my neck. Because of him, I’ve been able to start exercising again… but there are times when I feel my neck wanting to act up again.

Which brings me to the here and now, January 2018. At the end of last year, Equinox offered me personal training sessions with a Tier-3+ trainer (a.k.a. one of the highest levels of trainers available), and, of course, I jumped at the opportunity (if you recall, Emilie Dingfeld, FASHION‘s health editor, did the Tier 3 training experience before and said it was totally worth it).

Going into it, I was nervous. Sure, I work out regularly and consider myself physically fit, but an Equinox trainer is a totally different ball game… especially when it’s Roy Chan, someone with *ahem* very good social klout. However, the pairing couldn’t have been more perfect — take a look at Roy’s Instagram page, and you’ll see he’s a stickler for proper form, which is exactly what I need. For me, personal training isn’t just about getting in the best shape of my life (though, I wouldn’t mind that either) — it’s about taking advantage of the trainer’s expertise, finding my body’s weaknesses and imbalances, and working towards strengthening and correcting them, respectively. It’s also about learning how to do exercises correctly to avoid any injuries in the future.

For the next six weeks, I’ll be working towards reaching the following goals with Roy’s help:

  • being able to work out without irritating my neck and right SI joint (another issue I’ve had for years)
  • increasing upper body strength, measured by being able to do one full chin-up and at least five push-ups off the ground.
  • working on improving my diet and nutrition.

Oh, and I’ll be documenting it all (yes, the good, the bad and the ugly) here on for your reading pleasure. Next week, you’ll read about my first meeting with Roy, which involved him literally pinching my fat and measuring it with some contraption. You won’t want to miss it, trust.

Until then… see you here next week!

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