SARAH SHORTT: Let’s start at the beginning – how did you end up needing surgery?
LISA OSBORNE: I noticed a pain in my hip a couple of years ago, and it was something I was managing for a long time – massaging it and rolling it out. It progressively got worse and we tried to fix it with rehab, but when I had an X-ray it showed that the head of the femur and hip joint was bone on bone – the cartilage has worn away. When I was referred to a surgeon he said that it was a degenerative condition and could not be fixed by rehab – I required a full replacement of my right hip. Surgery was very much the last resort. We tried other methods such as platelet rich plasma (PRP) – but in the end surgery was my only option.
Have you been scared that you won’t be able to teach group fitness again?
Yes. And that’s why I wanted to share this story and inspire others not to lose faith when you have tough times. You know, injuries happen, but you don’t have to give up. Fitness and teaching is my life – I love being with the members and it’s definitely been hard. The other day, I cried on the side of the studio because I couldn’t teach track one as I was in so much pain. But everyone gets upset about things, you’ve just got to find ways to keep going. I’m pretty positive. I’ve spent my whole life listening to motivational quotes and laughing and surrounding myself with positive people, and I’m lucky to work for a company that is all about keeping on going and being fit for life, so I’m in the right place. My mental journey has been really good.
You teach several BODYATTACK and BODYSTEP classes a week. How have you managed to keep teaching while being injured?
LES MILLS workouts feature lots of options and modifications which I’ve made good use of. I’ve learned that doing the hardest or fastest option isn’t always the best! I’ve focused on doing moves well on the lowest level. If I do a hover on my knees and do it perfectly symmetrically, this is actually a lot harder than doing it badly on my toes with no engagement of the target muscles. I’ve learned that it’s harder to balance on one leg with the other leg out in front – activating your quads, keeping your hips square, bracing your abs and squeezing your glutes – than it is to do 20 squats – badly.
I’ve struggled with teaching some parts of workouts – the bits with lots of single knees and single leg kicks, so I have people to help me teach those tracks. I’m so thankful for the culture we have in our Tribe of helping each other out, and that we love teaching together. It’s important to ask for help if you need it – it shows authenticity, integrity and the ability to keep it real.
It’s about not being too proud to say, I can’t do that, but I can still do this, and that’s still an achievement.
How has this affected your training?
As Program Directors we’re encouraged to have personal trainers, not so that we can train harder, but rather to keep us balanced and strong for the programs that we teach. Mark, my personal trainer, actually noticed the imbalance before I did. I could feel my hip was a bit sore, but he noticed how much I was favoring my left side. He immediately took me back to basics with my movements and focused on keeping me square, but we realized that a lot of what I was doing was too heavy to maintain correct alignment.
Mark was the one who said, “You have to be more balanced, you can’t do that, you have to do this move … you’re doing too much, you need to slow down.” He kept me going by modifying things for me and ensuring I was still keeping the right muscles firing so I could maintain my strength.
We had to decrease a lot of my volume, which was incredibly frustrating. I’d say to him, “I’m square!” and he’d say, “Lisa, you’re not square.” I’d say, “I’m even! I’m doing both legs!” and he’d say, “You’re not, Lisa…” I know I frustrated him because I didn’t want to listen, but he was so good, he always made me do it and it was so helpful to have an extra set of eyes.
What has been the focus of your pre-hab?
The easiest thing with an injury like this is to become imbalanced. My absolute focus has been to work both sides of my body equally so I’m not getting strong on just one side and increasing the risk of injury. Even though I would hate it, Mark would make me stand on my bad leg for one minute as well as my good leg, and make me stretch out my right side as well as my left. A lot of people will favor one side of their body without even realizing it. As soon as you find a weakness, it’s important to strengthen that side of the body, rather than just relying on your strong side.
I started doing CXWORX once I became aware of the pain, and that has helped immensely with staying strong and balanced. When I went in to see my surgeon, he couldn’t believe how strong my obliques were – he said he hadn’t seen such a strong injured side in a very long time.
How do you vary your training to stay strong?
It is so important to mix up your training to help prevent injuries. I’ve always believed that all LES MILLS programs are awesome, and if you can do a mix of them you will have a perfectly balanced training routine. Do a few BODYATTACK, BODYSTEP, BODYPUMP, or CXWORX workouts… don’t just do one program every single day. I really believe every single person should do CXWORX at least once a week as the foundation of their strength.
"I started doing CXWORX once I became aware of the pain, and that has helped immensely with staying strong and balanced."
How has training and dealing with such a significant injury strengthened your mind?
This injury has taught me to have more empathy with the people in my class and make sure I’m offering options that will mean everyone can tailor the workout to suit their ability, wherever they are today. It’s about using self-discipline and focus, and changing up what you need to. My mantra at the moment is: adapt, react, then get on with it. It’s what is keeping me going.
Lisa’s surgery went successfully and she appeared on crutches at the filming of BODYATTACK 103. For more on Lisa’s recovery check out these updates she’s shared with the Les Mills instructor tribe.
If you are experiencing any type of pain while exercising, or you become injured, please consult your physician before continuing to exercise and follow his or her advice.