Sitting at a computer desk full-time caused the worst nagging injury I’ve ever had. However, many rookie mistakes were also contributing factors.
Learn the easy way from me. Don’t sleep on these 4 rookie mistakes:
Rookie mistake #1: Excessive reps lifting weights in the gym. As athletes, we’ve all been guilty of it at one point or another. Thinking we had such an “awesome workout” because we’re “so sore” the day afterwards. If you’re so sore that it hurts to walk, or go up/down stairs, you’re not fueling your body properly (see rookie mistake #2).
More isn’t always better. When I was in college, a lot of muscle magazines would talk about “burn out” sets of 10 to 12 reps of this, or 12 to 15 reps of that. What I didn’t realize was those guys weren’t sitting at a desk 8 to 10 hours per day, battling constant gravity, repetitive strain, and overuse all day long. I learned the hard way to take this into consideration and listen to my body.
Getting that burn, or soreness, gives athletes that instant gratification that what they’re doing HAS to be good for them. Mainly, because it’s such a drastically different feeling that they’re used to having.
Nowadays, I’m not concerned about how much I do in a workout (reps, time, weight) if I’m so sore that I can’t exercise the next day. Instead, I’m much more motivated about how energetic, pain-free, and strong I feel when I wake up the next morning.
Contrary to popular belief, you CAN get great workouts in and not feel sore the next day. It just takes the right balance of training, hydration, and nutrition.
Rookie mistake #2: Eating nutrition-less foods. I talk a lot about eating real, healthy, nutrient-dense foods. Sometimes I come off as being perfect or whatever. Keep in mind, I’m far from perfect. I used to be an expert on peanut butter cups and fast food.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
The point is, we’ve got to stop thinking of it as simply “eating food”. Instead, we need to think of it as “fueling our body optimally with high-performance fuel”. A little over the top? Maybe. But whatever it takes to make us realize how detrimental and nutrition-less fast food, junk food, and soda are for us.
One of the main reasons people don’t eat healthy is because they don’t know which foods are healthy and which are not. I know it’s hard. It takes a lot of effort to learn. A huge force multiplier for us full-time computer users is taking a well-balanced vitamin solution. Don’t settle for a cheap, low grade multivitamin. You need a high-quality, all-natural solution. Something that provides all of these: increased energy, maximum recovery, and improved blood circulation. To learn more, read my article about Why Vitamins are Crucial for Desk Jockeys. I didn’t used to believe in taking vitamins, but that changed recently when I was talking to a friend. That article is an eye-opening perspective. It’s one of the simplest changes I’ve ever made that’s led to the most massive results. And that’s saying something because I’ve made a lot of changes over the last 5 years.
Rookie mistake #3: Drinking caffeine every day. There’s such huge misconception about caffeine these days. Many people will talk about how caffeine’s not bad for you. In low doses, they may be right. But in higher doses, it does a serious number on the hydration levels in your body. Combine that with (a) not drinking enough water, (b) sugar intake, (c) dairy intake, and (d) alcohol consumption. It will lead to a recipe for disaster when it comes to your muscle and tendon health.
A few years ago, I drank a TON of caffeine to get through the workday. Never coffee, it was mainly sugar-free energy drinks, or sometimes soda. There was a point where I became dependent on caffeine. I couldn’t focus on my workday without it. Then, I got to a point where I couldn’t focus even if I did drink caffeine.
Then, chronic pain started to set in. Mainly in both of my knees. My knees would be sore for a week after a short 2 mile run.
That led me to giving up caffeine 100% four years ago. I haven’t craved it since and I’ve got plenty of energy these days. I never really get tired throughout the day. Mainly thanks to eliminating caffeine, proper hydration, taking a vitamin solution, and respecting sleep quality. But when bed time comes around, I am out like a light for a good night’s sleep of maximum recovery.
I’ll never go back to caffeine, unless it’s a safety issue (driving at night on a long road trip or something). I know what you’re probably saying, “that’s crazy, I could never give up caffeine.” If so, check out my article on hydration.
Rookie mistake #4: Long distance running with bad form. I’m a former heel striker. I’ve battled (and bounced back from) chronic pain in both legs, mainly knee tendinosis and shin splints. The main variable that caused this was running LSD (long, slow distances) with bad form.
Today, I love to run/sprint anything less than 400 meters (1/4 mile) at a time. I’ll basically only run more if my life depends on it. Running anything more than that for me is a completely different dynamic. At a full sprint, I start to lose form pretty quickly after 1/4 mile.
There are many people that run long, slow distances correctly. But keep in mind, they’ve put tons of mental thought and skill work into it.
Running is one of the most technical sports that exists. But a lot of people take that for granted. I used to be guilty of this. Back in the day, I’d sit at a desk all day. I wouldn’t study running mechanics at all. I’d listen to music when I ran after work. And I’d heel strike like it was my job. I did all this just to get a short-term high from completing a full-body running workout. The main outcome ended up destroying my muscles and tendons through massive amounts of non-functional, repetitive impact. I could’ve gotten a much more effective, and pain-free, workout in many other ways.
Then one day, I took a CrossFit Running certification. It completely changed the way I looked at running. The functional mechanics I learned are crucial to anyone who has never really paid attention to their running technique in the past. I wrote a free report about my experience of the certification. It contains the 14 most important tips to functional running I learned that weekend. You can download that report for free here.
Giving 100% physically, with little or no mental focus, just doesn’t cut it anymore. It’ll only lead us down a road of bodily destruction that’s completely avoidable. It just takes a little hard work and determination.
Learn from my mistakes the easy way guys, from me 😉
Let me know if I can help. Email me here with your questions.