CrossFit Athlete & Trainer GO Green Beats Injury by Going Back to Basics
By Eric Shapiro and Colleen McCartney
Rarely does an individual embody the concept of perseverance better than CrossFit athlete and trainer GO Green. On April 26th, 2014, Green, 36, ruptured his achilles tendon doing banded sprints, a key part of his CrossFit training regimen. He does not attribute the injury to CrossFit training procedures; he was prepared for such a setback after the “wear and tear” that comes with years of nonstop athletics and rigorous exercise.
After undergoing surgery on April 28th, Green faced a dilemma. With his lower body movements severely restricted, it was obvious that he had to make changes. Yet, as a man who lives and breathes fitness, Green, with the support of his doctors, adapted his workout routine to his temporary limitations (the recovery period for Green’s injury is typically from four to six months). “I’ve always been one to listen to my body… fitness is a way of life for me, and it keeps me sane when things get hard,” Green explains. And so, he was back in the gym two days after his release from the hospital. This is not to say everything went smoothly from then on.
Accustomed to pushing his body to the limit, Green struggled to accept his newfound limitations. “It’s devastating because I feel like every day I don’t train… I feel like I’m losing out, like I’m missing a day to get better.” Despite the demoralization, Green’s injury had some unforeseen benefits. First, it allowed him the opportunity to focus on muscle isolation and strength-building exercises while resting his legs.
In addition, prior to his injury, Green suffered from chronic tendonitis in his knees, to the point where it hurt getting out of his seat on the subway. The recovery process from his tendon injury gave his knees a chance to heal. “It’s been a blessing to get me to slow down since I probably wouldn’t have done it on my own. And it also gives me a chance to work on some weaknesses and develop a little more strength, so once I’m able to use my legs again it’ll be that much easier.”
Despite his devastating injury, Green considers CrossFit a good option for those seeking competition and challenge in fitness. He acknowledges some of the negative media attention CrossFit has seen. While acknowledging that it is not simply “something to jump into,” Green pointed out the media’s tendency to focus on stories of injury. He provides a useful counterpoint: “The beauty of CrossFit is it can be adapted for anyone. So you can modify and scale it for anyone so they can be able to complete a workout. Whether it’s dropping a weight load, whether it’s using a different tool, again, whether it’s sitting down or standing up– anyone can do it.”
Green’s dedication to athleticism and healthy living shines through in his career as a CrossFit coach. Moving forward, he will translate the insights he gained from a devastating trauma to convey the rejuvenating, therapeutic dimensions of CrossFit that so often get lost in the controversy. In doing so, he will give others the opportunity to stay motivated and reach their goals no matter what setbacks they encounter. “People who usually come back from their injuries are people who wanted to come back,” Green asserts. “So, if they stay mentally tough and they really wanna recover, then they will.” If Green’s personal journey is anything to go by, then he’s just the man to help them.
You can follow GO Green on Twitter (@gogreenfit) and Instagram (@gogreen2nd)