Smutty Fitness: Working out and losing weight while injured

January 31, 2012 19:40:04 Posted at January 31, 2012 19:40:04
Hayley Posted by Hayley

I found you via Lainey Gossip and wanted to see if you would be able to help offer any insight.

I was playing soccer (weekend warrior) about 6 weeks ago & severely sprained my ankle. My orthopaedic surgeon currently has me doing physical therapy 2-3/x week for mobility. That being said, I can put pressure on it now and it was suggested that I incorporate the stationary bike (with my stability boot) back into my routine along with swimming. I am currently doing Pilates-type core training 1-2/x a week, but haven't been religious.

I am 5'1" and have gained about 13 lbs since I started dating my boyfriend 3.5 years ago; he has some seriously junky eating habits, including late night binges.
I have been cognizant of my eating since September and had lost 5 lbs in 2.5 months. A bit part of my success was regular workouts and a food diary.

I've managed to keep 4 of them off via monitoring my diet but am ready to focus on losing the weight again.
Truth be told my injury took the wind out of my sails and I'm a bit nervous about getting back on the horse physically.

Was wondering if you had any tips for workout routines to maximize my cardio/weight training and cater to my injury?

Thank you!
Claire S


If you are exercising and challenging your body, chances are you are going to experience an injury. Injuries are frustrating, they prevent us from doing and achieving what we want, and they can take forever to heal. Due to your limited activity during your recovery you will have a long road ahead of you to get back to the fitness level you were at before you were injured.

Here is what you need to do to a) make sure that you do not lose too much of your fitness level, b) prevent you from gaining weight and c) get you back to your pre injury fitness level as soon as possible.

When you are injured it is important that you take care of your injury; do not do anything that causes pain and listen to your doctor and your physiotherapist.  Do the rehabilitation they prescribe because you will not get better if you don’t.  Whether it is an ankle injury, a broken bone, a pulled muscle or a tight back you must make sure that you do everything you are told to do.  Icing and stretching are important as is the piece of paper that your physiotherapist gives you that has all the exercises you should be doing.  Don’t just put it on your desk and forget about it then wonder why a month later you are not any better.  

While you are rehabilitating, do what you can to stay fit.  It may not be something that you enjoy (you might HATE swimming but it could be the only way to get exercise until you are healed) but you need to force yourself to stay active.  Claire, I suggest that you continue riding your stationary bike with your stability boot on it until you are cleared by your physiotherapist but I also suggest that you challenge yourself in the pool, don’t just show up and swim.  Try one of the swim workouts that I have Lainey doing to get her ready for the Oscars.  Try and get into the pool 3 or 4 times per week until you are able to weight bear without pain. Also, focus on your upper body and core exercises during this time, plus leg strength exercises that won’t put pressure on your ankle. Try stability ball hamstring curls and stability ball wall squats.  Keeping up with the weight training will help you make sure that your metabolism does not slow down due to loss of muscle and inactivity.

Diet is also important while you are injured.  Because you are not exercising to the level you are used too, the level of endorphins that your body is used to having is lower and it is very easy to look for other ways to make you “feel good”, such as sugar.  So, you must make sure you are making healthy choices.  And because you are working out less your body needs fewer calories each day so you may need to cut your portions back a little or eliminate 1 snack in your day (preferably one that is later in your day).  Congratulations on the weight loss that you have already achieved but please, NO late night binges with your boy! Maybe you and your boyfriend can find something else to do rather than eating late at night.  If you must have a late night, mindless snack, try air popped popcorn.  My favourite way of preparing it is with crack pepper, sea salt and little bit of balsamic vinegar. This is a flavourful but low calorie snack.

When you are ready to get back to full swing, if you have been keeping up with your swimming, the road back to fitness may not be as long, but it still will be tough.  For the first 2 weeks back do not set any expectations for yourself, simply enjoy the fact that you are out and you are moving and doing what you love.  It will be hard and you will feel out of shape but trust me, after two weeks (maximum three) you will be right back where you were before you were injured.  If you allow yourself to become discouraged in the first couple weeks back you might give up, feel as though you are so out of shape you will never get back to where you were.  So, don’t give up and just fight through and keep reminding yourself that you were injured and it is going to take some time before you feel 100% again.  I dealt with a terrible Achilles injury all summer and could not run, and although I was riding my bike 8 hours a week, when I finally was able to start running again after four months, I felt like I was towing a piano behind me.  I just told myself that each day I went for a run I would try and run a little bit farther.  I didn’t allow myself to be discouraged by how slow I was running. Instead I focused on the accomplishment each day of getting outside and running farther.  Three weeks later I was right back where I was before my injury months ago.

So, continue to focus on your rehab and listen to your physiotherapist, make sure you are not overeating so you can continue to see your weight loss, challenge yourself in the pool and when you are ready to get back on the soccer field do so without any expectations, trusting that it won’t take long before you are back to full strength.

Speaking of injuries, here’s Halle Berry on crutches the other day.

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