Apart from having my own bed set up in the ladies’ change room, I really do live at the gym. Yes, I know that many gym rats voice this statement but I literally can’t escape the fitness world even if I tried. And why would I want to?
Bodybuilding has always been good to me. I won my very first fitness competition as a vegan bikini competitor in 2013 and my pro card just one year later. Then in 2015, I had the ultimate “client success story” when one of my girls won Bodybuilding.com’s $200,000 12-Week Transformation Challenge, beating out 345,000 other contestants worldwide.
With a few good victories under my fake leather belt, I was even able to turn my passions into a business and help other vegans (and veg-curious) get “Jacked on the Beanstalk.”
When I’m not home, glued to my laptop, coaching my online clients, I’m at AnyTime Fitness in Ottawa’s Little Italy, training local vegans or teaching my always-intense yet highly-entertaining, mixed bag of torture, cardio class.
If I’m not playing Coach Shorkey, I can be found getting my own workouts in at yet another gym; this one close to my downtown apartment&mdasha great “people watching” night club atmosphere where, I of course, fit in perfectly. And if for some reason, I don’t want to venture outside for a workout, I simply mess around on the calisthenics tower in the center of my living room. Throughout my 10+ years of strength training, I miraculously enough, have never experienced any kind of serious injury. Sure, I’d tweak a trap or hamstring from time-to-time but it was never anything crippling enough that would force me to take more than a few days’ off from the gym.
Until it happened. The spiteful “Swole Gods” struck me down with shin-splints-from-hell as punishment for too much running and not enough stretching.
I ignored doctors’ orders and kept training. And what a shock&mdashthe pain got worse and worse.
After my shin splints turned into a tibial stress fracture, I was forced to cease all lower body exercises and instead, focus on repairing my leg and recovery
I was told to rest, ice and take pain killers like Naproxen and Advil daily. But the vegan hippie inside of me just wasn’t cool with that.
I started to research the best plant-derived, anti-inflammatory solutions and how to heal a sport-related injury without the use of doctor-prescribed medication.
I started consuming as much fresh turmeric and ginger as I could. I discovered Land Art’s HerbaFlex . I took a stiff shot of HerbaFlex every morning followed by a turmeric and ginger-laden smoothie. Turmeric, as many of us already know, has very strong anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its antioxidant-rich, yellow pigment “curcumin.” I knew it would help relieve both the pain and inflammation but that I’d have to consume a LOT to really reap the benefits in the shortest amount of time. I chose HerbaFlex because it was a highly concentrated source (1000 mg per tablespoon), preservative-free and a liquid supplement which meant faster, more efficient absorption. Bonus that HerbaFlex also contains black pepper for maximal curcumin absorption and both burdock and black cohosh (extra naturally-sourced anti-inflammatories.)
I knew that icing would also reduce inflammation but I just couldn’t justify the time spent with my leg propped up, pressing a bag of ice against it all day long. Thankfully the good people at Land Art came to my rescue yet again. I fell deeply in love with their Reflex. Spray. It basically has the same effect as ice– minus the time, effort, boredom and freezing cold hands that accompanies it. The camphor in this handy spray provided instant pain relief to my swollen calf muscle and surrounding tissue. Plus the addition of eucalyptus & menthol essential oils resonated perfectly with both my inner hippie and pampered spa girl.
I found a spritz of Reflex to go a long way when sprayed directly onto the Kinesio tape that was supporting my ankle. I’d let it soak right into the tape and feel soothed and tingly for hours. It’s now been four months since my injury and as much as my leg has improved drastically, I still have to take it easy. I’ve accepted that my explosive plyometric movements, pistol squats and heavy weighted walking lunges just aren’t happening any time soon.
And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this experience, it’s that I’m NOT invincible. And even though I may look like one, I’m not actually a superhero.
No matter how big the ego is, nothing is worth risking permanent damage. Always listen to your body. It loves you and wants you to have a nice butt too. However, it will look much nicer minus the limp and leg brace. Stay safe, kids.
Samantha Shorkey www.JackedontheBeanstalk.com