My $10,000 Injury and the Book that Changed My Life

This post in a nutshell:

  • 🤕 My $10,000 injury.
  • 📘 The book that changed my life: fixing injuries, preventing injury, improving athletic performance, and relieving almost all my pain.
  • 📰 A few takeaways from the book.

This post talks a lot about physical injuries in general fitness terms, but I promise that the principles outlined will make you a better runner. They have made me a better runner and a better athlete.

*I am not a doctor and do not pretend to be one. The following is for informational uses only and should not be used as advice. I am simply passing on how something has personally impacted me in a positive way. You are not guaranteed the same results. Use common sense.

**This post may contain affiliate links. This helps support the site.


My $10,000 Injury:

Finding a bulge is never a comforting thing, so when I found one in my pubic region, I got a little nervous.

I pushed on it and it went down.

Curiously, I coughed to see what would happen.

Sure enough, it popped back out.

As it popped back out, I mouthed the word, “Hernia.”

After a quick doctor’s appointment, the inguinal hernia was confirmed.

 

tired homer simpson GIF

*Funny side note. My hernia was so obvious the doctor didn’t even bother touching it to confirm, let alone walk across the room to get a closer look.

A hernia is a tear in the fascia wall that leads to your guts trying to spill out (basically). Here’s the WebMD overview. This creates a bulge that you can push in and out.  If not taken care of (surgery is the only way to truly fix a hernia), they can become strangulated and eventually lead to death.

I don’t want to include images here, because they’re gross to look at, but if you must know here’s a google image search that shows you what hernias look like. Here is a great video guide to hernias:

My surgery was scheduled and $10,000 later I was all stitched up and ready to not do anything physical for about a month including running, jumping, pull-ups, or any other exercise.

Unfortunately, this was right before I was supposed to leave for Officer Candidate School for the Marine Corps.

Marine Candidates on a Run at Officer Candidate School

The Marine Corps medical board wasn’t too keen on me leaving for hard, physical training one month after surgery, so I got delayed… six months. I had already sold my car and put my two weeks’ notice in at my job, so this was not good timing.



 

This injury:

  • Cost $10,000 to fix
  • Delayed me from starting a new career by six months
  • Left me without a car
  • Almost left me jobless

Luckily, I got my job back, and I could walk to work and bum rides when necessary, but it wasn’t ideal.

Injuries suck. They can keep you off your feet, delay careers, permanently harm you, and who knows what else.

Luckily, injuries do provide one benefit: THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN

i learned from that justin bieber GIF


How my injury applies to everyone:

Almost everything you do depends on your physical capability to do so. Most fitness-related injuries (including running) are caused by the following factors:

  • Poor form/technique
  • Poor mobility/range of motion (Doesn’t allow you to get into the proper position for good form).
  • Poor strength

*This does not include impact injuries (i.e. getting hit by a car or dropping a weight on your toe).

These are the same three reasons that I got my hernia.

  1. I was lifting with poor technique: I was twisting while I was picking up heavy bags of feed. This put uneven amounts of force on my lower abdomen making it easy to shred the fascia and create a hernia.
  2. No range of motion: At the time, I could barely squat and get my butt past my knees. I could not touch my toes and was stiff all the time. Having poor range of motion did not allow me to get in the proper positions to use proper technique.
  3. Lack of Strength: My lower abdomen was not strong enough to handle the pressures I was putting on it, so eventually, it tore open and created a hernia.

Why You Need to Read this Book:

Read this book if you want to improve your athletic capability and avoid injury.

I have had zero injuries since my hernia and almost zero pain from physical activity since reading this.

This book made me:

  • Run Faster
  • Lift Heavier
  • Increase Mobility/Flexibility
  • Become Almost Completely Pain-Free
  • Become Less Injury Prone

The Book that Changed My Life:

becoming a supple leopard

Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance.

I avoided purchasing this book for a long time because I didn’t trust the title. I judged a book by the cover and paid dearly for it (at least $10,000 and six months in fact). I wish I would have read this years ago.

It is like an encyclopedia for functional fitness; I read through the whole thing once and refer to it at least twice a week for guidance.

The book is authored by Dr. Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza. Kelly Starrett is the founder of mobilitywod.com, author of several books on physical performance, physiotherapist, trainer for professional athletes (Like UFC legend Georges St. Pierre), and is also the owner of San Francisco CrossFit.

*Side note: One of Kelly’s other books, which is more focused on running, Ready to Run, has also really helped my physical performance. It’s a great supplement to BSL.

Kelly and his wife, Juliet, are dynamite, and pretty much everything they do (including their podcast The Ready State) is solid gold.

Takeaways:

These are my personal takeaways from the book. I apologize if they are not 100% accurate to the book, but these are how I understand the principles in the book. Buy the book to get everything correct. This is just a quick overview of what you might learn.

Again, go talk to your doctor if you are injured and refer to the experts for actual advice.

  • Stretching only gets you so far.
    • You cannot stretch beef jerky. Often, our muscles and fascia are “glued” together and rigid like beef jerky. You want your muscles and fascia to glide smoothly over each other.
    • Sometimes you can’t stretch out your problems. “Smashing” your muscles with a lacrosse ball, roller, or other tools may help break down scar tissue to improve mobility.
  • Mobility is not the same as flexibility.
    • Mobility = the ability to move and carry weight or a force across a wide range of motion
    • Flexibility = the ability to bend into different positions
  • Body Archetype Tests (What movements are you failing?)
    • Can you do a full single-leg pistol squat? Well, you should be able to. That is a healthy range of movement.
    • Don’t worry the book will guide you to get to where you need to be.
    • P.S. Improving these ranges of motion has helped me significantly with performance and injury prevention.
  • Proper form can be complicated. Get a good guide.
    • This book outlines a ton of different exercises and lifts and how to properly do them. No more locker room-rumors for advice; you’ll be taken care of with this book.
    • Plenty of pictures for those who are not so literarily inclined. Plus, you need a good visual reference for technique.
  • Mobilization techniques
    • Kelly Starrett breaks down the body into 14 mobilization target areas.
    • Shows life-changing mobilization techniques and stretches.
  • Wear zero-drop shoes
    • This is something more highlighted in Ready to Run, but it is still an important concept. Doing certain lifts in zero-drop shoes is critical to fitness longevity.
    • Zero-drop shoes are shoes that have no heel elevation over the toes (imagine high heels as the extreme). If you need help finding zero-drop shoes, check this out.

My Favorite Mobilizations:

Couch Stretch

Good for: opening front of the hip and opening quad

Calf Mobilization

Good for: post run calf-recovery



Shoulder Mobilization

Good for: recovery from pull-ups and tight shoulders from running

Getting a subscription to mobilitywod.com (not affiliated) is also a great reference. There are thousands of videos with different mobilizations and explanations.

Conclusion:

Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance really has changed my life.

Read the book and let me know what you think.

Another way to increase performance is wearing good athletic shoes. Zero-drop shoes have been shown to help improve certain areas of performance and prevent injury. If you want help finding a pair of zero-drop shoes that fit your needs, try out this shoe-finder tool.

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