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Getting Back on the Grind

Finding your groove again can be tough after taking a break from training.


Everyone will miss some time in his or her training. Maybe you just take a planned weekend off from time to time or have to travel for work. Maybe you “tweak” something or rest a little extra after a competition. Whatever the reason, inevitably, you’re going to take off or need a break from your CrossFit workouts.

It’s ironic that when I travel to cover CrossFit events, or work with some of the fittest humans on the planet it’s very difficult to get any training in myself. As a result, my fitness takes a hit as I watch some of the fittest around do their thing. Most recently, I was working in Miami for the Wodapalooza Fitness Festival and ended up missing eight days of training because of work and travel demands. While I had a blast and got to be part of an incredible fitness competition, it was tough getting back into the groove of training.

On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes aches and pains and the occasional sprain can keep athletes out for longer than they anticipated.

My friend and fellow CrossFit Team Series Masters teammate Rob was sidelined with a knee sprain and talked to me about what it was like to be out and then try to come back after an extended amount of time off.

“I felt something in my knee when I was doing overhead squats in a competition. It was the first WOD of the comp, and I didn’t want to stop because I didn’t want to quit on my teammate, so I kept going,” Rob recalled. “The next day, it was swollen and sore. I didn’t do anything to think that it was a tear, so I just thought I’d rest it for a while and come back.”

“A while” turned out to be a lot longer than Rob had anticipated. What he was hoping would be a slight setback of a week or maybe two actually ended up being a 10-week absence.

“I tried to go back and test it out a little after about the first month, but I just couldn’t squat. Normally, I can do pistols on either leg, but I couldn’t even really do an air squat without favoring my knee,” Rob said. “It was frustrating.”

After noticing that it was feeling better when walking and going up and down stairs, Rob came back last week and started training again, taking it slowly. But the transition for him was more than just a physical one. With new members in the gym since he left, and a very competitive streak, getting back on the grind made Rob feel like a new member all over.

“There were new people looking at me like, ‘Who is this guy?’ and I couldn’t do a lot of the things I could before. I am trying to get my breathing back. Trying to get my strength back and get my rhythm on stuff like double-unders,” Rob said. “I know I will, but it just bothers me when I can’t do the things as well as I could before.”

Whether you take a long vacation, move to a new city, go out of town for work or sprain your knee, getting back into your training can be tough. The only way you can get better is the same way you got fit in the first place: Walk back in that door and get back on that grind.

How do you deal with coming back after taking some time off? What are some things that have kept you away from the gym for an extended period?

Stay on the grind.