Pain is part of recovery.

We only grow when we overextend ourselves, and when you break beyond your limits it’s gonna hurt. I’ve found in training and life that the beauty comes in the after burn.

Wanna lose 20kg in a few weeks? Starve your body of easily accessible excess energy (high caloric junk food) and grow your muscles through weight training. Your body will literally consume the energy you’ve stored as fat.

It’s painful, though. Your body is like a junkie addicted to easy gratification. It will fight you for the first two weeks. Your craving for sugar will consume your dreams and make you grumpy. Your hunger to devour everything in your path will be insatiable, until it isn’t there anymore.

It’s the same when you’re forced to change career paths like I was two years ago. After 14 years of relentless climbing to reach my chosen magazine journalism mountaintop I found that the view was great, but the rain was heavy and it was a cold and lonely place. No one tells you how lonely it is or that you need a jacket to protect against the elements.

Your solitude consumes your dreams and makes you grumpy.

Jumping off that cliff hurt, but it was less than the pain of staying on it and watching everything you love go up in flames because of the actions of small-minded people. So I jumped to save myself.

For many of us, 2020 was supposed to be our year. As things would have it, it actually was for Liverpool supporters who eventually grew tired of that sentiment when scoring the most points in league history wasn’t enough to clinch the league title in the preceding season.

This global pandemic ripped through the landscape in breathtaking speed and with a ruthlessness humanity has never seen from a non-human source. The industry I love, well it doesn’t exist anymore. Not in any familiar form, at least. Everything went up in the smoke of an overnight economic shutdown.

Everything we knew, all the answers we had are all useless now. Our society was built on the idea of quick fixes and selling things people don’t need to those who can least afford it. We rejoiced in our connectedness and that was the very channel this virus chose to attack us.

We’ve learnt, though.

Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to host massive fancy events.

We can achieve the same level of productivity without the need to waste time on a commute.

The family unit is a vital part of society and the gender gap is actually far wider than we thought when viewed from the same domestic perspective.

That meeting could’ve been an email.

When will we go back to normal? I don’t know. But do you want to?

After a week of doing the regular commute, do you still see the same necessity in an in-person office appearance?

My experience in recovering from my leap of faith is that the hard skills I had invested so much time and effort into are worthless when you’re outside of the system. Worthless in the way that people aren’t willing to pay enough for me to apply those skills in the same way that I did as a magazine editor. I needed to unlock a new mindset and recognise different abilities as skills.

Just like when we rebuild our society and economy, we need to do it differently to not be vulnerable to the same destruction. We need to learn from this and grow.

But we needed the trauma to make us appreciate what really matters and we need the pain of healing to appreciate the comfort of meaningful progress.

Our old reality was based on artificial and archaic remedies to deep societal issues that have never been addressed.

The sales graph doesn’t always need to go up when you’re peddling a niche product.

Your business shouldn’t depend on profits from a service or product that isn’t your core function.

We’re bruised from unwinnable game against a disinterested opponent and shouldn’t rush to the ice bath of our old ways so quickly. Ice only numbs the pain and actually slows recovery.

Under Armour has quietly crept to the absolute pinnacle of textile technology design with the type of new thinking that the world needs right now. The company first gained success by perfecting sweat wicking fabric and finally dispelling the old, industry-driven beliefs in the benefits of cotton undershirts.

Since those early days in the mid-90s UA has taken that same solution-oriented response to other areas of performance gear. Moisture wicking evolved into CoolSwitch, which harnessed the natural cooling powers of sweating evaporation and supercharged it with modern technology.

Threadborne took the best technologies to the individual fibres, Charged breathed new life into cotton.

And now Rush embeds minerals into the textile weave that captures the heat energy your muscles give off and reflects it back to help kick-start the recovery process by encouraging oxygenation. To be fair mineral makes the technology seem more natural than it actually is, Celliant is a two-part technology with a hollow PET fibre filled with “optically active particles.”

Rush started life as compression and sleep gear developed in partnership with NFL living-legend Tom Brady, then it crept into performance clothing and now there’s a range of recovery gear that you can wear directly after training.

The windbreaker I’m wearing in this shoot is also water resistant, so perfect for unpredictable Cape Town climes. It’s a nice jacket to weather the continued storm of uncertainty as I rebuild my body and mind to face the current set of challenges. Lockdown is over, there’s no time left to wallow.

Bottom line is that Rush is a more effective approach to muscle recovery that is in line with our latest understanding of physical training. It shows the power of purposeful innovation that applies technology to solve a specific problem.

The lessons we can take from this approach can be scaled to all the society, business and economic rescue plans. Our solutions need to be based on what we have learnt and we must resist the temptation to go back to business as normal. If I got a job in magazines after jumping from my mountain, I would’ve been consumed in the COVID-19 inferno.

Normal doesn’t exist anymore.

Under Armour’s Rush Recovery gear is available now with the option of virtual shopping. Visit underarmour.co.za to see the full range.

Follow me, it will be alright