Meet Vladimir Quijada an avid fitness student, head coach, and co-owner of Absolute Fitness. Vladimir is an active person who enjoys being outdoors riding his bike, hiking, and spending time with his family, but his real passion lays in the martial arts. Vladimir knew and understood that in order to be successful in the martial arts he had to train and train hard. So he made training a part of his lifestyle, training hard Monday - Saturday, training 2-3 hours or more per day. Things were going good at first but after a few years of training hard, Vladimir began to feel shoulder pain, back pain and had some achy knees. Vladimir knew he had to do something about these issues before they started to get in the way of his training, he just wasn’t sure about what to do.
The first thing that Vladimir did was take time off from training, he would feel some relief but as soon as he was back in training the aches and pains would be right back hindering his progress. The next thing Vladimir did was go see a chiropractor who did help out a bit but it only helped for a little while before the aches and pains would return and wouldn’t let him train again. Vladimir then added in massage and physio which seemed to help tremendously but again only for a limited time before his training would get too much and he would have to take time off to let his body heal from all the stress he put on his body.
Vladimir struggled through his training despite his injuries and pain and kept competing. Finally with stress, pain and discomfort building up, Vladimir had enough and stopped training all together. “I thought that maybe if I gave myself time to heal and recover that, it would be enough to get me back to training without so many issues.” Vladimir says he stopped training for almost 10 months.
Vladimir was restless and eager to jump back into training he got back into the gym and started training again, at the same intensity that he used to train. It wasn’t long before he started to feel the old familiar aches and pains, he didn’t think anything of it, “The aches and pain were a familiar part of training, it felt normal to me” he said.
Until one day while he was training he felt a jolt in his lower back. “I felt a click in my lower back which gave me a jolt up my spine, it didn’t feel too bad until I tried to sit down and I couldn’t bend over”. That was the end of training that day, but it was something that wasn’t too out of the ordinary, Vladimir thought that maybe he just went too hard that day so he took some time off to rest and recover.
This was the first time Vladimir had experienced an injury of this magnitude, weeks of rest and recovery did nothing for him, he was still unable to bend over without shooting pain up his back. He decided that he needed some help and looked for help from a chiropractor again. He also started to get regular massages, and went to physio to try and get rid of his injury. After months of staying away from any hard training, and paying a ton of money, Vladimir finally started feeling better.
Vladimir did not want a repeat of this injury so he slowed his training down. He decided to start training again, but he decided that the martial arts was too much for him as he was a little nervous to repeat the injury again.Vladimir started with strength training which was a little slower and controlled rather then the martial arts. “I figured that I would start slow and as I gathered momentum I would gradually add in the martial arts again”. But Vladimir admits he was still trying to keep up with his previous training that he used to do, “I didn’t want to slow down, I wanted to push forward with my training and progressing, not rehabbing an injury, especially when I had a gym full of athletes that were always training hard and constantly reaching new levels of athleticism”.
A month into his strength training Vladimir was training deadlifts when all of a sudden he felt a hard pull in his lower back. He stopped training that day but it was too late the pull slowly got tighter and tighter and by the time he got to his car he was barely able to get into it. The morning after Vladimir woke up unable to move with another lower back injury. It was back to resting his injury and not being able to train for another several weeks.
This soon became a cycle of rest, recovery, restarting training, and then re-injuring himself, which meant having to go back to rest and recovery. This cycle went on for more than a year. Sometimes Vladimir would be fine for months at a time when all of a sudden a slight move in the wrong direction would send his back into spasms and he’d have to take time off from training, again.
Vladimir was feeling down, depressed, and thought that maybe this was the end of his training, and that he would have to deal with this back injury for the rest of his life. That all changed one day while he was at a fitness exposition listening to a yoga instructor talk about dealing with injuries and accomplishing goals.
“The instructor talked about what an injured person would say when someone would meet and greet them. The speaker talked about how an injured person would answer something along the lines of; Ugh my backs acting up again and I can barely bend over to reach for my keys etc, I’d be fine if it wasn’t for this damn back. The speaker talked about how this person viewed themselves as walking back injuries with no hope of ever getting rid of their injury. The speaker then went on to talk about how if they would approach their problem with a positive mind set, If they would be honest with themselves rather than make excuses to why they're injured. If they would truly look at themselves, their strengths, their weaknesses, and address them as such, they could and would be able to get over their injuries”.
Vladimir says that was the point he realized he was the one that was holding himself back. The way he thought of himself as “I’d be fine if it wasn’t for this back injury” and then proceed to train as if he didn’t have a back injury, was a seriously wrong way of looking at himself and his current situation. Vladimir made a decision to change his way of thinking and took a long hard look at himself and his situation. He changed his conversations with people and would tell people, and himself, that he was making himself stronger, not injured.
The next time Vladimir started training he put his ego aside and he began to plan out what his weakness were, what his strengths were, and proceeded to research how to strengthen his weaknesses and how he could use his strengths to his advantage. This meant no martial arts, no lifting heavy weights, no more trying to keep up with others around him.
Vladimir admitted to himself that he had a temporary set back in his way that needed to be addressed. So he trained only in basic body weight exercises addressing his weaknesses and making them stronger. Vladimir says that “even though I was only doing basic exercises I made it a point to make myself work. Basic doesn’t mean easy unless that’s your mentality, basic to me at the time was to work these basic exercises hard since that was the only exercises I was able to do without hurting myself.” Vladimir admits this was not an easy thing for him to do at the time.
It took more than 14 months of training the very basics before Vladimir felt comfortable enough to start lifting weights or even start to consider training in the martial arts again. He started to add some basic weight lifting to his programming and slowly started to gain more strength, after a few months of strength training he felt comfortable enough to start with some more explosive cardiovascular intensive training.
Finally, months after Vladimir injured his lower back he was back to training hard in strength, conditioning, and the martial arts just the way he liked it. Vladimir says with his new outlook on fitness and a mindful focus on his mobility training, or what he likes to call the basics, he feels as if the future is bright for him. “I’m feeling great, like fitness is going to be a part of my life until the end, I will be at the gym, and out in life, doing crazy incredible things well into old age”.
Vladimir mentioned that everybody at Absolute Fitness has been quite the inspiration for him. “Having to restart from the bottom up, and thinking I needed to accept the fact that I was going to have a hurt back for the rest of my life, had me feeling pretty down and depressed but watching everybody at Absolute Fitness reaching for their goals, and suddenly obtaining them, transforming themselves into what they wanted to be, really inspired me to keep reaching towards my goals to keep fitness in my life”.
When we asked Vladimir what he would say to anyone that is facing similar problems with a particular injury he said “Swallow your pride and ask for help, when you receive the help, be sure to accept it. There is nothing fancy about healing yourself, it just takes hard work, time, and energy, we all have those in abundance”.
That's quite an experience from one of the people responsible for bringing, and running, Absolute Fitness, Vladimir's experience is quite the inspiration for many of us as well.
Have you been struggling with ongoing pain and/or injury and need help figuring things out, give us a call at 403-347-9669 or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, experience what training at Absolute Fitness can do for you.