The Mixed Blessings of an Injury

lower leg muscles diagramAbout 6 weeks ago, I tore a muscle in my leg. Not fun. I do CrossFit 4-5 times a week and I do trail running on the weekend. So, you can imagine how unhappy I was to be injured and forced to do some rest and recovery. I got back into my CrossFit box pretty soon and just focused on upper-body lifts and workouts. But, I couldn’t run or jump. After about 2 weeks, I started adding back leg work again (Squats, OHS) and full-body work (Deadlifts). But, I still can’t run or jump (no box jumps for me). I’ve been doing modified metcons and rowing to keep up my cardio, but it’s nothing like 5 mile runs, of course.

With this reduced cardio and increased focus on lifting, a funny thing has been happening. I’ve definitely noticed that I’m getting stronger and lifting heavier. I also just weighed myself today and found out that I’ve gained 10 lbs in 6 weeks. Now, I’ve been desperately trying to pack on some muscle weight for over 6 months with no luck. I haven’t been able to gain a single pound, until now. And, boom! After 6 weeks of heavier lifting and reduced cardio, I pack on 10 lbs. At first I was worried that it might be “bad weight”, but I don’t think so. When I look in the mirror, I still have good muscle definition and a 6-pack. It may not all be muscle, since no one just puts on pure muscle during their bulking phase. But, I have added another 1/2 inch to my arms and my chest and neck seem harder and thicker.

So, I’ve come to the conclusion that I was overtraining and simply couldn’t eat enough calories each day to keep the engine fueled up for growth. I was trying really hard and felt like I was eating a ton of food. But, since I couldn’t even gain a pound, I guess it wasn’t enough. I guess this injury has become a bit of a mixed blessing for me now. Sure, I hate being injured and I hate not running. But, I did want to get stronger and pack on some muscle, which is finally happening. I thought that I could do it all and have it all: Keep running a lot while I lift and train several days a week and expect to pack on muscle. Now I know better, firsthand. I’m going to keep going on this “bulking”, muscle-building, strength-building phase for the rest of the Winter (not like I have much choice with my leg injury anyway) and see how much stronger I can get before Spring. Maybe I’ll try a cutting phase early next year to bring out more definition. I don’t know. Guess I’ll play it by ear.

Someone very close to me always says; “Things happen for the best”. I’m a bit of a skeptic, but they just might be right.

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