I also read Tim Green's The Dark Side Of The Game. Also a good book. One of the chapters is called "Concussions: Everybody Gets Them".
On a semi-related note... I started playing football right around the time I hit puberty in earnest, and I don't remember a lot about what I felt like before that point. As such, I have a hard time decoupling the traits that I inherited/grew into versus the ones I picked up from more than a decade of accumulated brain damage.
At a very high level, accomplishing an arbitrary goal is a fairly straightforward process.
1) Decide on your goal.
2) Establish a plan that will accomplish your goal.
3) Implement this plan.
There are a dizzying number of ways to fail in training, and as far as I can tell, they all come from screwing up one of these three steps.
Goal-setting seems like the easiest of the three steps - you generally don't have to study or sweat to do it correctly. Regardless, though, a lot of people screw this one up.
"I want to lose fifteen pounds."
"Okay, amputate your arm."
When setting a goal, take other goals you have into consideration. State the ones that are usually left unstated. If avoiding death, dismemberment, disfigurement, divorce, debt, or any manner of other horrible words that start with the letter D are higher priorities than your training goal, say so.
Right now, I have financial goals, health goals, and training goals. The former currently take priority over the latter - the money I could have spent on moving to a new place and setting up a home gym is going towards paying down my student loans instead, and my plans for bulging biceps are on hold until I can consistently remember my phone number.
Don't lie to yourself or gloss over priority conflicts, either. Be brutally honest with yourself. If you're not willing to drag yourself out of bed an hour before dawn to put in roadwork, or if Saturday nights at the local watering hole are sacrosanct, don't pretend that you are. Establish exactly how far you are willing to go to reach your goal, and what you are willing to sacrifice, because goals often involve tradeoffs.
-Pavel Tsatsouline, "Grease The Groove For Strength"Quote:
Your grandmother used to tell you: to get good at something, you must do it often, do it a lot, and do it to the exclusion of other things.
Sacrifices can take many forms. Time. Money. Effort. Liberties. And quite frequently, other training goals. This calls for an example:
Last January, I found myself able to bench press 390lbs touch-and-go. The national record (across all weight classes, junior, unequipped) was 457lbs with a pause. I also found myself weighing in at about 300lbs, and putting some strain on (generous) my 42-waist pants. This left me with two conflicting desires:
1) Try to set the record. Get bigger, stronger, and fatter.
2) Try to put together a physique I'm not ashamed of.
I spent a while waffling between them, and during that time, I didn't make any progress towards either. I suspect that this is pandemic across trainees who have unclear or contradictory goals.
Speaking of unclear goals... it's important that your stated goal is an accurate reflection of your desire. Lots of people say they want to "lose X pounds", but very few of them would be happy with how they looked if they lost X pounds of muscle to atrophy but kept the same amount of fat.
It's often said that the scale lies, but it doesn't. The scale gives you a truthful answer. It's the person standing on it who is to blame for asking the wrong question.
And no, that wasn't self serving. Honest.
Just to let you know where my own mental state is right now - yes, I just compared enlightenment to a smoked-meat chew toy. And I don't even have a concussion to blame for it.
It's fascinating how the 'fourth leg' (so to speak) can snap the others.
Three years ago I suffered a c3/4 disc protrusion from Judo.
Three years later, I'm trying to get back to fitness.
1. Exercise: running, stretching, about to hit weights
2. Nutrition: eating well (lots of fish, fruits, vegetables)
3. Rest: Actually sleeping (despite new baby), having 'off' days
This is all going along well. I've lost over a stone, and feel fantastic.
Then this morning, I wake up with very sore neck. My left hand is week. And I feel generally a bit light. All suggests: re-injury, nerve aggravation.
So: there goes exercise and some of my rest (since I'll be sleeping badly, and awkward), and no amount of healthy eating will compensate for no exercise.
What happens to my waistline if I stop high-performance judo? Eventually I'm going to get around to posting an annotated graph of my weigh-ins for the last year or so... it'll be enlightening. On the other hand, I'm currently giving the Anabolic Diet (see this thread), which makes some fairly strong claims about long-term efficacy.
And then there's the fact that right up until that third match, I'd made it through four fairly rigorous months of judo with no head trauma to speak of. That's more than I can say for any given season of football I've been involved in.
But then on the flipside, I really did get my **** wrecked in that match, and it's really scary. Today I was on the shitter, I pushed a bit too hard, and next thing I know I've got a headache and light sensitivity. I wasn't really good for much for the rest of the day. And all that stuff pales next to TBI-induced depression.
In any case, my initial plans were as follows:
-if I get another concussion in judo competition, I stop competing and just train recreationally
-if I get another concussion in judo, I stop judo altogether and go back to BJJ
-if I get another concussion in BJJ... it's time for ballroom dancing
But given how long these symptoms have lasted... I think that was perhaps a bit naive.
Still waiting to hear from a neurologist so I can set up an appointment. I'm expecting something to show up on scans - swelling, maybe a fracture. Something's not right.
Women kept telling me that I wasn't much of a lover so I figured 'Hell, I must be a fighter'.
But that's neither here nor there.
It's widely - and erroneously - held that training is good for one's health by default. The fact is that it may improve your overall health incidentally, but if you wish to maintain or improve your overall health throughout a cycle of training, that should also be made clear in your goals.
A bit of an aside, from another thread...
Significantly more serious for me now, for reasons that should be clear.Quote:
All chemical interventions have risks (from direct side-effects) associated with them. Stimulants and tachycardia, anabolic steroids and cardiac hypertrophy, human growth hormone and cancer. We could push this further - protein and kidney problems, carbohydrates and diabetes. And the next step is to go beyond nutrition and chemistry altogether and look at training in general. Elite-level linemen and sumo wrestlers intentionally put on unhealthy amounts of body fat. The linemen (and football players in general) sustain chronic head trauma as a condition of participation. Elite-level synchronized swimmers have an absolutely obscene rate of knee injury from the "eggbeater" movement. And more relevant to these forums, elite-level judoka land in arguably unsafe ways rather than yielding ippon in competition.
There is a certain point - and this point exists in every sufficiently-developed sport that I know of - where further success in said sport comes at a cost in terms of health risks. When an athlete finds themselves approaching that point, they need to sit down and "do the math" for themselves. How do the risks and rewards balance out? Where does their best shot at a good quality of life lay?
It's a serious and weighty question.
Anyways, I said overall health up there, and I want to draw a line between that and something else. Overall health corresponds to quality and quantity of life. Being able to do daily tasks with more ease and enjoyment, less pain, etc. This is a goal.
Then there's - for lack of a better term - training health. This is a prerequisite for training - part of the "everything else" that needs to be intact for exercise, diet, and rest to stand up.
(For an interesting example, refer to Item 7 (Fanatically Believe You Can) from Dave Tate's "Shut the Hell Up and Listen: The Nine Great Secrets of Training Success — The Final Four")
Someone intending to perform at an elite level in any given physical activity must be prepared to make sacrifices in terms of their overall health, but for their training to succeed, it must protect their training health.
Anyone can wrap their head around progressive resistance and come up with my "How To Bench One Thousand Pounds" program. Then they can graduate from kindergarten, toss in some set/rep/rest/exercise variations chosen by fair dice roll, and bam... someone can try it, and they'll probably show some progress. But that doesn't make them Charles Poliquin.
In my mind, there are two places where a great training program succeeds and all others collapse:
-Improving an already well-trained athlete (breaking the law of diminishing returns)
-Keeping its participants in good training health
And as far as how to do that? Well, I'm not Charles Poliquin either. But given how much time I've spent out of commission (from all sorts of different issues) in the last six years of training, I need to buckle down and work this stuff out. I'm hoping that some of y'all will be able to help me a bit with that.
Better examples of training health vs. regular health...
Consider the commonly-known version of the Persian War myth of Pheidippides, the guy who brought us the marathon. In this version, he's conveying all the messages by foot, running between Marathon, Sparta and Athens. Eventually he gets to Athens, informs the city of their victory, and drops dead.
Rousing success in terms of training health (the war was over, so was his race). Catastrophic failure in terms of general health.
Or consider cortisone shots.
Important tool in training health.
Useful to general health, but detrimental when used too frequently or to mask serious problems.
Russ - we're talking brain damage. As in - loss of IQ points, can't hold a job, can't support self and family, possibly significant long term depression, psychological effects and cognitive impairment. Sometimes that **** happens and you can't see it coming, but you know you are prone to this type of injury. Judo is cool and all, but it doesn't really seem worth it.