Training Around Your Injuries

Hi there guys! Hope you’re all focused and well into your health and fitness regime for 2015!!

So, I chose to write about this topic of training around your injuries because there are members and online clients that have come to us with injuries or are nursing new injuries of all different severities. We currently have some members with achilles injuries, plantar fasciitis, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, tennis elbow, diseases that can effect energy levels and some recovering from minor surgeries.

Being injured really sucks, especially when you have set yourself some goals. I know it because I’ve been nursing a knee injury and plantar fasciitis for about 2 years. My plantar fasciitis is now manageable but my knee injury has been at a more severe level the last 6 months.

All in all I haven’t fared too badly working around my injury. In the past 2 years I still managed to compete in 6 Natural Bodybuilding Competitions placing top 3 in all and winning 1!  Obviously, due to my injury I couldn’t squat, leg press, leg extension or curl what my competitors could. My lifting for leg training would be considered light compared to my competitors. I knew I had to work around it and build and shape my legs in other ways which is exactly what I did.

Now, my injury has gotten worse and I am not able to do leg weights at all. This has come at a time where I had set myself my biggest goal yet. I have been training hard for the PNBA Elite Pro Qualifer in Melbourne in April this year so my injury preventing me from doing what needs to be done has left me a little bummed.

I don’t intend to give up on that goal just yet! I will try other methods and follow through on my competition prep and see where it takes me. I love training hard every day and I love living a healthy lifestyle so I will keep building my tower and remind myself that these things happen and it’s certainly ok to move the goal posts!

Aesthetics aside, when you are nursing an injury it also sucks to think you may lose the strength, fitness and muscle mass you’ve worked so damn hard for.

What I do know is that there is often something, no matter how small, that you can do without negatively affecting the injury. Of course you mustn’t train through the injury – that’s crazy! An injury that would have kept you out of the gym for a few weeks could now keep you out for a few months or worse if you try and push through.

You have to plan, get savvy and work around your injury so you can keep your fitness, strength and especially your mind happy!

If the injury is upper body, ask yourself is there any lower body training you can do. Maybe it’s a workplace injury such as tennis elbow which one of our members Carol is nursing. Carol is a regular in classes and consistently weight trains 5 days a week following a split weight training program. Carol has now adjusted her training to work around her injury. For the next couple of months she will focus on lower body training and limited body weight upper body exercises that don’t impact her injury.

A shoulder injury, for example, may allow you to do a seated row but nothing overhead, an ankle injury may mean no impact but weight training and yoga may be perfect.  All injuries are different but the main thing to remember is to go safely and cautiously and do what you can.  While you may  stall or even go backwards in one area you can make incredible progress in another area! So I may not be able to leg press 200kg and my quads won’t be feathered but my Yoga has improved out of site and I can finally do a headstand and hey, my chin ups are getting pretty good too!

Now, whilst you are injured, and I know how disappointing and depressing this can be – you still need to keep everything else in place to put your body in an optimal position for healing and feeling well.

Don’t forget good nutrition which can keep your body energised, keep you in a healthy weight range and keep your mind clear. Choose nutritious foods to provide you with essential macro and micro nutrients, drink lots of water, keep getting good quality sleep and keep up with your intake of essential fatty acids. eg. fish oil.

By keeping your body healthy and in optimal condition you can help your injury heal faster, keep some of the muscle you worked so hard for, make returning to fitness easier and most importantly keep you feeling good physically and mentally.

When you have an injury, as I do, and you have to change your goals, the course of action or move the goal posts altogether, yes it can suck, but you have total control over just how much it sucks.

If you can train around your injury and nurse your injury – that may involve stretching, foam rolling (self myofascial release), physio, chiro, yoga, resting that body part and loving your body with the best nutrition, I promise you it will make for a smoother, easier comeback.

With any injury see a physician or therapist to learn what is possible with your type of injury. Focus on maintaining strength, keeping a strong mind and always listen to your body as you explore your options.

You will either find a way or make one.

Shereen x