There is a simple concept that I harp on in my office everyday:
Load vs. Capacity.
Load is life and everything you do – your job, your stress, diet, exercise, hobbies, etc. Capacity is how much your muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, discs, bones and cartilage can take. I use the analogy of a piece of rope having a certain tensile strength before it breaks.
So if your load is exceeding your capacity it can happen in two ways:
You get in a high impact accident. Some type of car accident, fall or really violent collision. At this point you are definitely going to expect to have some structure get pretty messed up. Luckily, these aren’t as common and a majority of them need some type of surgical intervention.
Your load is just slightly more than your capacity on a daily basis, but not enough for you to notice.
What happens when load exceeds capacity? You get injured!
Getting back to the title of the post, our bodies take a ton of abuse everyday and never complain until they’ve finally had enough. This leads a lot of people to the bargaining stage, where they promise they will quit treating the only body they have like crap and really start to do things right…For about a month or so.
Then you go right back to the same reckless habits and your body just takes it like a whipping mule. The problem that happens is that the body doesn’t measure long-term consequences; it’s almost like a teenager being reckless as hell and saying, “screw it, I am going to live forever!”
Say one day you decide that it’s the day to put a new PR on the board for the deadlift, even though you have taken no time to properly learn to do the movement correctly or adequately address your glaring posterior chain weakness. Your brain does something similar to taking another shot of whiskey with your friends during an all night binge – It says screw it I am going to lift this heavy ass shit and who cares if it looks like hell and my back is rounded and it kicks the hell out of my discs…
Needless to say, you end up doing it because your body only cares about what is going on at the current moment and the task at hand. Meanwhile, your spine is getting just a little more degenerated every day…Until it finally has enough of your spur-of-the-moment shit and you experience some of the worst pain of your life.
Just because you to lift a ton of weight, run that extra 5 miles, or whatever else you do – it doesn’t mean you live to fight another day and take care of your body – you only get one.
Train smarter, not harder.