Recently a patient achieved a significant personal and objective milestone in his health. Andrew Marshall came to us, as many people do, at a painful moment against a backdrop of years of accumulated injuries.

As a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Andrew has spent years using his body in an aggressive and tenacious way leading to a variety of injuries, some of which is inevitable but most largely avoidable.

Exploring Andrew’s History

At our first appointment, we talked about his current reason for coming in — a sudden neck injury that has had little change. As we continued to talk, our attention began to shift toward his left shoulder which underwent surgery in the past, several injuries to both knees, multiple concussions, and strains to nearly every joint in the body with varying degrees of intensity.

Andrew also spoke of a transition point that occurred after he recognized that his mental and physical health patterns that were not sustainable as an athlete, or as a happy human being. He made some clear changes in what he ate, how he trained, and how he curated a mental health practice.

What makes Andrew a great patient for our team?

Andrew is someone who loves to move, invest in his physical and mental health, and has the flexibility to allow change to happen. Nearly every patient that comes to us shares this common. We all, myself included, want to end our life moving well and feeling good. Andrew wants to enjoy his later years in life without physical limitations or surgeries or worries. 

Short-term risk vs long-term reward

When you begin to think about your health over a span of decades, you make different choices with your body, your habits, your hobbies, and your workouts.  While I would love to deadlift 500 lbs. today, I would much rather be doing handstands well into my golden years. Doing 1 or 2 more questionable reps during a workout will have a little reward when placed against a 30-year plan. Missing a workout will also bear little loss over the long term. This thinking really allows an amount of freedom that most people do not have with their physical health. All that needs to happen is a measurable amount of positive change year to year.

Andrew easily identified with these thoughts as we began to talk more and more through his treatment. He would very much like to continue to train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for the rest of his life but felt the years of training were taking a toll on his body. His neck resolved relatively quickly and we began to chip away at all the other parts. Several months prior to this writing Andrew was able to deadlift 405 lbs. at a bodyweight of 180 lbs. This is a lift 2.25 times his body weight and serves as a good gauge of relative strength across a variety of disciplines. It is a milestone that few people will ever reach in their life. Most importantly Andrew was able to simultaneously say that his body feels great. His knee complaints are a thing of the past and all he wants to do during our workouts, at the time of this writing, is squat.

Understanding how to play the long game

All it took for Andrew to achieve this was playing the long game. Consistently making small changes to continue to improve his health lead to maximizing his performance. The workouts were not drenched in sweat and littered with suffering and grunting, but usually a lot of talking among friends with the occasional dusting of moving heavy things. There were a lot of reps walked away from, many missed workouts, and new injuries during this training time. None of that mattered because he was training for the long game.

The long game is only achieved through some honest questions with harder honest answers. Ask yourself:

  • What do I want to be able to do with my body later in life?
  • Does my body feel better then it did last year?
  • Am I happy?
  • Do I know how to use my body in a way that does not hurt it?

In our clinic, these are the questions that really matter and the solutions we provide always have them in mind. Working on a singular region of pain can be a relatively straightforward task. Planning for the last 30 years of life takes a different road, a road that we are always planning for you whether you know that or not. Our entire system is measured against the only goal that matters: What do I need to do to feel great for the rest of my life? That’s the Long Game.