Injuries are bound to happen in our lives. We can get hurt shoveling snow, playing contact sports, even by lifting your laundry hamper incorrectly. In training, we try our best to reduce our risk of injury but sometimes we still get hurt. Now the question is, what to do when you’re injured?
*Disclaimer, we are not medical professionals and can’t diagnose. This blog post is meant to be an educational piece.
When you are injured you have a few choices:
1. Ignore it, let it rest and hope it gets better (sometimes it is just overuse and needs rest)
2. Ignore it, keep training in pain thinking that this is your life now (not a great way to live plus it can lead to a more serious injury)
3. Get it checked out and put in the work to fix it (the smart decision, especially when experiencing sharp pain)
Pain is good! Not that we want you to be in pain but that pain is our body telling us that something is wrong. The body is turning on its “check engine” light. When we see the “check engine” light in our car, we take action because we know that if we ignore it, a simple fix turns into an expensive nightmare.
The first thing you should do is stop the action that is causing the pain. If it’s not an emergency, just let it rest. If you feel like it’s a serious injury, please consult your doctor. If the pain persists, consider visiting your doctor.
The doctor said everything was fine but you’re still in pain?
Don’t ignore your problems. Address them. Take the time now to fix your issues so you can go back to living pain-free. If you were told that you could be pain-free in 30 days by doing a few simple movements everyday for 15 minutes, would you do it?
When the doctor tells you everything is fine but you still feel pain, chances are there’s a muscular imbalance that needs to be addressed.
What’s stopping you from getting out of pain? Is it money? If money is preventing you from becoming pain-free, there are plenty of valuable resources online on how to perform most movements for free. However, it’s important that you are performing the exercises correctly, which is where a personal trainer comes into play.
The value of a personal trainer
A personal trainer can evaluate your movement patterns and help you address the problem area. Sometimes it’s not the pain location that is causing the problem. What you might think is a knee issue could be originating in your hips.
During our personal training consultations we ask questions such as:
What’s hurting you?
During what movements do you feel discomfort?
How long have you had this pain?
What have you done so far to fix it? And is it working?
Is fixing this problem a priority to you?
Depending on the issue, it could be as simple as doing two sessions with the trainer to get screened, review and practice exercises. The second session is to check on your progress. After evaluating your movements and pain area, a trainer can also provide a training program to follow.
On top of performing your recovery and strengthening exercises, you can also learn how to modify workouts properly. That way you can be prepared during a group class. For example if the workout is all front squats but you have an injured knee, does that mean you can’t go today? No! Apply the movements you learned during your personal training session into your group training.
Sometimes the problem is that we might be feeling lazy and don’t want to do these exercises. Maybe it’s that we need accountability. Personal training sessions work for this as well. With everything we have to do all day, it’s nice to just go to the gym and be told what to do.
As you can see, doing all of that in a group setting could be quite difficult. A coach in a group class is responsible for helping everyone equally and performing the group workout of the day (not creating personal training programs). As trainers, all we want to do is help but we don’t want to half ass it. We want to make sure you are getting the proper training and counseling that you need.
Just because you injured your shoulder, back, hip, etc., or haven’t been cleared by your doctor to resume training, doesn’t mean that you should just stop working on your health and fitness. Nutrition is 24/7.
Just because you can’t go to the gym for 2 months, that doesn’t mean you give up eating healthy. You can still stay lean, you can still lose excess body fat, you can still stay healthy while recovering from an injury. Plus, eating well balanced meals will improve your recovery process.
Remember to continue doing your training the whole way through. If your program consists of 20 minutes, 3 days a week for 8 weeks, you need to do all 8 weeks. You might feel better by week 6 but many athletes can get re-injured because they are only 90% recovered.
Don’t perform a movement or a workout that could compromise your progress. You may be tempted! But I promise you that you will go back to performing those movements you love so much. And you’ll most likely be performing them even better because you addressed the surrounding muscles.
Change Your Mindset
Don’t view this injury as a set back. View it as an opportunity to strengthen other areas. Can’t use your shoulder right now? We’ll guess who can get the strongest core and legs?! YOU! Can’t push the intensity level for a while? Sounds like a great opportunity to do technique work.
So my question to you is:
Is getting out a pain a priority to you?