CrossFit champion Tia-Clair Toomey currently holds the title of Fittest Woman on Earth, and recently launched her own online fitness community where fans can benefit from her professional athletic insights. But even she was guilty of making some "silly" mistakes when it came to her own health and fitness in the early days of her training.
In a new video on her YouTube channel, Toomey admits that back then, she had no real ambition to reach the heights she has since achieved, and explains that her passion for weightlifting developed over a very, very long learning curve. After taking part in some minor competitions, Toomey began working on her technique with the help of a weightlifting coach, and this was when she really began to see her own potential. "I became so passionate about learning and trying to get better, I had the ambition of going to the Olympics for it," she says.
However, her newfound dedication to the sport led to overtraining, which ultimately resulted in Toomey hurting herself.
"I couldn't remember the last time I'd had a rest day, I was so obsessed with it," she recalls. "I was in the middle of doing some back squats, I'm squatting with the boys, trying to throw down and stay up with them. And I was in the middle of this back squat, and I felt a pop. I stood out of it, and immediately as I took the weight off my back, I couldn't even explain how sharp the pain was... I had no idea what could have happened. So I immediately freaked out, I didn't tell anyone, I just pretended it wasn't happening, and I kept squatting."
Afraid that if she disclosed the injury she might be held back from achieving her Olympic dreams, Toomey kept training through the pain, and even participated in a regional competition. "I could barely walk off the competition floor with the amount of pain I was in from my back, but I was just so stubborn that I wasn't going to listen to my body. I just felt like I needed to keep proving that I was worthy of this, and that one day my back would come good, without me actually listening to it."
After eight months, however, the pain was so bad that Toomey couldn't even lean over to pick something up off the ground, and so she finally admitted that she needed to go and see a specialist if she wanted to keep pursuing her goals. The doctor identified the problem as a stress fracture, and told Toomey that if she had come in for a scan immediately after the back squat, all of that pain and the severity of the injury could have been avoided by simply taking one week off from training. As it was, her recovery ended up requiring six months of no physical activity, meaning she lost more than a year to a problem that could have had a much easier resolution.
"Even now when I think about it, it was such an immature, silly decision that I let my ego get the best of me," she says. "I put my health in jeopardy, and I didn't do what my body deserved... I guess the moral of the story is it's so important and crucial to listen to the body. If something doesn't feel right, get professional advice."
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