I haven’t really thought this blog post through so it may sound a little rambly but i wanted to write about this as I’m feeling rather sorry for myself right now and i want to change that. I don’t want this unfortunate obstacle to become a big excuse to give up on ‘health and fitness’; especially considering I’ve just written a blog post on the disadvantages of ‘the all or nothing mentality’. So i’m gonna try my best to adopt a positive mindset and work around this temporary hurdle.
*Also would like to quickly mention that I’m typing this with one hand which is far more annoying and frustrating than i envisioned* 🙂
To be honest i’m quite fortunate that i haven’t hurt myself in the gym until now, but accidents happen and there really wasn’t anything i could’ve done to prevent it (I always warm up and start with light mobility work).
To give a brief overview of what happened… I was in the gym doing shoulder press. It was my last set and I wanted to push for one extra rep. (I’d like to add, at this point, pushing yourself to the max and the whole “no pain no gain” mentality can actually be quite ineffective and clearly isn’t the best path for progression).
My wrist collapsed and the dumbbell fell back on my wrist consequently snapping it. I didn’t realize at the time and assumed I’d just sprained it. I’m one of those people who thinks ‘oh that will never happen to me’ but I ended up leaving A&E with a hefty plaster cast and the diagnosis of a dislocated and fractured wrist.
When fitness is a significant part of your life and identity, getting injured can really make you feel like your whole life has been thrown off track. Of course this was the first thing I started worrying about; ‘I’m not going to be able to train or exercise’ ‘I’m gonna lose muscle’ ‘What if I put on fat’… I wish I didn’t care so much about the aesthetic implications of this but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. At first i thought i would still be able to train legs as normal but realistically I won’t be able to as i can’t pick up weights or lift anything. Also, considering it’s extremely painful and i can’t even tie up my hair, put my bra on or dress myself i think the idea of still training legs was extremely far-fetched and unrealistic!!
My personal preferred style of training is pushing myself with heavy weights, compound exercises and HIIT cardio like sprinting. Breaking my wrist means that I’m not going to be able to do any of that for a long time. I know i’m really going to miss lifting and annoyingly i felt really jealous when i was scrolling through Insta this morning looking at workout videos coming up on my feed (it’s only been 2 days ha). I even tried doing body weight squats with resistance bands this morning but my arm was getting in the way because of how the cast is shaped and if i don’t keep it elevated it swells up and gets really painful.
BUT instead of dwelling on what I can’t do and how shit this is, I’m going to just accept that it’s happened and think of alternative activities i can do. I’m basically trying to stop myself from falling down of spiral of sadness and self sorrow and instead, focus on the positives and find the silver lining in this situation.
The rest of this blog is going to be all about how to stay positive when recovering from injury. I’m almost writing it as a way to reinforce it in my own head but hopefully it can help others if they find themselves in a similar situation *fingers crossed not!*, or if anyone is currently healing from an injury.
Redirect the time you would normally spend working out.
On average i spend anywhere from one to two hours training everyday so I want to fill this time doing something productive / enjoyable instead. At the moment it’s very painful so i’m not too concerned about filling this time with something else. However, i know that it will soon become a massive inconvenience rather than pain/discomfort and i’ll be bored silly.
Thankfully I have a full time job to keep me occupied and I do have other hobbies and interests so i’m going to focus my energy on writing blog posts, trying out new recipes and making a start reading the stack of books i purchased but never got round to reading. Also, I’ve wanted to start practicing mindfulness and meditation for as long as i can remember so now’s the perfect time to start.
Try to stay active and find alternative forms of exercise.
Still, despite doing the activities mentioned above, I’m the sort of person who gets ‘ants in their pants’ and I know I’ll feel desperate to move and be active in some way. I’m gonna focus on improving my cardiovascular fitness and endurance on the stationary bike and fast-paced incline walking until I’m able to start running; and then I might set myself some running related goals.
Also, I have been wanting to place more emphasis on yoga, mobility and correctional exercises for a while; so i guess this could be the ‘silver lining’. By redirecting my time to focus on improving my flexibility, muscle mobility, mind-muscle connection and reinforcing optimum movement patterns – this may prevent injuries from happening in the future and maximise the returns i get from training when i’m recovered.
Eating nutrient dense foods impacts how your body looks and feels! So I’m going to base my meals around wholesome anti-inflammatory foods that are high in antioxidants to aid in the recovery process (leafy greens, berries, a variety of vegetables, green tea, lemon water). Also i’m going to make it a priority to hit a high protein intake (around 1-1.2g of protein per lb of body weight) each day to preserve as much muscle as i can whilst not training.
If you’ve read my Reverse Dieting post you’ll know that I’ve been gradually increasing my calories and i was intending to continue doing this over the next 4-5 months to build some decent muscle. Everything was going great; my strength was going up, I had increased my calories significantly to around 1900/2000 and I was in a really good mindset. So now I’m not going to be weight training, there is no stimulus to build muscle anymore – which is why I’ve decided to now work towards a fat loss goal instead. I actually love the process of chipping away to see what muscle I’ve built underneath and I felt a lot ‘fluffier’ so I’m excited to start this new “challenge”.
That being said, I’m not going to cut my calories drastically or diet to a point where i’m miserable/ fatigued. I’m doing it as i wanted to set myself a new goal! Plus, my body isn’t going to need the extra calories anyway due to the decrease in calorie expenditure.
Also want to add the caveat that i’m not trying to lose fat because i think it will make me happier or more worthy. I just enjoy working towards aesthetic goals and setting myself challenges.
Try to turn the situation into a positive and focus on what you will gain from this rather than what you’ll lose.
I have been an emotional wreck the last few days- getting frustrated at literally everything! but I’m a firm believer that your mindset has a significant influence over your mental and physical well-being. So if I want to recover quick and not feel like a depressed useless slob, i need to focus on the positives.
I absolutely LOVE Ed Mylett, and one of my favourite phrases of his is ‘Nothing happens to you, everything happens for you’. Maybe this injury happened to prevent an even worse injury from happening…. (probably not but I’ll keep telling myself this haha).
However, there are definitely positives to all adverse situations! For example, my body desperately needed a break from the gym (I was feeling really sore and taking a long time to recover from my workouts) so I’ll probably come back stronger and more motivated; and i might even fall in love with another form of exercise whilst i’m recovering.
Be kind to yourself and don’t obsess over lost results.
As lame as it sounds, whenever i feel a bit shit about myself, i can usually make myself feel 10x better by having a killer leg workout, putting some fake tan on and spending a bit extra time making my hair and make-up look pretty. But seeing as I can’t do any of this (hence my wonky eyeliner attempt today) I’m gonna have to cheer myself up with alternative methods. I could wallow in sadness about feeling ‘ugly’ with this big fast cast and beat myself up about the lack of training i’m gonna be doing… or i could choose to be kind and self-compassionate and use this time to prioritise me and focus on taking care of myself.
If you’ve suffered an injury and have to stop working out, it’s likely you will lose some muscle and strength, but sometimes one step backwards can end up helping you take three steps forwards! This rest period may be exactly what your body needs. For example, when i’m able to start doing the big lifts again, (like squats, deadlifts and lunges) i will be more motivated than ever and I would’ve had the time to improve my mobility and perfect my form. Plus, remaining active whilst doing things right in the kitchen will preserve far more strength and muscle than staying sedentary and eating crap.
Taking our health for granted.
We never realise or appreciate how lucky we are be active and move our bodies. This injury, (even though it may seem very minor to most people) has made me feel so fortunate to have a fully abled body. In a way, I think this injury will make me value the performance, functional and mental elements of exercise significantly more than the aesthetics. Plus I feel so lucky that this is only temporary. My heart really goes out to anyone who has a disability that prevents them from being active. It’s really hit home how exercising really is SO much more than how my body looks. It really is something i rely on for my mental strength and wellness and i can’t wait to get back to it as soon as I’m recovered.