Hey out there, happy Monday! Last week I heard the funniest thing on the radio, they were talking about how a new study came out and said the “case of the Mondays” has been proven to exist. I don’t know about you but I was 100% with the radio guy when he said “I don’t have a case of the Mondays until someone ask me if I have a case of the Mondays, that in itself will create it in me.” Okay don’t know where that little rant came from, anyway, last weeks healthy habits challenge went pretty well, although it got off to a rocky start. Last Sunday night I had a bit of a stomach ache and REALLY wanted a diet ginger ale to help settle it. I took a Zantac and laid down for a bit, but eventually gave in. It made me feel better and I was able to get the work done I needed to so it was all good. Throughout the week there was a couple times a diet coke sounded AH-MAZING but I resisted with some minor disdain for this weeks challenge. I reminded myself that it was only for a week, and I can do anything that long. Now that I’ve made it through the week my cravings have died down a lot. It’s not like I don’t want a soda, but I think that I could limit myself to one on the weekends and be fine.
How about you? Did you avoid soda this week? If you did how did it go? Check out these past Healthy Habits Challenges for more great small challenges to improve your health and fitness.
How To Deal With A Sports Injury
I still don’t know what exactly I did, other than strain some really important muscle located in the SI joint. I still can’t believe the toll it’s taken on me, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I went from running 10-15 miles a week plus cross fit 2-3x a week to NOTHING on January 11th. Looking back there was a lot I was plain being stupid about, but hindsight is 20/20 and injury prevention is for another post. When I desperately searched “injury recovery tips” I got some pretty generic feedback from google, nothing that really helped. So, this post is to provide some support and help for those of you that may be dealing with a sports injury or maybe another injury that has taken you unexpectedly from highly active to sedentary in the blink of an eye. I’ve been jotting down some tips along the way in my notebook that helped me get through the physical and emotional struggle of having a sports injury that sidelines you.
Common Advice: R.I.C.E.
Stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation and I’m sure you’ve already ran across this one a few times. At some point though it can be difficult to fully adhere but thats when you need to the most, let me explain my take on it.
Taking a break from exercise means actually taking a break. I rested for about 2 days before I was out walking, trying to “stay active” while recovering. At first I was walking, when I didn’t seem to be able to handle that I tried just coming home and standing while I cooked dinner, prepped for the next day, and blogged. I tried to incorporate yoga but it wasn’t helping and would leave me pretty sore. I needed complete rest but I didn’t want to give it to myself. When I was still sore I finally had to make peace with coming home and laying on my stomach while icing and blogging. I hated it for a couple of reasons. One, I thought for sure I was going to gain 10lbs and second because I missed my endorphin rush.
What helped me get through it? Literally taking day by day, looking forward to recovery. I didn’t let myself go beyond the current week, unless I was imagining my patience paying off and I was running again/at cross fit again. My advice, go for complete rest after right after your injury instead of trying “active recovery,” it will benefit you in the long run.
Extra sleep. To recover your body needs physical rest and sleep. Sleep is the time when we are most able to regenerate and replete, I took the hour I would have spent working out and tacked on sleep when I could.
While the strain originated in my lower SI joint, all the leg muscles in my leg began to freak out trying to compensate for the injury. I had ice packs every where and was spending quite some time during the day and at night icing. Then I finally gave in to an ice bath and right away I started to see recovery. I did this about a week into becoming completely sedentary. Everyone kept saying they wouldn’t do that, they would rather have the injury persist a little longer. BUT I SWEAR IT REALLY WASN’T THAT BAD. See tips on taking an ice bath——> here.
Two big things: first, get in the tub and have someone dump the ice on you (don’t try to get into a tub of ice water) and second, don’t use more ice than you can handle (for me two bags was the max.)
Do to the placement of my injury this wasn’t really possible for me. However what was possible was the opposite of compression, padding. Another thing that greatly helped was padding my chairs at work and in the car. We figured out that muscles (mostly my glutes) were being pushed on by my but bone, irritating it and preventing it from healing. Once I added padding, again I saw another huge leap in improvement.
Again, not really possible for me BUT taking as much pressure off by standing often or laying flat helped a lot.
Less Common Advice
Again, this is where I struggled a lot to find help from the online world. When I started searching for tips to deal with the emotional/mental strain of losing work outs as a part of daily life I came across things like “focus your attention elsewhere” and “invite your friends to yoga.” Kind of helpful, kind of not. Here is my advice:
1. Acknowledge your feelings. When you become overwhelmed with what you’ve lost, don’t try and stuff it down. Set your timer for five minutes on your phone and let yourself let it go, be pissed and upset, cry and scream in your pillow or whatever it is you need to do. I did this a couple times, to be honest the most recent one was yesterday. While I don’t set a timer, my hubby is my timer. He typically lets me have my pitty party for five minutes or so before its time to move on. Once that timer goes off, thats all the feel sorry for yourself time you get. Now spend five minutes coming up with a list of positives, especially what you still have. Call a friend if you need some help getting the list going.
My list of negatives:
- can’t work out = no endorphin rush
- losing my lean long muscles
- soreness and pain suck
- lost sense of pride and self confidence
- lost progress in fitness
- not eating as much as I did before
My list of positives:
- my injury is not permanent, I will be able to get back to where I was
- muscles can be rebuilt
- soreness and pain will go away, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
- I appreciate the ability to workout, I now see it as a privilege
- fitness level can be rebuilt
- I’ve gained confidence in my ability to maintain my weight without exercise
Take away? I get most frustrated when I look at where I was in the past, or how long I have sidelined. I redirect my focus to the present and my ability to change the future.
2. Talk to someone who has gone through something similar. Luckily/unluckily the hubby hurts himself rather frequently (I mean he almost broke a leg proposing to me) so he could sympathize. Most recently he spent the last year rehabbing his wrist after taking a nasty fall, so he definitely understood my pain.
3. Make recovery your hobby. Between the chiropractor, stretching, walking, ice baths and upper body strength I didn’t end up with more time I think I actually ended up with less. Where the suggestion to take on a hobby comes from I have no idea. All those things combined took way more time than a normal work out would, plus trying to get more sleep a day.
Nutrition Tips for Injury Recovery
1. Eat enough calories. One thing that has surprised me the most is my ability to maintain my weight without my workouts or counting calories. I did consider going back to counting calories but I really didn’t want to. (Read about my journey/progression with Calorie Counting ——> here.) How did I do it? To put it plainly I practiced intuitive eating in the simplest form, I ate when I was hungry to the point of being 80% full and didn’t eat when I wasn’t hungry. I enjoyed everything in moderation (what does that mean—-> see here), I balanced my meals, if one meal was heavy I made the next one a little on the lighter side. Believe it or not your body needs food to function with or without exercise, it will tell you what you what it needs, the caveat is that you just have to listen. I was simply less hungry when I wasn’t burning 500 extra calories a day. Did I miss my extra snacks? Yep, so I worked some of my favorites like sun butter and bananas into my meals (like an english muffin).
2. Eat enough protein. In order to repair itself muscle needs protein intake from outside. Most of us get enough protein, but I made sure I had some source of protein at every meal. Between 1 to 1.2g/kg of body weight is a good goal as long as you don’t have a history of kidney disease (divide your body weight in lbs by 2.2 to get the number of kg.) The biggest challenge is almost always getting enough protein at breakfast and snacks. (Overnight Oats, Frozen Egg Burritos, and Greek Yogurt have become my go to ways to get enough in at breakfast.) For snacks I had deli meat (uncured), cheese, nut butters, or protein shakes. One thing that also happened was I started cramping about the same time I increased my protein load. To get rid of it I increased my electrolyte intake with dates & bananas, and increased my fluid intake with lots of water.
Focus & Patience
I didn’t mean to start the weekly healthy habits challenge at the same time as my injury, but it ended up that way. It seemed when I wasn’t constantly thinking about fitness and food, I was able to identify other areas in my life that might be lacking. I’m keeping a journal of things I learn while my injury recovers to help me remember that things that are bad almost always somehow turn out to be good. Patience, it isn’t a strong point of mine. In fact, I’d go so far as to call it one of my largest weaknesses. Since I’m not good at being patient I’m learning to be more present. I take things one day and one week at a time, before I know it time flies by and life moves on. I want to live it and enjoy it, that’s why I am not beating myself up about getting injured but trying my hardest to learn from it and identify the positives.
Note: I also tagged all my posts that mentioned anything about my injury as “injury recovery” in case you are interested in reading more.
Have any injury recovery tips? I’d love to hear them!