Dealing With Injuries
A well thought out training plan can keep you injury free inside the weight room, but unfortunately injuries outside the gym can happen at any moment. Getting injured puts a dent in your progress and can also affect your moral. Not matter how frustrating injuries can be, it's important to keep your new goal in mind: to actively treat said injuries perfectly in order to get back to normal.
A lot of people stay passive when it comes to treating injuries, meaning that just let time heal the damage. Even though that works, there are more effective ways to heal yourself.
First thing with injuries is to understand what is going on. Some of them are very obvious: you do something stupid, fall, get really hurt and are rushed to the hospital where they tell you what you have immediately.
But some injures happen slowly over time through poor posture or poor workout technique. You power through the pain until you can't anymore. You may be able to power through for years before you need serious help. Or you do something silly like roll your ankle off a curb and you decide the wait the pain out since nothing serious really happened. But after two weeks the pain is here. Most of the time, if the pain is mild enough we won't bother seeing a doctor because it doesn't seem that bad. My recommendation: if you still feel pain after 3 days, go get it checked, period. Yes you may waste half a day, but trust me it's better that walking around with a lose tendon or ligament.
Once you have a professional medical opinion (your personal trainer isn't legally allowed to give one), you can decide what is next. If your pain isn't linked to an injury, your doctor may just prescribe a few days of rest and then exercising at your discretion. In any other case, you will be recommended to either a physio or a chiro who will in turn prescribe a rehab program. To be clear, a rehab program isn't supposed to be done when you feel like it. You must do it every day. I know it's one of the most painfully boring thing to do, but it is necessary.
You will also need to adjust your diet. Since you aren't training as much, you need to lower your caloric intake. No need to count calories, just eat less. I would recommend switching any grainy carbs to fruits and veggies as these are much higher in vitamins and anti oxidants that will help with recovery.
The hardest part of your recovery diet will be to avoid alcohol and typical cheat meals. Wanting comfort foods to feel better and booze to feel better is a natural reaction to being injured. Even though they will offer temporary relief, they do not help whatsoever from a physiological standpoint.
Drink lots of water. We usually don't feel thirsty when we are inactive, but keep a good water intake will ensure that all systems in your body work well.
Once you have your physio's/doctor's green light to start exercising again, start slow, this is the re-training phase. You will be able to reach your pre injury fitness quicker than it took you to originally get there. So take your time and make sure everything is done properly. Re-training can be a fantastic time to perfect your technique since you are forced to use lighter weights.
You will experience quick progress back to your pre injury levels. Even though muscles experience quick retraining, it's not always the case for tendons which can lead to re-injury. In order to avoid that, go see you doctor/physio regularly during your re-training phase. All my major injuries happened during sports and I always had a few medical professionals to check in with during that phase. Their insights and knowledge always helped me re-train safely.
If you have a personal trainer, they can also design a re-training program but I recommend you make sure they have a talk with your physio or doctor so they understand all implications of your injury.
Last but not least, the only thing you can do when you suffer an injury is to stay cool about it. I know they suck, but don't let them ruin your life during the rehab process.