Never Waste a Perfectly Good Injury
Sooner or later it's going to happen. Things are rocking along smoothly. Your fitness journey is progressing, your job is going well, your new girlfriend is supper hot. Then BAM!
Some body part decides to break or strain. Or you step off a curb and roll your ankle with a loud "pop" (Been there, done that) or you tear a quad while moving a large flower pot for your wife.(seen that). Or you (stupidly) miss the safety catch on the leg press and crack a rib. (done that too)
So what happens next?
Will you lie on the sofa with an orange cloud of Cheeto dust swirling around your head, feeling sorry for yourself, or find a way to turn it into an opportunity?
There are ways to turn an injury into an opportunity. Scientist call growth from adversity "adversarial growth".
Face the fact that, once an injury occurs, there's nothing you can do about it. Sitting around feeling sorry for yourself and dwelling on your bad luck isn't going to do a damn thing for you. Find a way to make the best of it.
Assuming you do all the right things medically, healing will take as long as takes. It takes patience. But let's talk about exercising some "aggressive patience".
Aggressive patience is being patient enough to allow the injury time to heal properly but being aggressive in what we do while nature takes its course.
Review what happened to cause the injury
- Did you re-injure an area that had been injured before? Did you come back too soon after the previous injury? Did you do all the rehab exercises you were told to do and do them long enough?
- Has this been a chronic problem? If so, are you over-training, using poor form or allowing enough rest and recovery time?
- If you have an upper body injury take the opportunity to work on those skinny legs. I'll wager that 70% of you have been skipping some leg days.
- If you have lower body injury use the time to work on those lagging upper body muscle groups. At least 50% of you will have back muscles that could use a lot of work.(even if they don't show in the mirror)
- How's your conditioning? Are some of your lifts limited because you don't have the stamina you need? Lack of proper conditioning may be limiting your gains. Work on it.
- Unilateral training. (Training only one arm or one leg, for example) Unilateral training carries a huge bonus--training unilaterally with the non-injured limb has been been proven to minimize muscle and strength loss in the other (injured) limb.
- If you are severely limited in physical activity use the time to learn something. Study, tweak you programming, rethink your goals and lay out a detailed plan to reach them.
- Find out all you can about rehab of your particular injury and put it into practice.
- Stay as active as possible even if you are very limited in what you can do.
- Keep your nutrition plan on point (while allowing for the reduced activity levels)
If you read yesterday's article you know I recently came off a 10 week medical layoff. I was extremely limited in almost any form of activity. But, to be honest, I could have been more active than I was. I had little appetite. But again, I could have managed my nutrition better. Both would have made recovery much easier.
About all I did right was learn all I could about my condition and plan out my program so that I could get back to my former strength and muscle mass as soon as possible.