They happen to the best of us. Don’t let it be an excuse to miss your goals.
Injuries. They suck. Maybe you pushed yourself a little too hard at the gym and tweaked something. Maybe you overestimated how much weight you should be using and tried to match up with someone who’s a bit stronger than you. In any case, injuries happen. That doesn’t mean you get a pass to become lazy and unhealthy for a few weeks while you sit and wallow, not-so-anxiously waiting to get healthy and therefore back into the gym.
There are steps you can be taking during injury periods to ensure that your recovery will be speedy and you won’t lose all of your previous gains.
Maybe you’re someone who works out enough that you don’t really need to worry a whole lot about what you eat. Well once you remove the consistently intense workouts from the equation, you shouldn’t continue the same eating habits either. Try to start being more strict about your diet by watching your heavy fats and sugars. Portion control is a big factor as well. Try not to overeat as your body won’t be burning as many calories as it would be during workouts.
Less Weight, More Reps
If your injury is uncomfortable, but not completely debilitating, try lowering the amount of weight you’re using and completing more reps. For example, if you’re normally someone lifting for strength and muscle building, doing 3 sets of 6-8 reps, lower your weight by 25% and do an extra 4-6 reps. If that’s still too painful, lower it even more and boost your reps up to 20 or more. Simply being in the gym and staying moving is better than doing nothing.
If you’re experiencing pain in your knee, for instance, use bodyweight exercises to see if there are any moves you can perform that don’t seem to cause pain. This way, you’re still straining your muscles without directly effecting the specific area that’s injured. Not all exercises work every muscle group, so get creative with how you’re working out. If you’re normally just a weights person, try some HIIT bodyweight work. If you’re more of a yoga person, try some strength training. Keeping your body in motion and active will keep the blood flowing and muscles engaged, which will increase the speed of your recovery as well.
Injuries are never fun, but it’s also important to know how to treat them. One of the most common practices is the RICE method, (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Immediately once you start to feel pain, rest the muscle for some time, then ice it for 20 minute periods followed by wrapping it in an ACE bandage, and finally elevate the body part above your heart so too much blood doesn’t pump to the specific area causing swelling.