It happens to all of us. We are going about our normal lives then….BAM! We get injured. It could be something chronic that has slowly built up over time or something acute such as a broken leg. However it happens is irrelevant. What matters is that it happened and now you have to figure out what to do. The way I see it you have 2 choices:
- Act like the world has ended and hide in your home eating oreos and brownies until the injury heals
- Figure out ways to work around it
Personally I have tried both approaches and I can tell you that option number 1, though it feels great at the time, is not the way to go.
You see even if you don’t realize it there is something powerful about coming to the gym. Including it as part of your daily routine is more important than you may think. When you come in each and every day you give yourself that 1 hour to unwind, to relax and to release stress. You get to socialize and hang out with all of your like minded fitness friends. Last but not least exercise releases a boat load of beneficial hormones that help you feel great. If you stop coming to the gym because of an injury all of a sudden you lose all of that.
The trap that I see a lot of people fall into is that they focus only on what they CANNOT do. I broke my leg so I CANNOT squat, I CANNOT deadlift, I CANNOT run. So they don’t come to the gym because in their mind they CANNOT workout. Before you know it you are depressed and feeling miserable. And guess what happens next? Your mind starts playing this interesting game. You start to get this little voice in your head saying “If I can’t workout I might as well just eat whatever I want.” You know you’ve heard that voice before. Now all of your progress and hard work goes down the drain in this cascading of unfortunate events.
But…it doesn’t have to be that way. Just because you are injured doesn’t mean you cannot work out. You need to shift your focus from what you cannot do to what you CAN do. Have a broken leg? Great! Now you will finally have the chance to focus on nothing but upper body strength work to get that muscle up you have always wanted. Broken arm? Sweet! You will learn to love the airdyne and get really good at pistols or pulling the sled. I have had people row before with broken legs, the broken leg is off to the side on a skate board and they row 1 legged. Other than the initial recovery after a surgery or traumatic injury there is no reason you cannot continue to stay healthy and make progress. You just might have to shift focus for a bit.
By continuing to train you can actually increase recovery time and lessen the time it takes you to get back to 100% once you are fully healed.
So stay healthy, but if something happens remember: It’s not the end of the world.