Nutrition and Injuries
An injury can sideline you and throw you off your regular gym schedule. It can not only be frustrating but can be down right depressing. Exercise is a way to relieve stress, improve your mood and has numerous physical benefits.
Here are some ways to navigate having an injury.
Nutrition helps to heal the body and let it repair so it is important to eat foods that help this process and eliminate foods that will hinder it.
There are 3 stages to an injury:
Inflammation: The critical first stage of an injury that triggers the repair process. However, if there is too much inflammation it can cause damage.
Proliferation: Damaged tissues are removed by the body and blood supply and temporary tissue is built.
Remodeling: Stronger more permanent tissues replaces the temporary tissues.
During the inflammation stage:
Eat more: Anti-Inflammatory foods like, avocados, fish oil, flax seed, omega 3 rich foods like mackerel, salmon, sardines, eggs and mixed nuts and seeds.
Herbs, spices and supplements:
-Garlic: 2-4 cloves a day or 1000 mg of garlic extract
-Bromelain from pineapple- 2 cups of pineapple a day or 1000mg in supplement form. (enzyme in pineapple reduces inflammation in body and causes cell repair.)
-Berries: rich in antioxidants
-Krill oil 6-9grams
-Omega 3 Supplement 6-9,000g a day
Foods to avoid: partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils, refined carbs, processed animal products.
During the Proliferation and Remodeling Stage:
During this stage your body starts to repair itself so metabolism starts to increase be sure that your diet is filled with healthy foods to help with this process.
Lean proteins: turkey, chicken, eggs, omega 3 rich food, plant-based proteins and protein supplements.
Dietary fat: Healthy dietary fats include avocados, olives, nuts and seeds.
Fruits and Vegetables-increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables in the variety of the rainbow.
Complex carbohydrates: Since the body is trying to repair itself it needs carbohydrates as an energy source it is important to include complex carbs into your diet. You will not need as when you were training but enough to support recovery. Include minimally processed carbs like whole oats, whole grain rice, sprouted grain breads and quinoa.
Eat less: Pro-Inflammatory foods like processed meats, trans fats and processed carbohydrates.
-Vitamin A- 10,000 IU a day
-Vitamin C- 1g-2 per day
-Copper 2-4mg per day
-Zinc 15-30mg per day
-Krill oil 500 mg maintenance. Acute (injury) phase 6-9grams
-Vitamin D 2,000 IU daily
-Omega 3 3-6,000 grams
Healing Muscular Tissue Injuries:
Eat carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and sweet fruits to help heal tissues.
Glutamine-great if you have had surgery
Healing Damaged Connective Tissue:
Ligaments tendons, fascia, strain, joint stuff
Sea vegetables (seaweed) and green vegetable
Keep protein intake high
Chewing the tips of chicken wings. Slow cooked BBQ ribs
Cruciferous Vegetable- kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts. The sulfur contained in these vegetables help to repair connective tissues.
High Doses Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids (Emergen-C) 4000-8000 a day
Healing Bone Injuries
Canned Salmon/Sardines with Bones
Greens and Seaweed
Working on your mindset is just as important and working to heal your body physically. An injury can be depressing, all of that hard work you have been doing and now you aren’t cable of doing the things you were doing before. You may start to see your strength and muscle tone start to go away and that can be a hard pill to swallow.
Practice Gratitude: You may not be seeing the silver lining in this situation and you may be feeling sorry for yourself and that is ok, but take some time to practice gratitude around the situation. Maybe it now gives you time to read those books you have always been saying you wanted to read, or catch up with friends and family you don’t get to see often. Whatever you can manage to see that is positive about the situation.
Use Imagery: Imagery can be a great way to help the body heal. Research has shown that keeping a positive attitude and using mental skills like imagery can help to speed up the rehab process for an injury. Imagery is creating an experience you want to happen in your mind. To practice imagery, take a few moments to relax and take some deep breaths. Visualize and feel the the injury is gone and how you can move without restrictions. If you have a broken bone visualize cement filing the break, if you have a torn muscle visualize muscle fibers braiding together, or if you have a swollen body part imagine the “bad stuff” draining out.
When you have an injury that has sidelined you from your normal workout routine it can also mean that you may need to adjust your caloric intake. Our metabolism isn’t always as simple as calories you eat vs. calories we burn due to other factors like sleep, stress and hormones but when we significantly reduce the amount of activity we are doing we may need to reduce the amount of food we are eating.
When you are injury and inactive you may be feeling depressed or stressed about your situation, this can also cause one to want emotionally eat to “make yourself feel better.” But that will not help the situation and help you heal. When you are injured take it as a sign that you need learn to listen to your body. Your body is telling you it needs rest and foods that help you to heal and repair.
Start to become aware of the foods you are craving especially if they are sugary and fattening foods, is that really what your body wants/needs or is it your emotions trying to make you feel better?
When you are not working out as hard as you were before your injury it may be a good idea to reduce the amount of calories you are eating when you are less active. Continue to eat healthy meals filled with lean proteins and foods but you may want to reduce portion size.
If your injury compromise your lower body then try do do more stuff with your upper body. Using kettle bells are a great alternative when you are looking to get more of a metabolic circuit training workout in. Also, using medicine balls can be a good alternative to use when looking to get more of a cardio based workout when the lower body is injured.
If you have any injury that doesn’t allow you to squat or lunge here are some alternative exercise that
-Leg Presses (dependent on how deep you can go)
-Kettle bell swings
-Medicine ball floor slams
-Jump Pull ups (landing slowly and controlled)
-Lying leg lifts
If you have an upper body injury stick to doing mostly lower body work and working only the side that is not injured.
In addition working with a physical therapist who can guide and give you specific exercises that can help rehab your injury.