Tag Archives: physical therapy

Training update (change of plan!)

From the time I started CrossFit in January 2013 until 2021, it was my primary sport. I took 2021 off from CrossFit to focus solely on weightlifting. The idea was to get stronger in the Olympic lifts, which I’ve always struggle to get stronger in, so I could be closer to competing RX in CrossFit. When I started physical therapy earlier this year my plan was to return to CrossFit once my body was healthy and make a go at competing RX.

I’ve changed my mind.

Plot twist! Whiplash! Parkour!

I’ve decided to stick with weightlifting as my primary sport, and to do CrossFit-ish workouts on the side—for fun, not for super serious. There are several reasons I made this decision. A big one is: I think weightlifting is better suited to my brain and my body, and the way that the two do (and don’t) work together. Said another way: I think weightlifting better positions me to (1) keep my body healthy (no, CrossFit injury rates are not higher than injury rates in other strength sports) and (2) be competitive.

Photo of me snatching 45 kilos (yellow plates) on a wooden platform. I'm wearing a black sports bra, black camouflage leggings, a black and hot pink knee sleeve on my left (injured) knee, and white Adidas lifting shoes with neon green laces. I'm in the bottom of the snatch position, with the weight over my head. In the background is the powerlifting side of the gym, complete with deadlifting platforms, benches, squat racks and rigs, and weight trees full of iron plates and change plates. The walls of the gym are black and red.
Pre-shoulder injury, and several months into my knee injury. This is a 45kg (99#) snatch. The bar weighs 15 kilos, each of the yellow plates—one on each side—weighs 15 kilos.

My body isn’t quite where it needs to be to jump back into weightlifting full time. I’m still not cleared to snatch or jerk (which is, like, 2/3 of weightlifting), and I can’t yet do pull-ups or push-ups (which are important accessory (successory!) exercises). I *am* cleared to do a bunch of other shit though. All varieties of squats and deads are okay; most types of lunges are okay; and cleans, presses, neutral-grip overhead work (dumbbell thrusters, devil’s presses, etc.), core work, and a ton of accessory movements are okay, too. Running, biking, and rowing have been back in the mix for a few months already.

So…what now?

Microdose my way back into weightlifting—in two simple steps.

Step one: Supplement my 1:1 sessions with one or two barbell training days per week for a few weeks, beginning in mid-August. (Since May, I’ve been working 1:1 with a gymnastics coach two times a week. Our training reinforces and builds upon what I do in PT, and works to improve my aerobic capacity, and endurance.)

Step two: Phase in additional barbell training days until I’m at four a week while phasing out PT and 1:1 training.

How much overlap there’ll be between weightlifting, PT, and 1:1 training will depend on how quickly my body heals. Could be a few weeks, could be a few (more) months. Don’t know. I think we’re close.

About five weeks ago my physical therapist estimated I’d be able to start snatching and jerking in about eight to 10 weeks. We’re halfway through those 10 weeks. Some days it feels like we’re so fucking close. Other days it feels unlikely or even impossible that we’ll get there. We’ve made a ton of progress since I started this round of PT in March, and it feels like we’ve been stuck at this last little bit FOREVER. Historically, being patient has not been a strength of mine. I’m working really hard to change that, and I think I’ve done a good job.

Some good news is: I’ve accidentally been prepping my body for more over the last few weeks. Oops! Pre-injury, I was training 3-4 days a week, for two or more hours per training session. Pre-2021, when CrossFit was my primary sport, I was training 6 days a week, for two or more hours per training sessions, and sometimes twice in a day. Since May of this year, I’ve been in the gym only two days a week, one hour per session.

Until the last few weeks.

My kids have been with me for the last month, and my youngest has been very enthusiastically attending the CrossFit Teens class almost every day that they offer it (four days a week). So, for the last few weeks, I’ve been at the gym three or four days a week, not just my usual two. I’ve been using those extra days to get in some active recovery—mostly different intervals of backward sled drags + C2 bike, and running + rowing—between and around my 1:1 sessions and physical therapy.

Some more good news is: I met one of the weightlifting coaches on one of these extra days—A WOMAN!!! (I’ve only ever had men for coaches)—and we got on really well. We talked about my specific challenges as an autistic athlete, my goals, and the plan I’ve outlined in this post. She was kind, welcoming, passionate, and accepting of me, an autistic athlete (the entire coaching staff at the gym I’ve been training at since May has been incredibly accommodating and accepting, and receptive to learning from me and with me). I’m excited to start working with her and the rest of the team. I AM VERY EXCITED TO GET A BARBELL BACK IN MY HANDS AND OVER MY HEAD, Y’ALL!!!

How much money I’ve spent on my injuries so far this year: January through June 2022

$6,080.71.

Before we break that figure down, I want to preface the rest of this post: I’ve spent weeks thinking about whether or not I should (“should”) publish this post.

Part of me feels like I’m not allowed to talk about these things. Or, like. That it’s a bad look to talk about these things, by virtue of being in a position to have such things to talk about. I don’t want to come off as tone-deaf, or pretentious.

Another part of me feels a duty—and wants—to talk about these things. I know and understand that it’s a privilege to have the resources—financial and otherwise—to prioritize my health, and to package all this up to share with y’all. I know this because I’ve not always been in this position. I grew up in poverty, I’ve been on welfare, I’ve been under- and unemployed—and uninsured—for long stretches of time, I’ve been deeply in debt, I’ve been vehicle-less, I’ve been homeless.

I wish more people were more open and honest about this shit—about the enormous amount of privilege and resources, both tangible and in-, that go into (1) “being healthy” (so many ways to define that), and (2) being an athlete, even at an amateur or recreational level. So, I’m being open and honest about what goes into those things for me. You know. Be the change, etc.

*

In the first six months of this year, I spent $6,080.71 on treatments, services, and products directly related to my injuries and other body-based training limitations, and the issues, imbalances, and weaknesses that caused them. These expenses were not incurred or distributed evenly throughout the first six months of the year. Because I’m bad at numbers/math (I’m not that type of autistic), let’s pretend they were. Divided evenly over six months, that $6,080.71 is basically $1,000.00 a month.

A thousand dollars a month is a lot of fucking money—in general, and especially in the context of anything that isn’t, like, rent or a mortgage (although I’m not sure where you can find $1,000.00-a-month rent or mortgages these days??). It’s also only a fraction of the amount that everything enumerated below actually costs. Altogether, everything below totals $19,509.05, which: JESUS CHRIST. I’m not even THAT injured!!! And the injuries that I do have aren’t even THAT bad!!!

Here’s the tl;dr of it:

CategoryTotal cost (Jan-Jun)Percent of total costCovered by insuranceOut-of-pocket cost (Jan-Jun)
Health insurance$280.801.5%$0$280.80
Physical therapy$14,456.6074.1%$13,428.34$1,028.26
Mobility and tissue work$2,640.9613.5%$0$2,640.96
Gym, etc.1,696.428.7%$0$1,696.42
Supplements$294.921.5%$0$294.92
Equipment$139.950.7%$0$139.95
Total$19,509.05100%$13,428.34$6,080.71

A few notes before we dive into the numbers:

  • All figures that follow are exact. No rounding or guesstimating. (Percentages are rounded in the table above.)
  • This list includes things that I use regularly, things that I use only occasionally or minimally, and things that I haven’t used at all (or haven’t needed/been able to use yet).
  • Many of the things listed below have been and continue to be necessary for my rehab and recovery. Some have/are not.
  • When applicable, taxes and shipping are included in the figures below.
  • Some figures below reflect vendor promos, some reflect a military discount.
  • This list does not include money I’ve spent on other training-related things that aren’t directly related to my injuries and rehab, like training gear, my full supplement stack, food, tech, hiking gear, and tangential expenses, like gas and parking.
  • This list includes only the financial investment I’ve made in my rehab and recovery during the first six months of the year. It does not reflect the other resources required to focus on getting my body healthy for training, including time, energy, executive functioning, and a regulated nervous system.
  • All of my accounts are current, and I paid cash (“cash”) for everything listed below (nothing was financed).

Okay. Without further autistic ado*, a breakdown of how much my injuries, etc., cost me the first six months of the year.

Health insurance: $280.20

Until I get my orders separating me from service, my health insurance is through Tricare, the military’s health insurance program.

Tricare doesn’t cover a handful of things that some civilian health insurance programs cover, like chiropractic care, massage, acupuncture, or somatic therapy (and it didn’t cover my clinical autism evaluation and diagnosis process, which cost me $5,500.00 out of pocket last fall). Tricare does cover a shit-ton of other stuff, has no limits on physical therapy (a godsend for me, a person who’s been in physical therapy two to three times a week for over a year), and the out-of-pocket costs are unbeatable. Especially in this trash-ass economy.

I know that having this level of coverage and this low of out-of-pocket costs is an immense privilege, and I’m grateful that I’ve had Tricare throughout all of this. I wouldn’t have been able to prioritize these elements of my health without it. It’s also true that prioritizing my physical health—which I’m only able to do because of the insurance I have, which is only available to me because I’m enlisted in the military—has often been at the expense of my mental and emotional health by virtue of being in the military. I’m sure some autistic folks thrive in the military. I’m not one of them.

I wish the level of coverage (or more) and out-of-pocket cost (or less) that’s (currently) available to me was available to everyone, regardless of preexisting conditions (“preexisting conditions”) and employment status. I will absolutely miss having Tricare when the time comes (RIP).

  • Monthly premium: $46.70
  • Deductible: $0.00
  • Copay: $0.00
  • Total out-of-pocket cost: $280.20

*

Physical therapy: $1,028.26

Imaging

  • 3 images (2 X-rays, 1 MRI)
  • Total billed: $2,545.60
  • Total out-of-pocket cost: $112.00

Shoulder and glute + hamstring physical therapy

  • 21 visits
  • Total billed: $5,804.00
  • Total out-of-pocket cost: $406.26

Pelvic floor + core physical therapy

  • 17 visits
  • Total billed: $5,957.00
  • Total out-of-pocket cost: $360.00

One-off physical therapy consult

  • 1 visit, not covered by insurance
  • Total billed: $150.00
  • Total out-of-pocket cost: $150.00

*

Mobility and tissue work: $2,640.96

Massage

  • 12 visits, not covered by insurance
  • Total billed: $1,620.00
  • Gratuity: $600.00
  • Total out-of-pocket cost: $2,220.00

Chiropractic

  • 4 visits, not covered by insurance
  • Total billed: $375.00
  • Total out-of-pocket cost: $375.00

Stretching

  • GOWOD app, $11.99/month, 3 months: $35.97
  • Stretch app, $9.99/month, 1 month: $9.99
  • Total out-of-pocket cost: $45.96

*

Gym memberships, programming, and 1:1 coaching: $1,696.42

None of my gym memberships or programming and coaching expenses are covered by health insurance or any employer-sponsored wellness incentive programs. All costs are out-of-pocket.

Gym memberships

  • Temporary membership: $80.00
  • Drop-in fees: $30.00
  • Total out-of-pocket cost: $110.00

Programming

1:1 coaching

  • 10 one-hour sessions per package
  • 2 10-session packages
  • Total out-of-pocket cost: $1,379.00

*

Supplements: $294.92

  • Turmeric and curcumin: $82.67
  • Collagen: $175.13
  • Fish oil: $37.12
  • Total out-of-pocket cost: $294.92

*

Equipment: $139.95

*I hereby declare “autistic ado” shorthand for “the autistic tendency (trauma response) to over-explain every-goddamn-thing in an effort to provide clarity and prevent confusion, even though doing so usually ends up confusing, not clarifying, especially when non-autistics are involved in the communication exchange.”