Be Aware or Beware: A Must Read For Fitness Enthusiasts

By Coach Shawn

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“What you label your experience,

becomes your experience.”


Have you ever suffered a tweak or an injury during a certain  movement? 

Maybe you even thought to yourself, 

“Squatting hurt my knee,”


“Snatching hurt my shoulder.”

Or worse,

You communicate with certainty to yourself and/or to others something like,

“I can no longer do (insert thing) because of (insert a movement).”

Beware….and BE AWARE….

“Any thought,

Any feeling,

Any belief,

Any behavior,

That is constantly reinforced,

Will become a habit.

It will become automatic for us.”

While a tweak, injury or any kind of physical set back is less than ideal, 

I’ve seen across my time as a coach, we make it worse with the way in which we view it, how we speak about it (to ourselves and others) ultimately creating the undesirable emotions we will feel. 


#1 – Fear 

First and foremost we are fearful.

Any sort of pain or anything out of our normal creates an uncomfortable feeling within us.

Outside of the discomfort of what we are physically experiencing our thoughts can race uncontrollably to a negative or grim outlook.

And if we don’t assert ourselves in the driver seat of these thoughts, 

we feel completely helpless. 

The natural human instinct is to blame. 

Blame the movement. 

Blame someone else.


Blame ourselves. 

#2 Loss –

We are in real time experiencing loss.

Temporary loss of function, of our normalcy, of things we take for granted in our daily lives. 

A lot of us so easily go down the road of thinking of the things we can no longer do (in the particular moment.) 

And this creates frustration, anger and even some resentment at times. 

#3 – Unknown/Uncertainty 

Navigating through the unknown or uncertainty is not easy.

Your body isn’t feeling 100% and now your mental muscles are being put to the test. 

Unfortunately, most of us go to “worst case scenario” thinking in these instances. 


It wasn’t that movement that did it in most cases. 

That movement is where it happened.

So many things lead up to these things from happening, that we so easily dismiss.

Stress levels, sleep or lack thereof, diet, inflexibility, over training, under recovering, to name a few. 

We all carry our own personal baggage into our current fitness experience.

What do I mean? 

Take the following examples for instance… 

  • Years of not stretching (or never stretching) or taking care of our body.
  • A lack of flexibility almost always puts stress in the wrong places. 
  • Or 
  • Years of overtraining and under recovering.
  • Overworking particular parts of your body, creating imbalances, tissue damage, and compensation patterns. 
  • Or 
  • Years of inactivity or sedentary lifestyle. 

In today’s world, it’s normal for a job to demand you sit for prolonged periods of time each day. That pile up each week. 

The human body wasn’t designed to sit all day.

And too much sitting shortens the hip flexors, mutes the glutes (the power house of your lower half) and from here how easy is it for the back to take on more stress than it needs to? 

Sport backgrounds (ie: previous runner how many miles have you logged? What about hours recovering hips, calves & hamstrings from those miles?) 

Any previous injuries (big or small)  

Current lifestyle 


Years of just not taking care of ourselves.


When you’re young you feel invincible.

You recover faster, bounce back from a night out with friends quicker, your body is more resilient. And we take it for granted then. 

You don’t get sore, 

Your youthful, resilient nature makes up for bad decisions.

You can do damage to your body and not feel the havoc the next day.

Somewhere along the aging process that all changes. 

I felt it around my early 30’s. 

We all have our own unique code.

Our own unique backgrounds.

Our own body morphology.

Our own movement patterns.

Our own limitations.

Our own strengths. 

Our own weaknesses. 

Combined, this is the sum of our personal history

This collective is what we carry with us, everywhere we go. Including working out. 

So it happened, the question now becomes….


When we fall victim to a tweak, injury or setback it can be very easy to lose our mojo.

The easy thing to  think/or say is something like “squatting hurt my knee.”

Zooming out, 

that could have been where it happened. 

A lot likely led to this moment. 

But we overlook that because we are so zoomed in.

And now something hurts.

And fear, loss and the unknown and uncertainty arise. 

We may be in pain, have to shelf certain movements, everyday life is affected and we are totally uncertain of when we will feel “normal” again. 

All affect our overall morale. 

Motivation or morale begin to drop.

Most people I meet or interact with in these situations, almost enter a depressive-like state. 


We’re scared.

Pain provides fight or flight. 

And most of us don’t understand our bodies at a mastery level. 

It’s almost as if we are driving a rental car 

Opposed to our own personal vehicle. 

We don’t know how to navigate these new waters. 

We likely are experiencing or will experience fomo, fear of missing out. 

“I can’t do (insert something) anymore!”

Fear of loss. 

Loss in ability. 

Loss of invincibility. 

Loss of time. 

Loss of functionality. 

Loss of resources. 

Loss of self.

In the moment, we can tell ourselves “this loss is permanent, 

It’s forever and we’ll never be the same or get better.”

That we are going to lose progress, we are going to go backwards.

And all these thoughts create more and more fear.

Creating a polluted mind. 

A mind and difficult space to enjoy life from. 


Trust me, I’ve been here too.

Many times. 

Whether it’s been a body tweak, knee hurting, or back hurting. 

Those two body parts affect everyday life.

You feel them in everything you do and can serve as a constant reminder. 

I once rolled my ankle while coaching a class by running to go grab the clock remote and slipped over a pvc pipe. 

I almost vomited on the spot. It hurt so bad. 

Or during a recent competition, I tore my rotator cuff muscle in my shoulder. 

Plus countless other setbacks, tweaks, bumps, bruises or injuries across my nearly 17 years of fitness.

So trust me I know setbacks or injuries aren’t fun.

I am proud to say I’ve self rehabbed all of these and within a good time frame from the incident.

One of the most important aspects of these journeys was always working on my mind during them. 

You see, It’s so easy to fall prey to what we’ve lost or cannot do, or how this affects us day to day.

I always knew that mentality would do NOTHING for my recovery. 

Nothing for me in general. 

Except create a toxic mentality that would bring me down (& likely others too.)

So I would shift my focus.

I would train my mind along with my body. 

What, if anything is great about this? 

What could be great about this? 

Find something Shawn. Anything. Find it. 

Look for it, and you can find it. 

I understand this is extremely difficult. 

But there’s something there, trust me.

And whether you can find it or not the lesson (over time) will always present itself if you are looking. 

I’d focus on cementing and empowering my beliefs.

I know beliefs have the power to shape our emotions, behaviors, actions and overall day to day decisions. Not to mention mood and personal state. 

I’d ensure to focus on empowering beliefs. 

And dispel negative ones quickly. 

I’d focus on the belief of how resilient I knew my body was.

I’d focus on every single little win, no matter how small or minute.

And from that, create positive momentum. 

I’d focus even more on eating an anti-Inflammatory diet to promote recovery and healing.

I’d research and learn and apply what I learned. 

I’d speak aloud and train my brain to believe in my healing and my recovery journey. 

I was literally training my brain.

Sound lame?

Try complaining about it 24-7 with no progress and bringing morale down wherever you go.

Now that is lame. 


Life will happen. 

Will test us. 

Will challenge us and provide opportunities at every corner. 

We choose how to respond.

Be a drain?


Be a light? 

Find the good? 


Harp on the bad?

Find and create the solutions?


Wallow in our woes? 

There is unlimited power in our beliefs.

“Beliefs create or beliefs destroy.”


Do something.

If that doesn’t work over time,

Try something else.

If that doesn’t work over time,

Try something else.

Exhaust your resourcefulness.

“Problems are never a matter of resources, it’s always a matter of resourcefulness.” 

Stop at nothing. 

And don’t lose your faith along the way. 


So make a decision.

Become victim to our circumstances 


The creator of our own fate. 

We do so by taking consistent action.

Not complaining. 

Not creating a pity party and voicing all our cant’s or frustrations.

But by first remaining optimistic and hopeful. 

By challenging ourselves to look for the good, to lean on our resourcefulness.

By remaining relentless in what’s possible in our beliefs of our resilience of the human body, we do so by first training our resilience of our mind.

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