Working Out and Working Through Injuries

You’ve been working hard for your goals!  You’ve been hitting the gym consistently. You’re getting great workouts in, your cardio is on point, and you’ve been eating your lean proteins, healthy fats, and leafy greens.  Then one day, BAM!!, you’ve been hit in the face with an unexpected injury (maybe figuratively…..or quite literally you got hit in the face…..either way, injuries suck). You’ve been told by your doctor(s) that you’re not allowed to workout the way you usually would.  What do you do? Do you keep working out? Can you keep working out? Do you give it up all together? Do you change your workouts? Do you go home and pout about it, or, do you try and figure out a way to overcome these setbacks to keep pushing forward? Until recently, I would have undoubtedly said keep pushing forward, but to be honest, when I recently encountered my own issues with injury, I pouted initially.

After pouting for awhile (which never actually helps you feel better, by the way) I decided that rather than giving up on all physical activity, I’d have to change my goals.  Having never had any sort of injury that has prevented me from performing the activities I’ve wanted to, this was definitely a game changer. I think that everything happens for a reason, and this reason may have been for me to gain a new perspective.  Not being able to perform certain movements at the gym, having to focus on lighter weights because my rotator cuff may be problematic if I bench press too heavy….these are problems that I’ve never encountered before. This has definitely helped develop empathy towards those who aren’t physically capable of performing certain exercises.  And, I’ve always cared about each individual, but I haven’t gone through the same experiences as others making it harder to relate to their situation. Sure, I’ve trained with all types of medical conditions/injuries before: foot injuries, knee and hip injuries, shoulder injuries, other medical issues. It’s one thing to know how to work with individuals struggling physically, but it definitely put things into perspective having to struggle myself.  It is frustrating for me, as I’m sure it is with others. Wanting to be able to do something and physically being capable of doing it are two different things. Each individual has their own struggle whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional, and fitness goals and training sessions need to change to accommodate each individual and their limitations.

As I discussed earlier, I also had to change some of my goals in light of my recent doctors visits.  My end of year deadlift goal is probably now off the table. This was very discouraging to learn. I love lifting heavy weights, then making the weight heavier and lifting it again.  Since I am unable to currently work towards this goal, it has been reassessed. I workout to stay healthy, not necessarily just lift weights. Now, my workouts consist of cardio, lightweight/higher reps, or higher intensity reps (Time Under Tension), and bodyweight movements.  My goals are to participate in some sort of physical activity six days a week. There will be no less than three cardio workouts and no less than three resistance training routines. It doesn’t necessarily make me happy, but it will keep my muscles and heart strong. It’s enough to help me maintain the active lifestyle I want to lead and still reap the great rewards resistance and cardiovascular training brings.

All that being said, depending on your injury, you may not be able to workout at all.  Talk with your physician to discuss what your limitations are. Don’t push the envelope even though it may be tempting.  We only have one body, don’t break it down further by working too hard and risking further illness or injury. Heal properly.  Sometimes rest, hydration, proper nutrition, and proper care are what we need before getting back to the gym. Sometime we are able to continue to participate in limited physical activities.  Either way, be mindful. Listen to what your body is telling you. Stay safe, stay active, and stay strong!

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