Saturday, 27 August 2016

How to stay fit while recovering from an injury


Those of you who follow me on social media will know that I spend the spring on a major gym hype. I took up the popular Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (aka BBG) and it was definitely working. I loved the high intensity exercise - one of the only ways I can ever break into a proper sweat - and I loved that I could see results changing every day from about weeks 4-9.

But then my knees started to bother me a lot. The plan contains a lot of jumping, and as someone who'd never done that kind of exercise before it revealed a weakness in my body that totally took me by surprise. I'd gone from lazy runs and the occasional set of squats and deadlifts to full-on eat-your-heart-out fitspo in a matter of weeks and it was just too much too fast.

Admit defeat

I'm stubborn and during my 9 weeks attempting BBG developed a 'no pain, no gain' attitude that kept me exercising through my knee pain until it hurt every minute of the day whether I exercised or not. Ultimately I ended up turning weak, sore knees that needed some special attention into full-blown tendonitis on both sides. And it hurts.

Whether you've pulled a muscle, are suffering with a particular joint or have an old injury playing up, drop the hard-man act and admit that this is your body telling you to slow down a little. Maybe even a lot. It was depressing, I have always used fitness as a way of getting all my stress out. It benefited my mind much more than my body, and not being able to do it and have that feeling that I was succeeding at something really, really got to me.

Think about what you can do, not what you can't

I did very little exercise bar walking in the first two weeks after succumbing to patellar tendonitis, and it did me no good at all. Try to find other activities that you can use to keep fit and maybe even help your condition.

For me knees I've taken to swimming instead of running, working on my arms and abs at the gym instead and then supplement this with daily stretches and light strengthening exercises to help my crummy legs. It wasn't until I took this approach consistently that I saw any let up in the pain. The last few weeks have gone from constant pain to the odd twinge and a little soreness at times so something is definitely working!

If you aren't sure what you can and can't do with your injury then make sure you ask a gym trainer or physical therapist. A combo of some moves from one of my gym PTs and some I found on the web has helped me no end. You can also wear sports tape to work out if you know how to apply it, but be warned it will only support you during the activity, not provide a miracle cure once you've taken it off.

Eat right

Before me knees took me out of action I was doing a lot of exercise and kind of used it as an excuse to treat myself a few times a week. Now I'm not burning as many calories doing HIIT and weights I've notice my muscle mass has decreased and some of that cellulite I really hated has crept back.

Stepping away from the pizza (last night notwithstanding), keeping up my protein intake and curbing fat and sugar is something I'm now throwing myself into after seeing these unwanted changes. I particularly like the Body Coach's lean meals, and when I miss breakfast at home and am tempted to buy a bacon butty from the sandwich van I've been grabbing a Multipower Protein smoothie* instead, especially on workout days - my personal favourite is the Raspberry and Blueberry flavour.. They contain 26g of protein but very little sugar or fat, unlike some brands who pack their smoothies and breakfast drinks full of the sweet stuff.

Foam roll the pain away

One of the best things I've done as a result of developing tendonitis is take up foam rolling. The idea is that by moving your muscles over the ridges they get a deep massage and are encouraged to relax and repair. Part of the reason I developed my problem in the first place is that all of my leg muscles are very tight (that'll teach me for not stretching after long runs!) and this has really helped to supplement my other stretches.

It's not exactly the most comfortable thing to do as you've kind of just poking yourself with hard foam multiple times, but like a good back massage this is what actually makes the difference. I picked mine up for under £5, so they're pretty cheap to buy online, so why not give it a go?

Have you tried any of the above in your recovery? Do you have any other tips? Let me know in the comments box!

*Products marked with an asterisk in this post have been sent to me for review purposes, however it was my choice to feature them and all opinions are very much my own.
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3 comments

  1. I love the body coach book! 👌🏻

    Sophiekate.co.uk

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    2. I love the tortilla pizzas!

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