How to still achieve your health & fitness goals while nursing an injury*

Wednesday, 18 May 2016, By Alicia Jovcevski

At some point in your health & fitness journey you will encounter a set-back.

Whether it's major or minor, like missing a few of your PT sessions when suffering from the dreaded flu or to more lengthy hindrances like when you sustain an injury, the key to overcoming the loss of your "fitness mojo" is to keep going & modify! Not stop!


Of course this is subject to a clearance by your GP or Physio & the severity of your injury - I.e., if you have had a total joint replacement or are suffering from a fractured foot, then continuing intense impact training is not an option & rehabilitation is first port of call.

However it's often suggested that you should stop exercising altogether. Initially this might sound like a good option but in most cases this is incorrect.


Here's why:

In everyday life, whether it is sitting on the toilet, getting into your car, walking up the stairs in your home or even just carrying the shopping into your house, you need to use major muscles to carry out all these tasks.

Imagine if all the bones & muscles in your body that were healthy & 100% functional deteriorated because they weren't being used or strengthened anymore? You would be in serious trouble!


When nursing or recovering from an injury, the idea is to work within the pain barrier.
So if you have a sore knee for example, that's ok!
If you can use one leg, give the sore knee a rest & focus on the other leg, or you might be able to do a short range of movement, so you eliminate doing full range while your knee is sore but you can still do a smaller movement & that way you still keep that impaired muscle strong.

WHY you still need to keep your body moving?

The risk of stopping altogether means those supporting muscles then become weak, your metabolism then slows down because you're not using those muscles, therefore you require less food to feed those muscles & you begin to gain weight.
Concurrently you then feel demotivated to continue training & then have to start all over again.


Drawing on my own recent personal experience, 3 months ago I was injured with a stress fracture in my left foot & was in a moon boot for up to 12 weeks, restricted to zero impact exercise & no weight bearing. This meant I could only do low impact (no impact) cardio & no weight bearing on that left foot.

Initially, the news was very deflating & left me wondering whether I wanted to continue to train as I thought I was completely impaired & unable to continue to working towards my goals..
But thankfully, I drew on past experience & knew that if I told my Trainer about the severity & limitations of my injury that we could modify all my training & focus on what I COULD do. Everything was in my control.

Not only did I continue to train & complete my high intensity cardio sessions by simply modifying my training to using my own body weight & the stationary bike, I recovered from my injury & actually lost 2% body fat while I was injured!


The key is to have some active recovery so you keep your body moving, while working with your Trainer within your injury parameters. This then keeps you feeling good, still releasing all those well-being endorphins & will encourage you to continue on your health & fitness journey while your body recovers.


A change in your training & a shock to your system can do wonders for weight loss, as the body becomes complacent & plateaus once it gets used to what you are doing.

It's all about what you CAN control!
While we are injured our bodies are busily trying to repair itself & needs sources of good quality foods containing vital vitamins & minerals to help it repair.

This is where your personal trainer becomes your best friend as they can not only change your training plan to cater for your injury but also your nutrition as well to quantify the foods you are eating & also ensure you still remain on track with achieving your result.

As we know, nutrition equates to 70% of your result, so remaining conscious of what you are consuming on a daily basis versus your limited output is crucial.
As the saying goes "you can't expect what you don't inspect!".
You Trainer is there for accountability, by shifting the focus off what you can't do & focusing on what you can control - your food, this keeps you well on track to still reaching those goals.

If you are in need of rehabilitation
Rehabilitation is the process to regain full function following an injury which involves restoring strength, mobility, endurance and power.
Regardless of the type of injury, the principles of rehabilitation are often the same.
The first phase of rehabilitation is to progressively load the damaged tissue, ligament, tendon or muscle to restore its' strength. Once this is successfully achieved without pain, gradually restoring mobility, endurance and power then follows.
If you are seeing a Physio, you will be given a number of specific exercises to help with your particular injury. Your Personal Trainer can then adapt your sessions to focus on & include functional movements that will help compliment the rehabilitation of your injury.
Mobilising your body when you are able (most specifically the injured site) undoubtedly will fast-track your recovery.

"Great players adjust!"
There is no need to abandon your health & fitness goals if you suffer a set-back, it's just a matter of resetting the path on how to get there with a few little tweaks.

Injuries can be frustrating but they don't have to derail you from achieving your health & fitness goals. They may even give you a new found passion for a different form of training!



Alicia Jovcevski
Studio Owner

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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