You’ve started down a path pursuing a weight loss goal and suddenly… Something goes horribly wrong…
You injure your knee.
You pull a muscle.
You tear something in your shoulder.
You sprain your ankle.
Game over? Does that mean you have to completely put your goals on hold for the time being? What if you didn’t? Here are a few tips to continue to lose weight while injured.
Step One… Don’t be an idiot. 😉
Understand that your injury is real, and don’t merely try to “train past the pain”. If it’s an injury that requires that muscle to rest, you need to let it rest at risk of aggravating it further. Trying to rock out heavy squats with an injured knee isn’t proving how hard you work or how dedicated you are, it’s only proving your own irresponsibility and that your brain is taking a rest day. Be smart about it.
Step two… Figure out how to safely train around your injury.
If it’s a lower body injury, continue to train upper body. If it’s an upper body injury, lower body can still be trained. Obviously when it comes to fat loss, being able to continue to train lower body shouldn’t really put much of a halt into your progress. Only being able to train upper body might make your progress slow slightly, but it’s still doable. Incorporate some upper body cardio intervals into your program like battling ropes or a machine rope trainer to aid in the process. Often if it’s a minor lower body injury there are still lower body exercises you can do. Sprained ankle? Stick with open chain movements like leg extensions and leg curls. Knee injury? Try out stiff legged or Romanian deadlifts that don’t incorporate any knee flexion and see how they feel. Be safe, and listen to your body.
Step three… Use this time to really get your nutrition on track.
If you can’t train hard in the gym, train hard in the kitchen. Use this time off to really work on how compliant you’re being to your plan, and use that increased compliancy to kick start that weight loss. I’m not telling you to diet harder or completely drop your caloric intake… Just be smart and mindful about what’s going into your mouth and use this time to get better at eating healthy.
So is it possible to continue to lose weight throughout an injury? 100%. Will the process be slower? Very likely. Is it easy to get discouraged and want to quit? You bet. But once the injury heals, you don’t want to have to get started back at square one. Remember, starting is the hardest part, and if you are sick of getting started you need to stop quitting or taking breaks. Alter your program but actively continue to progress toward your goals and remember that slow progress is better than no progress at all.
You got this. Chin up, buttercup, oh… And you should probably go lift something. 😉