Getting injured is the most irritating, inconvenient incident to happen when you’re right on your way to developing the body you’ve always dreamed about; but it is a risk we take when training like members of Sparta. Training with an injury can be tricky, but there are ways in which you can maintain your muscle mass or even keep growing.
A lot of the time we may use injuries as an excuse to skip a few days, then quit the gym entirely until we heal (I’m a culprit too). The problem with this is if you don’t use it you will lose it! It takes roughly 3 month for muscle to atrophy for an experienced lifter, also age plays a massive role. The older you are the quicker you will loose muscle mass. So whilst your injury may have healed, you would have lost a lot of precious muscle mass leaving you back where you started, building your body back from scratch and feeling a lot like a roll of warm play dough. In this situation, it is common to lose motivation, quit and gain a negative perspective towards exercise. So here’s what I suggest; say for instance you’ve injured your shoulder the rest of your body still works, so you can still hit lower body and abs as long as it doesn’t cause any pain to your shoulder. You can even go as far as training upper body, again, as long as it doesn’t cause any strain or pain on the injury. In saying that, I would recommend checking with a practitioner before training to ensure your not causing any more damage as the last thing you want is to take steps backwards on the road to healing.
You will have to get good at training around an injury. Avoid any movements that cause pain or aggravation of course. Train the rest of your body sensibly still maintaining intensity.
Other times we may try to push through the pain, however, be careful, there are times when you just need to rest and let your body recover so you can get back into the gym as soon as possible. All in all, listen to your body, it will let you know if it’s had enough or you push a little harder.
Another strategy you can adapt whilst injured and also if your injury leaves you fully on the sidelines, is nutrition. Once injured or ill most people will loose motivation towards eating optimally and think “whats the point, i can’t train”. Well this is far from the truth.
Falling off the nutrition wagon is a big mistake whatever your circumstance. Absorbing the right nutrients will have a massive effect on pain reduction, keeping inflammation to a minimum and speeding up recovery.
Follow these 10 tips for faster recovery :
- Hydrate – a dehydrated joint/tissue is susceptible to tears and injury.
- More Protein – eat lots of meat, fish, eggs and beans/legumes to activate protein synthesis pathways.
- Supplement with Creatine – research shows creatine plays a critical role in tissue repair.
- Eat Healthy Fats – Fish, olive oil, nuts , avocados, seeds inhibit inflammation.
- Take digestive enzymes – inflammation of the GI tract can slow down recovery. Digestives enzymes will improve healing.
- Supplement with Curcumin – this spice can accelerate recovery by reducing inflammation.
- Extra Calcium, Magnesium & Vitamin D – Bone health and hormone balance is a critical
- Berries – Blueberries especially have a potent nutrient that helps speed up the elimination of waste products.
- Eat More – Keep your metabolic rate high by eating frequently. this is the art of thermogenesis.
- Zinc Up- zinc plays a role in tissue regeneration and deficiency is related to poor wound healing.