3-2-1… Go! The red seconds on the black timer ticked off like gunshots in the ensuing battle. Two competitive athletes, one male and one female, were going toe to toe on the Hero WOD “DT”. You could feel the tension in the box because neither athlete would back down. Rep was matched for rep. The female athlete assumed she was the favorite and had this in the bag, but the dude would not go away. In the last rounds the heavy barbell weighed down the favorite, and the male athlete, seeing this, reached deep and manhandled his bar to victory.
Hold up! While this glorious clash wouldn’t appear to be a sight uncommon in the field, the circumstances must be viewed closer. Upon further examination, it was discovered that the male athlete had one leg in a medical boot propped up on a bench to attack that WOD. It was a nail biting carnage in a restrictive boot. Yep, the female athlete just ate humble pie as she was served a beat down in warfare by the one legged wonder.
Six weeks previously, Matt Lantz snapped his tibia and fibula in half with a complete break at the ankle in a freak accident at the box. His injury required immediate surgery that included two plates and 12 pins. The doctors informed Lantz it would be four months before he would be back walking, let alone participating in regular WODs again at the box.
“Prior to my injury, I felt stronger and faster than ever,” Lantz says. He had previously been making huge strides and progress over the last six months as a new CrossFit athlete. Lantz would not be discouraged, and he would not back down. He was determined to keep up his strength and fitness levels, and not let this be a disparaging setback.
After five weeks of laying low for recovery, he was back at the battleground with his infamous knee scooter. His warhorse scooter helped him zip around almost Matrix style, while he fluidly set up barbells and made his own battle zone on the pull up bars.
Lantz owned one-legged deadlifts, one-legged push press, and L-sit pull ups! If there were a way to modify the movement without weight bearing on his injured war leg, he would find a way. People would discredit his ability to do the exercises for a while, and his reply, “actually, I can.” He was determined and driven to not let this setback take out his fitness and health progress.
His first attempts back at the box on his warhorse scooter weren’t all pride and glory, as could be imagined. Lantz felt like his “lungs were the worst. I had fire lungs and sticky spit from 2-3 minutes of work.” He has continued to keep clawing away for progress, eventually becoming more comfortable with the workloads.
With the experience of Lantz’s war wound, he has had an abundance of time to think. Through reflection of this assault, he has learned some valuable life skills and nuggets of wisdom to continue the fight. He gained perspective, evaluated his priorities in life, and examined his healthy habits. Lantz realized, “This injury made me have healthy habits. I acknowledged that I truly needed to focus on my mobility and also my nutrition.” Mobility would be critical to his technique, and key to being more efficient and safe in daily WODs. Nutrition would be key to fueling his performances. Both are crucial to fighting the daily fight.
The battle isn’t over, and the warrior spirit hasn’t disappeared. Every day Lantz gets healthier and stronger. He has chosen to positively learn and find the beauty in the war wounds, and strives for continued progress in ensuing battles to come.