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Injury Prevention: Learning This Changed My Life. Hey, I’m Sarah from mostmotion® and I’m here with another episode of Mobility Matters: Simple Injury Prevention for Fitness Coaches. So I don’t think anybody can ever say with a hand on their heart that they absolutely knew what they wanted to do from an early age with probably maybe a few exceptions. But when I started out in fitness, I was, Oh, I was 13. Like this has been my entire life. And I’ll be honest. I fell into injury prevention. And the reason for that was basically because I started out wanting to be a PE teacher. And so I would help at 13 years old, I would help my the staff in my high school to coach the kids who were younger than me. So I started out really early on in coaching. And by the time I finished university with a sports science degree, I wanted to go into personal training.
And back then it was like late 2000. So back then, there wasn’t really much structure to the fitness industry. And it was quite difficult to set yourself up as a personal trainer because the impression was that it was for celebrities and it wasn’t really for people, the average person. So I wanted to work one-to-one with people and I spent my entire career dealing with individual people. But as soon as I got into personal training, I got bored and I got bored quick. Like “I want to lose weight and get fit” was really like the last thing I wanted to hear. So given the fact that when I was in my early twenties which was kind of around that time, I was manipulated badly, which strained the ligaments in my spine. And it meant after I kind of got over all the horrendous pain of that it meant that I had every little nagging injury going.
So when people would come to me, like I was working with a motorcross rider, for example, and I would plan out a session. We were going to do shoulders that day we were going to work, you know, in the gym, this, that, and the other. And he would come to me and go, “Oh, I had a crash at the weekend and I can’t move my arm”. I’m like, ah, okay. So let’s start at adjusting things. And injuries became really, really interesting to me because it had happened to me. And I really felt like I could empathize with people and started adjusting programs and things like that. And so I did every fitness industry certification that I could around the idea of injuries. I knew really before I started personal training, there was a gap between physio, like the medical profession, because they would get to a certain level having experienced it myself.
They’d get to a level where they could sign you off. So they’d reached all the goals that they had to get to for your rehabilitation. They would sign you off and they’d say, go away and get fit. And then you would go to a gym and people would come to me in the gym and they’d go, “Oh, the physio signed me off. They’ve told me I’ve got to get fit, but”. They would be really concerned about aggravating, the problem, making it worse, doing something that they would, they didn’t know how to do. They were just really worried about the whole pain issue coming back, because they’d spent so much time and effort trying to get rid of it. And I knew that there was a gap there between the fitness industry and the medical profession, but what really, I try and I’ve been trying my whole life to try and fill this gap.
So I started out, like I went in to do soft tissue therapy, using an idea called the Hendrickson method. It was, I hated the idea of oils and naked bodies and all that sort of stuff. I’m quite shy. So, so I would when the Hendrickson method came along, it was all clothes, you’d keep your clothes on. And it was very, very gentle. It was very approachable for me. So I was like, yes, I’ve totally found what I want to do. I’m going to learn this stuff. It’s going to be the best thing I’ve ever done because now instead of passing people over to the medical profession, I can help them myself, I can keep my clients. Because back then there wasn’t really a culture of sharing. It was like, “that’s my patient get off”. It was very, very difficult. So when I learned how to do soft tissue treatments I, how I convinced my personal training clients to stop jumping around and lay on the table and let me fix them
I have no idea, but somehow that happened. So I had a really great balance then of people who I was training in exercise, and then people whose injuries I was trying to help them solve. So the injury side of things for me was like, like my brain was in heaven because I was learning. It was really interesting to me. And there was always something I could help with. And then the injury prevention or the injury side of things really took over. So I started working out of a CrossFit gym and because they were already doing the exercise in the CrossFit, they never really appreciated that. I knew how to do that. So I ended up standing at the table for eight hours a day. It was exhausting. And really the fitness side of things just disappeared for me. And at first I thought, yeah, I can really focus on the injury stuff now and really help these individuals.
And then somehow like three, four years down the line of doing injuries every single day, standing at the table, I was like, there’s something missing. And having seen the exercise side of things and knowing how effective that was in helping people with their injuries, I did the corrective exercise specialism courses the reps low back pain, specialisms, all that kind of stuff. And I knew that there was there was this still needed to bridge this gap. So I was trying to be everything to everybody. So I started giving my clients these exercises to do, I would use came across the gray. I can’t remember what it’s called now, the Institute.. The Gray Institute. There we go. And they had the 3d dynamic stretching, and I was like, yeah, again, brilliant. Let’s do this. So I took on the, the multidirectional dynamic stretching that they had.
And I tried to layer on my injury knowledge experience I’d had from the table into these movements, given that I knew how effective the, the exercise side of things could be. So I just started to create like a scale. People would come to me initially with pain, the treatment would get them out of that pain. I’d give them a couple of exercises to do, to help with that. And then the idea was that we would gradually migrate away from the, the pain into like getting them fit and strong and making sure that this injury didn’t come back. But people were confused when they came to me and I realized that they didn’t want me to do the exercise. They wanted me to do the treatment if that’s what they knew me for, that’s what they wanted and giving them anything other than that, they logically understood it, but they emotionally didn’t want to do it.
They wanted their treatment from me and they wanted the exercise from their coaches. So when I kept hearing the same phrase over and over and over and over again, that changed my life. And the reason they changed my life was because I realized when people kept saying to me, “My pain came back, but I did those movements you gave me and it went away again”. Hmm. Okay. Well, if you’re doing the movements and the pain is going away, how about we do the movements before the pain happens? What happens now? And that absolutely changed my life because I realized that non-painful movement and actually encouraging joints to move in any direction possible was the one thing that was missing out of the whole injury conversation and the people that were capable of having the best results from this was not therapist was not the medical profession.
It’s fitness coaches, fitness coaches are great at doing movement. We know it backwards. We love it. We want our clients to be able to achieve the results that they want. And the more coaches that I got involved in this conversation, the more people that were getting better results, and they were getting better performance results, not just injury results. So they were having less pain. They were recovering better. They were performing better. They were running faster. They were swimming faster. All these things were happening to all these people, just because I noticed that we could use the same movement before the pain happened, rather than waiting for the pain, which is basically what the, the rest of the industry does. So I know that you want to know what that process is. And I haven’t got time. My battery’s about to die on my phone.
So I’m going to tell you right now, go and join the SMARTT® Folks Facebook group, that’s S M A R T T F O L K S.com. Go and join it. You’ll get a free gift just for, well, just for a welcome gift, go and check the announcements in that group. You get a totally free mini course that will explain to you this exact process and how you can get involved with this process along with me. And we will work together to absolutely change the industry and we will change together. I will change your life and you will change your client’s lives. Okay. Then I’m not joking about this stuff. Absolutely. This is changing lives. So go ahead. Join the SMARTT® Folks Facebook group, S M A R T T F O L K S.com. I’ll see you in there. Thanks for watching. And I’ll see you again. Next time.