How to Return to Fitness After Injury

This is a big one, and pretty much inevitable for all gym goers at one point or another. Whether you got hurt at home moving your winter tires up into your garage, or you tweaked your back deadlifting in the gym. Time off will happen, and how you return to the gym will need to be planned and intentional.

I’m no stranger to set backs and injuries, and I’ve had to rebuild from the ground up more than a few times.

First thing is to make sure you’re actually cleared and healthy (injury healed) before jumping back in. If you fly into the gym before you’re ready, I think it’s safe to say you’ll probably re-injure yourself sooner than later.

Second is to put together a plan. I’d take a guess you either gained weight or got skinny-fat and feel like you lost all your muscle and strength. This probably isn’t wrong. You’re going to need a good diet plan, as well as training program. One won’t work without the other.

The training plan is simple and I’m not making a sales pitch. I’m just literally showing you the easiest way to get back into shape. Go to our online store and buy a program, or call us to start with a trainer in the gym or online. Either way, you can start tomorrow. Don’t put it off another day. Start with 3-4 days a week.

Your nutrition plan? That’s a little more involved, but I’m going to give you some basics that you can also implement right away. You’ll need to download the My Fitness Pal app to track your macros.

Protein: eat 1g per pound of bodyweight (example: you weigh 160lbs, eat 160g protein). Choose from chicken, beef, fish, shrimp, ground turkey, eggs, protein powder.

Carbs: generally a male can eat 200-300g of carbs if he’s in the gym 3-4 days per week. A female can eat 100-200g of carbs if she’s in the gym 3-4 days per week. Carb cycling can be used after a few weeks of consistent eating to really crank up the results. I do NOT recommend carb cycling if you haven’t been consistent with your eating.

Stick to carb sources like rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, oats, fruit (in moderation due to sugar content), and whole wheat non-stuffed pastas like spaghetti, linguine, shells, noodles..etc in moderation.

Fats: 30-50g for women, 40-60g for men. This is where people blow it. Fats taste good and fill us up. They also carry 9 calories per gram compared to protein and carbs which are 4 calories per gram. Be cautious with dressings, white sauces, cheese, salami/cured meats, nuts, avocado, milk..etc. These are all very tasty and easy to blow your diet on. You may not be eating junk food, but foods high in fat add up very fast to overall calories.

Alcohol: in moderation. A glass of wine 1-2x per week wont kill your results, as long as it’s not putting you over your

How to put this together? For example, one cooked chicken breast is about 40g protein, 0 carbs, and 4g fat. One Egg is 5g protein, 0 carbs, 4g fat. Half a cup of oatmeal is 6g protein, 30g carbs, 4g fat.

So as you can see, the foods you eat will make up your Macronutrient totals, which will have a direct impact on the success of your return to fitness.

A basic sample meal plan could be:

Breakfast: 2 eggs, 1/2 cup oats, 1 banana, 1 coffee

Lunch: 1 chicken breast or steak in a chopped salad with crutons and balsamic dressing (remember to avoid white sauces)

Afternoon snack: fruit and a protein bar (Built bars are high protein, low everything else)

Dinner: 1 piece of fish or 10 shrimps, a sweet potato, mixed vegetables.

Before bed: 1-2 scoops of protein powder and if you didn’t have wine at dinner, you could have a small snack like a cup of popcorn or some rice crackers. If you had wine, you’re stuck with just protein before bed.

And that’s it. Write this out on a piece of paper and look at it every day. Workout 3-4x per week, eat clean, whole foods 90% of the time, and take things slow in the gym. The first 2-3 weeks should be lots of repetitions with lower weight. Let your body feel the burn and start to utilize the food efficiently.

It’s quite simple when you break it down. It shouldn’t take you more than an hour or two to formulate your plan. This is an hour or two that will set you up for success in months to come.

Stay strong,