Time Out & Lessons Learned

By Rachel Zipsie

It’s been a pretty interesting 2017 for me.  I moved to a new state, changed my entire life, competed three times, started a new sport with my dog, rehabbed my back and hamstring and so much more.  I could write pages about how things changed for me.  One of the most important changes was taking a break from lifting anything heavy, or significant since May 30, 2017.  I had just finished competing and attaining most my goals for 2017 competitions, and I felt like if I didn’t compete again I would be completely fine with this.  Having injured my hamstring, having other issues in my quad, and dealing with some low back pain, it made it very easy for me to decide to rest and try different things. I learned a lot about the sport of powerlifting during this time and about my desire to compete again.  After all, I am 47 years old, plus I’ve got many health issues related to Crohn’s disease, but life is still pretty darn awesome.  So, why do I want to do more competitions in 2018?  What did this much needed break teach me?

I realized that my love of a true competitive spirit comes from the desire to constantly be better, be a winner, and to be on top.  After I started to heal from my injuries, I started taking my dog to dock diving competitions.  I learned that I LOVE competitions.  It didn’t matter if it was dock diving, or anything else, it was a hunger to be on top of whatever I do.  Looking around, I could see that the people who are still out there competing simply love doing it.  The grind, the work, the craftsmanship, the crew, the feeling I get when I put the bar in my hand.  I simply missed it and I’m not ready to hang up the chucks.  I will just have to make some better choices about how many meets I chose to do, my prep and not over extending myself.

Crohn’s disease (CD) hasn’t stopped me yet and I’m not going to let it stop me now.  All that being said, as I wrote in a previous article, I’ve need to really work at taking care of my physical health related to having CD.  Nutrition and diet are incredibly important.  I have been very lax with this, and it is not only impacting my weight, but my gut, joints, and immune system.  It’s one of the simplest choices I have – eating right.  For example – Eat well, don’t be in pain, don’t eat well, be in pain.  Brian wrote a great article about the biggest drug we have in our lives – food. Check it out here.

One thing Brian has always been adamant about is the McGill Big 3 and walking.  When I started rehabbing I could not walk 5 minutes without any pain in my hamstring.  Most of the hamstring issue was caused by my low back, so starting off with daily McGill’s Big 3 and walking was where it all started.  I just started doing some fluff and buff work outs and brushing off the dust.  I learned that coming back from my abdominal surgeries is a lot different than coming back from an injury.  After the abdominal surgeries I healed a lot faster and the pain wasn’t nagging and constant. Recovering from this has been very frustrating and taking a very long time.  But what I learned is that I need to take it slow and appreciate every day that I am working towards my goals.  I have desires to be better than my competition and I have pushed myself, putting my own well-being in the background while chasing a number, or a goal.  If I want to continue to be productive and competing, I have to stay focused on goals that are smart and align with my goal of staying in competition for a few more years.  No sense in being desperate because that is when stupid mistakes are made. If don’t listen to my body, I make myself sick ,or I get hurt.

While the post-meet blues and an injury caused me to question my desire to compete, they forced me to take a look in the mirror and realize that the time off was exactly what I needed.  The break was necessary, it grounded me in some truths about myself and I found the desire to compete in powerlifting again.   It’s going to be a fun year, getting back to something I love and enjoy doing, who wouldn’t be excited!

Free yourself of back pain and get back to the platform. Pick up a copy of Brian Carroll and Dr. Stu McGill’s new book: Gift of Injury.

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Rachel Zipsie

Rachel has been coaching and mentoring for over 20 years in business and sports. In 2014 she met Brian Carroll and began being coached by him shortly thereafter. After competing internationally at the WPC World Championships Portugal in 2015, she decided it was time to convert to equipped lifting. During this time Rachel has become certified in sports nutrition and serves as the resident nutrition coach for Catalyst Training Center, in Grand Rapids, MI where she trains with the Catalyst Power Team.

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