This past Saturday morning, after two years of Crossfitting from my garage, I came to one of the toughest health based decisions in my life— I had to set aside what I love to do for the betterment of my body and stop Crossfitting.
For the past several months I’ve been dealing with horrible back spams that at times have been debilitating. Low back pain is something I’ve struggled with for the past 10 years but this was not that. These spasms were in the middle of my back along the spine and any time I tried to move my hip or twist, the muscles would spasm and nearly drop me to my knees. At first they’d go away after a few days but they’d come back after a month or so. This last time, however, my back never recovered. The muscles stayed in a constant state of instability.
Important lesson learned: Listen to your body.
I tried everything. I looked at my diet. Was I eating too much sodium or not enough? Was I dehydrated? I stretched my lower body (back pain can be attributed to tight leg muscles). I even tried using different shoes, thinking the lower heel of my new shoe was causing my whole body to be thrown off (which can happen). Maybe the 15 lbs I gained during my wife’s pregnancy (which I’ve lost 8 lbs of the 16) is the cause? Nope. Nothing worked. Not even losing weight.
So after my back went out again on Friday night I had finally had enough. CrossFit had to go.
Note: I’m not blaming CrossFit.
Why? Cause it works. My back issues are not the fault of Crossfit. CF didn’t make me gain 100 lbs from 2002-2009. CF didn’t make me ignore my lower body and back while losing weight. It’s not CF’s fault I was born with tight hips and hamstrings.
There are a lot of articles out there full of uneducated people writing uneducated things trying to discredit CrossFit. Look, if you read some “articles” or watch youtube videos of people doing stupid things while CrossFitting and that’s the basis of your opinion, well I have no words for you. Don’t even listen to people who tried CF for a few weeks or months and gave up.
I’ve been doing CF for two years and I can tell you there is no better approach to Strength and Conditioning for the layman. But just like with everything in life, CrossFit isn’t for everyone. Sure, I could have scaled back some of the movements and made it work, but to me, that would defeat the purpose. I want to progress in my training, not go backwards. In the great words of Winston Churchhill, “Whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”.
So I have to listen to my body. If my back can’t handle the constant stress that CF places on it (which is not a CF problem), the decision is simple — I have to stop.
So what’s next? Traditional weightlifting, I suppose.
I’m sad because that style of training is outdated and boring to me. Doing back and bi and chest and tri days makes me yawn, not excited. I’ve spent 700 days being constantly challenged and pushed to my limits. So moving from “Three rounds for time” to “3 sets of 8” is like going from eating steak daily to eating McDonalds.
But I’ll figure it out. I’ve been researching and trying to get my mind right. I’ll take what I learned in CF, apply it to my new routine and hopefully my back issues subside. I’m going to start getting monthly deep tissue massages. I’ll do more twisting ab workouts to help strength the muscles that are spasming and if that doesn’t work I’ll try something else.
If I learned one thing while losing 100 lbs it was that you have to try everything and find out what works best. I simply refuse to be beaten by muscles. I refuse to take medication to “heal” my back. I will do whatever it takes and I will not surrender. It’s just not in me.