The Art of Rest After Injury

You’ve been busting your ass in the gym. Your consistency has been paying off. You’re seeing results. You have a passion to train. You flat out love it. And then, the unthinkable happens…an injury! [Cue in suspense music here.] Nooooo!…

So what caused my injury? After going a mere 10 pounds heavier on a couple of reps of front squats, I began feeling some discomfort and tenderness on my lower back. I did what any other stubborn person would do (right?) and dismissed it as nothing. Over the next few days my back felt tight and sore. And like the true Aries I am, I continued to ignore the warning signs and kept pushing through the discomfort..pushing and pushing until one day, I was in excruciating and relentless pain. After an ER visit and a couple of prescriptions for muscle relaxers later, the inevitable word I didn’t want to hear or accept, “rest”, had been spoken. Suddenly, the struggle to refocus my energy from my athletic endeavors to monotonous rehabilitation set in.

Return from an injury can be a lengthy and difficult process. If you’ve ever suffered from an injury, you understand the agony and frustration. Coming from someone who feels the most free, alive and plain ‘ol stress-free during those moments of exercise, the road to recovery was absolute torture. I must say this was my first injury so for any of you that have been down this road, I understand your pain. I now understand the frustration because you feel trapped in an injured body, the anger that makes you want to scream and the fear of never reaching full recovery. 

Now when you’re injured, you’re either forced to remain relatively sedentary or you’re limited to a personalized range of rehab exercises (ew!). For me, this meant a major reduction in endorphins, which ultimately affected my mental wellbeing. For any of you suffering through an injury and coming across this post, I offer some words of encouragement that helped me cope with the emotional stress of an injury. A wise person reminded me that fitness is a marathon and not a sprint so remember to give yourself time to fully heal from any injury through healthy eating, low impact exercises and a well thought out plan for recovery.

0d833751-865a-4e86-b2f3-66d882fb871cThis is me during one of my first post-injury workouts wearing Naked Muscle. [Side note: Naked Muscle is my ultimate favorite fitness clothing line.] Use code ‘Michelle15’ for a discount. 

..back to my words of encouragement!…

Accept that rest and time for healing is OK. 

Understand that resting and healing is its own form of productivity. Boy was this hard for me! Rest isn’t really my thing (we’re all a work in progress). However, during my “rest” time, I actually chose to be more present with my girls and enjoy my newfound free time with them doing activities that we had been putting off. Can’t go wrong with that!

Eat right.

What you eat impacts how your body looks but more importantly, it impacts how you feel. Not only will eating right make us feel better about ourselves overall, but consuming anti-inflammatory will also aid in recovery.

Try low-impact exercises to remain active.

Find things you could still do that you enjoy. Depending on your injury, take up yoga or another form of light work. I started off walking around my neighborhood and to my local park. Then I headed to Casa Vinyasa in South Miami and tried a great Yogalete class, one of two classes offered here for athletes recovering from injuries. “We offer our Yogalete and Restorative Flow classes because we wanted to have something for everyone no matter what injuries they’re dealing with,” says Lizzy Chiappy, founder of Yogalete and co-founder of Casa Vinyasa. “In our experience, it’s important to keep moving safely even when there is an injury present. These two classes give people that option.” The Yogalete class was a great way to get my heart rate up and ease myself back into a training regimen. Of course, always talk to your doctor before returning to any form of exercise after an injury.

772342d1-98a7-436f-a254-83569152c92dCute entrance rug at Casa Vinyasa

7800ef56-485a-47f1-a4a0-7e19040025b6The bestie (who happened to be in town from traveling the world..check out her travel inspired clothing and accessories line here) and me right after Yogalete

Don’t obsess over lost results. 

As I mentioned above, while I was obsessing over lost results, I was quickly reminded that fitness is a marathon and not a sprint. Truer words could not have been spoken to me at the time. It’s exactly what I needed to hear to remind me that it’s OK to refocus and set new and realistic goals for myself as I move forward.

I’m happy to say that 8 weeks after my injury, I began my weight training regimen again. Slowly but surely, now 3 months removed from my injury, I’m regaining my lost strength along with the confidence I had in my body’s ability to withstand high intensity workouts. I’m measuring my successes differently these days and appreciating each milestone reached along the way. I’m leaving my old goals in the past and focusing on my new goals.

da2daf9b-235f-4973-97a7-0c6772704858

Good luck to you during your recovery process! Be patient and remember that your attitude and outlook is absolutely everything! 

2 thoughts on “The Art of Rest After Injury”

  1. Great post! So happy you’re feeling better. I feel injuries strengthen our internal fitness. I have personally never experienced an injury but just the thought of it sounds like a living nightmare. Having to take 8 weeks off at the peak of your fitness goals must’ve been harder than actually going to the gym everyday, but you did it! Now you’re back stronger, mentally and physically. Thanks for sharing! Awesome tips!

    Like

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