Am I pushing myself too hard?

I am currently training 6 days a week, some of those days are made up of multiple workout classes including Zumba, Kickboxing, BJJ, physical therapy, cardio and strength training. I take Sunday as a rest and recovery day. Well actually, I’m not training at all this week because I hurt my neck, but up until Monday that was the schedule.

I know that there is a difference between being sore and being in pain. There is a difference between getting a bruise and the pain that comes with a real injury. I have been pushing my body really hard for a really long time and over the years I’ve sustained a good deal of life altering injuries. None of which I’ve opted to have surgery for, I’ve just lived with them.

Let’s examine some of my current injuries and birth deformities. So I have a bulging/herniated disc on C3 of my upper spine. My lower back is often in pain and goes into spasm randomly. I have a labral tear on right shoulder. My wrists don’t bend upward, pronate is the word I believe the surgeon said. I have part of my shin bone sticking out of my right leg and I have some mild arthritis on my ankles. My feet flair out like a duck and that has caused other alignment problems. Finally, I am really, really, really tight. That more or less sums up what I’m working with. I have never let those injuries or birth defects stop me from training. However, this neck pain was really nasty and I had no choice but to take a seat for a minute. It’s getting better day by day, but I’m still resting it.

Recently, I’ve bumped up the number of jujitsu classes I take from 3 to 4 and I’ve also added 2 extra kickboxing classes to the mix. I love them all and I enjoy them very much. But I have recently noticed that the kickboxing classes really aggravate my lower back pain due to my very sad attempts at kicking. My body is very tight and I really struggle trying to get these hammy legs up. This creates back pain which then affects my ability to perform in the jujitsu classes. Furthermore, the fact that BJJ is so neck intensive has also aggravated my neck injury. Ah yes, to be young and injury free versus the joys of getting old.

Last week right after kickboxing while in bjj my lower back was killing me. I still felt strong and knew that I could keep grinding it out, but my back was trashed. This created the problem of doing things to avoid the back pain and compensating in other areas. At one point, we were doing a double leg take down and I kept getting slammed on my back over and over again. This was not fun and I felt that I was reaching the point where I could seriously hurt myself due to the pain. At one point I actually felt like crying and running out of there, but I didn’t, I’m as stubborn as a mule and I don’t give up or stop once I’ve started. Mind you, I didn’t tap during my MMA fight, that was a ref stoppage.

My main goal here is to learn jujitsu and improve my health and fitness. I can’t do that if I am injured or sidelined. As we speak, I have taken this week off because I tweaked my neck really badly due to chokes and neck pressure. As I mentioned before, many BJJ techniques rely heavily on manipulating the neck. I felt it hurt a few days before I was out of commission, but I insisted on continuing to train and that put me over the edge. I have been barely able to move my neck this whole week and I have been in excruciating pain. I had no choice but to sit out the week, I’m hoping to be back next week though I fully intend to avoid any headlock/guillotine/choke days for the time being.

I paid for an unlimited membership for the month and I will try to ride it out this next week. But my long term plan is to cut down on the number of BJJ classes I take and shift some of that focus over to hot yoga classes. I do some light stretching but clearly I cannot be trusted to take the stretching into my own hands. I require a class instruction environment and the structure it brings. I am going to start treating Yoga the same way I treat any other form of training as opposed to some supplemental back end crap that I do occassionally. I should have probably listened to everyone who’s warned me over the years and started doing this decades ago. But hey, better later than never.

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